We are proud to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Scott Fitzgerald, Marker Construction’s Vice President of Human Resources, who was selected by Columbus Business First as a 2023 HR Impact Award recipient. Scott leads with a people-first approach and makes significant contributions that impact not only our associates but the broader community.
“As Vice President of Human Resources, Scott plays a crucial part in setting and carrying out our organizational strategy around people and people development, including prioritizing mental health in the workplace and fostering diversity and inclusion,” said Alison Marker, President + CEO. “By prioritizing the needs of our associates, Scott has established himself as a thoughtful and reliable leader who truly understands the importance of creating a work environment that is welcoming to all.”
Q + A with Scott
What do you enjoy about being an HR professional in the construction industry?
I love to learn. I have worked in multiple industries, and I love when I first start in a new industry because there is so much to learn. I need to learn the industry, the language, the culture, and the unique characteristics. The only way I can do that is to listen and ask questions. Conducting the stay interviews was a great experience because I learned why people stay at Marker and why they like their jobs.
What inspired you to prioritize mental health advocacy in the workplace?
In my previous position in higher education, I saw firsthand how untreated mental health problems can cause devastating outcomes for individuals, their families, co-workers, and friends. I wanted to help, so I began to learn about mental health, talked about it, and tried to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health to make it easier for people to say, “I need help.” When I started working in construction, I was shocked when I saw how prevalent suicide is in our industry. Fortunately, I found that Marker had already begun normalizing discussions about mental health, but there are always opportunities for improvement. My belief is simple: mental health problems should be treated with the same urgency and compassion as physical problems. It is in everyone’s second nature to want to help someone who is physically hurt–get the band-aid, take someone to the ER, help a co-worker up when they fall. It should be the same when we see or learn of a co-worker struggling with mental health challenges.
What drives you to champion diversity and inclusion within Marker and the construction industry as a whole?
I am competitive and constantly push myself and my team to be their best. When building a team, I always look for the skillset or mindset that I don’t have. I fill those holes with the talent I don’t possess or our current team does not possess. By creating a well-balanced team full of various skills and mindsets, we will challenge how we build, work, and think. We will push and stretch each other, creating new methods, approaches, and solutions. I want a team with multiple viewpoints and experiences when faced with a challenge or obstacle. If we all come from the same place and have similar experiences, we fall victim to groupthink, which is anti-innovation and destined to fail. To be the best, we want talented people from different backgrounds, zip codes, mindsets, and experiences. Differences test us and make us better. The more diverse talent we have will spark innovation, challenge the norm, create new ideas, and ultimately win. It is important to remember that diversity is just not sex and race. It includes work experience, training, religion, geography, political thought, socioeconomic status, and more.
In your view, how does your commitment to the “associate experience” align with Marker’s long-term goals and objectives as an organization?
Look at any of our long-term goals and objectives. We will not reach one goal or objective without our most important asset–our associates. If our associates do not have good experiences at Marker, they either leave or become disengaged. We cannot achieve our goals and objectives if we constantly experience turnover or have a disengaged workforce. We will spend our time hiring and training simply to start the process over because of a bad associate experience. If we strive to give our associates a positive “associate experience,” we will build our culture, retain our talented team, and begin reaching our goals and objectives. During our stay interviews, we heard so many positive things about our culture and our people. We cannot take that for granted and must continually do a better job for our associates.