Building Connections and Developing Expertise: Leroy Hamm’s Journey with Construction Leadership Network

CLN Member Spotlight: Leroy Hamm

If you’ve been a member of Construction Leadership Network for any length of time, chances are pretty good you’ve either met or worked with Leroy Hamm.

A member of the former Jack Miller Network and an inaugural member of CLN, established in 2015, Leroy is the founder and president of IHD Corporation, a Human Resources services firm that provides pre-employment assessments to help in hiring for positions such as Project Managers, Estimators, Sales, and Business Development, etc. Leroy also works with many of our CLN members, providing background checks to help them find quality candidates. 

As IHD Corporation has grown over the last 36+ years, so too, has Leroy’s involvement with CLN. He has worked with over 50 of our past and present members over the years and still consistently fields calls from CLN members, old and new, who face hiring and retention challenges. 

To learn more, we sat down with Leroy to find out more about him, his company, and his involvement with our organization. 

CLN: For members who may not be familiar with you or your company, please tell us a little bit about IHD Corporation and what it does. 

LH: At one time, I was the head of recruiting for a national direct sales firm called Tom James Company, which is a custom clothing business. That’s about as far from construction as you can get. But my dad was a bricklayer, so I really enjoy the camaraderie I have with both Stephanie and John, as well as the other members who I work with every day.

But, even though my position at Tom James Co. is where I developed a lot of experience in developing a hiring system, I acquired a lot of valuable interviewing skills and how to use assessments and later used that skill set and knowledge in interviewing that has helped with our clients, regardless of the industry.

For the construction industry, we’ve identified the characteristics of top-performing project managers, assistant project managers, sales and business development executives, estimators, accountants, and controllers. We’ve created analytics-based models and identified job-related characteristics that you can measure, monitor, and record. We’ve actually been ahead of the curve in that regard for many years. The time for analytics has come for just about every industry, and along with artificial intelligence, it’s here to stay. I think a good example is in professional sports. In the true story that the movie Money Ball is based on, Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) turned the Oakland A’s around with what he called sabermetrics and almost got to the World Series in 2002 with a team of less talented players than their opponents, but, who were effective as a team.

Being analytical by nature, my work is quite interesting because the assessments tell you a lot. And when I talk to people about their temperament and give them insight into what it means and what their assessment shows, they often tell me, “Wow. You know, my wife probably could have told you that exact same thing!” Or “Have you been in my closet? How do you know all this?” 

Someone the other day called me “Yoda.” It’s not that I’m that smart. I’m just very good at reading the assessment and holding a mirror up to individuals who have taken the assessments. When used with existing employees, people do gain a level of self-awareness. But it’s more than just understanding their temperament and their temperament blend. What’s important is what they learn to do with the inherent strengths and weaknesses of that temperament. It’s a fun exercise, and it’s very satisfying and meaningful for them to get that kind of feedback.

CLN: How did you get connected with CLN or, at the time, the Jack Miller Network?

LH: Honestly, I don’t remember how in the world Jack Miller and I got connected, but I do remember him calling me one day and saying, “You know, Leroy, it’d be a lot better if you just became a regular member.” I was always giving presentations and working with members of the network, so it made sense. Plus, I’ve always worked hard at building long-term relationships because—and this is true whether it’s business or personal—that’s what makes a rich life. 

(From left) CLN CEO Stephanie Schmidt and Sela Building Company President & CEO Phillip Ratley with Leroy Hamm at the 2023 CLN Conference in Tucson, AZ

So, I made the leap, and the rest is history. I’m glad I did it. Since joining the organization, I’ve made presentations on interviewing skills for hiring managers and owners, I’ve run seminars on how and why people get along (or don’t get along), and I’ve spoken about self-awareness, self-management, assertiveness training and conflict resolution. At the most recent conference in Tucson, it was about hiring and retention. Stephanie had told me that they seem to be the most urgent issues right now, especially since Covid. 

But I don’t really think of myself as a vendor. I work with many of CLN’s members and feel more like just a fellow member. I contribute just like the other members. Over the years, we’ve all gotten to know each other well, and it’s to a point today, where I can call up just about anyone on that list and they’ll no doubt know my name.  I may not be a member who’s in the construction industry—I’m not in the business of building buildings from the ground up or having to deal with tough customers, or change orders, or profit and loss—but I do know the language of our members, and I know the challenges they face, especially when it comes to hiring and recruiting. 

CLN: What kinds of changes, if any, have you seen since the Jack Miller Network transitioned to the Construction Leadership Network? 

LH: That’s kind of a hard question to answer because I think John and Stephanie have been successful in holding true to the mission of the original organization. But there had to be handoff at some point, and I think changing the name made a lot of sense. It’s not just one person’s thing. Jack Miller will always be a founding father, but the group is much more than one man. 

I was very thankful when Stephanie and John stepped in and took the bull by the horns, so to speak. They’ve helped provide fresh leadership, and I appreciate the time they’re giving to the group because it deserves it. It’s an incredibly meaningful concept and a meaningful model for its members. And, from what I have seen, they are moving forward with some quite creative as well as practical ideas for CLN. 

CLN: If you had to describe CLN in an analogy, what would it be? 

LH: Well, I think of it like a bed of coals. When all the coals are together, they give off a lot of heat. That’s what happens when our members come together. That’s the best analogy for what CLN offers. We get so much more collectively than we give individually. 

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