June 2019

Colin Lane, Project manager

Metro Walls, Inc.

Colin Lane is a man who understands that actions speak louder than words, and who believes that morale is a critical element of teamwork and productivity. He calls this quiet leadership; never asking anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself, and always finding a way to put a positive spin on tough situations. As a Project Manager for Metro Walls, Inc., he never allows himself to become a stranger to his team, or to his toolbelt. When he calls his foremen to ask for job updates, he also makes it a point to ask about the team. When he visits his job sites, he is sure to spend time in the field energizing his people and encouraging them to have fun. When his team is up at 4am, so is he. Colin believes in solidarity.

Leadership is a skill Colin learned to cultivate early in life. Working for his father’s drywall company as a kid, joining the Marines at 17, leading a rifle squad at 19, and riding and training horses throughout his life, all taught him that a leadership position has to be earned daily, that work ethic can trump talent, and that integrity means doing the right thing when nobody is looking.

One summer, Colin managed a job working for a particularly demanding customer in a particularly tough location. The job really needed 10-hour days from a strong team, but morale was low and no one wanted to stay on site any longer than necessary. Without hesitation, Colin packed up his office and set up shop right on the job site. Every day for a month straight, he arrived on site at 6am, running his other jobs from the field and working with his crew in between. When the team sees the boss working alongside them, Colin emphasizes, it makes it so you don’t have to say anything.

Colin finds that leading by example is often the best solution to a problem. When a subcontractor was underperforming on one of his jobs, he chose not to put the sub on notice via email and skipped the standard angry phone call. Instead, he showed up at the job site at 5am, an hour before the sub was expected to arrive, and framed a bathroom in that hour. It had taken three of the sub’s workers two days to frame one of the other bathrooms. When the sub’s team showed up, he simply expressed to them that if he could frame a bathroom in an hour on his own, he knew they could do even better. Colin finds this quiet approach to be the most effective method of management, and sure enough, the sub’s team found it in themselves to meet Colin’s expectations.

Outside of work, Colin lives out his American Dream. He works hard so he can get home to his back porch, his two kids, and his wife who is the love of his life. He is proud to have lived out what he considers the two greatest honors he could have in life: to serve his country and to raise children.

When asked what advice he has for young workers in the construction industry, Colin quickly instructs, “get up early, no matter what,” and have a thick skin. This is a production-based industry, and young workers will likely find themselves learning from mentors who are tough. In order to learn to be a good leader, you have to learn to be a good follower, so ask questions, pay attention, and be sincere.