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Band of Brothers: Why the IKORCC is Built on Brotherhood

The word “Brotherhood” is used to describe an inseparable bond among a group of individuals who have experienced great trials together. A system of people who you can trust everything on in order to succeed.

The IKORCC is a brotherhood of builders, men and women who have formed the tightest bonds through the challenges and triumphs. Brotherhood is something that develops over time, but in the IKOCC’s case, taught from the beginning and instilled as a core value that is essential for their success.

“I tell everyone who starts out their path on this trade that you live and die by your reputation here,” says IKORCC Senior Manager Thomas Dorsey. “I tell them that in this business, no one does anything alone.”

Teamwork and being able to trust your fellow co-workers is the core belief behind those who work in the IKORCC and is taught as one of the core concepts from the beginning of classes and training.

“From the first time people beginning their career path, they are taught in school the concepts of getting along with your teammates and the profitability of having everyone get along and trusting one another,” says IKORCC Financial Secretary Scott Cooley. “It is taught that it is vital that we work together.”

While some may not be able to see how one not getting along with their fellow workers can cause worksite problems, for veterans like Dorsey and Cooley however, they understand all too well how just one negative person can destroy the productivity and morale of a construction project.

“Simply put, without teamwork and cooperation on a job, nothing gets done,” says Cooley. “No one can work effectively and productively when you have one person complaining all the time or acting negatively about everything. It projects off and soon everyone starts to feel it. Negative emotions are very infectious.”

“You also have to look at it from a higher up’s point of view,” adds Dorsey. “You’re not going to want to hire someone who constantly is bringing the entire work crew down. In the end, being negative is only going to hurt yourself and your future job prospects.”

With such a strong focus on teamwork, these lessons don’t stop once builders move beyond their classes or first few years working on site. The attitude of teamwork and trust is constantly reinforced throughout all levels of the IKORCC.

“We like to recognize anyone who shows good qualities in terms of getting their team to work together or demonstrating strong teamwork skills,” says Dorsey. “Whether you’re a foreman to a higher leadership position, we need people who understand the importance of being a close knit team and are willing to implement it to their fellow team members.”

Both Dorsey and Cooley have credited the strong brotherhood present in the IKORCC as a contributing factor to not only long term career success, but friendship as well.

“This is a tough job and it’s not for everyone,” says Dorsey. “You’re working long hours, from early in the morning to late at night. You have to go to bed early to wake up on time for tomorrow’s workday, you’re spending more time with your co-workers than your own family.”

“You spend a lot of time with your co-workers, so it’s probably best that you can get along with them,” says Cooley. “At the same time however, these guys are going through the same things you are, struggling through the same challenges you are facing so it’s nice to know you are not facing them alone. They’re there to have your back and you for theirs.”

Dorsey also stressed the importance of teamwork beyond friendship and cooperation. The level of trust can develop even further, many times reaching a point where another person’s life is in their hands.

“Some projects require you to trust the other person to save your life,” says Cooley. “Many times you’ll be on a dangerous project where the other person is literally required to have your back, if you don’t have that trust and you don’t have that level of commitment to another person, you are putting their life at risk.”

“There are times where we’re working in 100 degree weather and other times we’re working in -0 degree weather, the project doesn’t stop because of the extreme elements and the only way we can finish on time is by relying on each other to work together to finish it.”

The IKORCC holds a sense of brotherhood unlike any other, it’s a bond that begins at training but follows for the entirety of an IKORCC member’s career. The bonds that are formed on the job go well beyond co-workers and team mates but into the realm of friendship and family.

“My closest friends are union members,” says Dorsey. “It truly is a brotherhood and a bond like no other. Not just myself but even my family knows and are friends with other families whose husbands are from the same trade. It’s that strong bond that ties us all together.”

Dorsey also added that many of the carpentry locals hold special events for IKORCC members and their families including holiday get-togethers larger events for all locals to participate in.

“I know for a fact that I can go to nearly anywhere in North America and once I start a new job, I can immediately start talking to the members there and we’ll have the same things to talk about,” says Cooley. “No matter where I go, it’s that bond we all have, that brotherhood that keeps us all connected.”



Kyle Hovanec is a contributing editor for the LIFE network and specializes in economic development coverage and Northwest Indiana school coverage. Visit Kyle on or Twitter.


Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters
771 Greenwood Springs Drive
Greenwood, IN 46143
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