2016 Community Impact Awards: Youth Development

Winner: Skanska USA

Gold Award: 
Skanska USA
Location: Seattle  |  Employees: 858  |  Top Exec: Chris Toher, EVP & general manager  |  usa.skanska.com

In addition to building multimillion-dollar projects, Skanska USA plays a significant role in the development of young people through mentorship, internship and other educational programs. “We want to provide those experiences in an effort to foster development and cultivate the potential of future generations to make positive contributions to society,” says Dave Harrison, vice president of Skanska USA Building. Skanska USA is one of the largest construction and development companies in the country, serving a broad range of clients in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, health care, education, sports, data centers, government, aviation and commercial. The company began offering construction and civil services around the Puget Sound region nearly 70 years ago and has worked with some of the area’s most prominent companies and institutions.Skanska has participated in the ACE Mentoring Program and partners with Rainier Scholars to provide internships and hands-on experience in construction. “Youth learn through modeled behavior,” says Harrison. “Implementing effective mentorship means also giving steady guidance and support throughout the process.” 

Bright Idea: Labor Saver

Bright Idea: Labor Saver

Forget email. Shyft Technologies makes shift swapping easy.

New legislation requiring Seattle businesses with 500 or more employees to schedule workers’ hourly shifts two weeks in advance will be a boon to some, but it could complicate the lives of many workers and employers.

Seattle startup Shyft Technologies has created a free smartphone app that simplifies the tangled dance of schedule shuffling by making it easier for employees to swap shifts and for bosses to get shifts covered on short notice. 

The app notifies all staffers automatically when open shifts are posted. Swaps can be approved right on the app. By matching in real time the hours when workers are available with the hours employees need work done, the app creates a more efficient market.

A worker or manager can easily add a bonus as an incentive to fill a shift on short notice, says

Shyft CEO Brett Patrontasch. “It’s a lot easier than email,” he observes. Meanwhile, workers can quickly change their availability status if they want to make more money or free up more time.

The Shyft app uses a combination of geolocation, financial transactions, machine learning and big data analytics to determine availability and pricing. The goal is to create an on-demand workforce that has more control over schedules while providing employers with the fluidity to operate efficiently.

As of late September, more than 12,000 Starbucks baristas, 3,500 Old Navy staffers and 7,500 McDonald’s employees were using Shyft’s app.

Founded in Toronto, the startup moved to Seattle in February to participate in the three-month Techstars mentoring program. This past summer, Shyft obtained $1.5 million in funding from Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group and other investors.