A Real Leader
2 July, 2019
Crossland Construction’s highest award, The Red Iron, was awarded to Superintendent Aaron Burns at the company Christmas party held at the Downtown Marriot in Kansas City, Missouri on December 08, 2018. We do our best to make sure that the recipient is surprised and, according to Aaron, we accomplished our goal. As his video tribute began to play in the convention center and applause filled the room, Aaron was true to what we know him to be – humble. “I was sitting at a table with most of the guys that appeared in the video. It was awesome to experience this honor with them. This is, by far, the highlight of my career with this company,” said Aaron.
To be the Red Iron winner, you have to clearly exhibit a lot of different traits. First and foremost, you have to demonstrate the core values of the company – trust, responsibility, integrity, and passion. The Red Iron winner is someone who performs well on the jobsite and someone who furthers the company off the jobsite. Aaron does just that. “There are others who’ve received this award, and Aaron is just that caliber of a guy,” said Ethan Johnson, Superintendent. Aaron credits Frank Burton for teaching him the ropes all those years ago. “I started with Crossland in 2004. I walked onto the jobsite the first day with some carpentry skills. I’d done some residential stuff. Essentially, I had no idea what I was doing,” said Burns. “Honestly, back then, I couldn’t see myself enjoying commercial construction. Frank taught me. He mentored me. And, almost everything I learned from Frank I still practice today. I’m not the only one he influenced. Thank you, Frank.”
There is a long list of people Aaron wants to thank, and we took notice of how inclusive he was with his praise and his credit. The thing is, Aaron is the reason so many others have excelled here at Crossland. “If I’m having a problem at a jobsite and can’t sleep, I can call Aaron at midnight and he’ll answer his phone,” said Todd Roberts, Superintendent. “He’ll go above and beyond for a project manager, for another superintendent, and for every single subcontractor – that’s the best quality about Burns. He inspires trust in everyone around him.” Echoing those words, Ethan Johnson said, “Everybody wants to do their best for him. It’s hard to take a random group of people and build the kind of jobs Aaron builds. He’s very good at creating that team mentality. It’s why his projects succeed.” When reflecting on the Osage project, Aaron said, “I was very lucky to have such a great team. There was so much camaraderie. It made it fun to go to work every day. I’m proud that everyone on that project walked off the jobsite for the last time better than they were when we broke ground. Building something with a team, a group of people with a unified vision, is what motivates me.”
The close of 2018 brought about the delivery of the Osage Casino and Hotel project, a 729,000 square foot facility with a contract value of $120 million. “We were just finishing up another large project in Tulsa and were considering pursuing the Osage Casino job. We knew we had to have the right team in place to be successful. It didn’t take long for Aaron’s name to surface as someone who could be the lead superintendent,” said Greg Smith, Vice President and Division Manager of Crossland’s Tulsa operations. “We got the job, and it went flawlessly. Now, we have a client who continues to give us work. I couldn’t be more proud of the work he and his team did.”
For those who are wondering, Red Iron was Ivan Crossland, Sr.’s nickname. We respectfully carry on the reference in our company’s culture today. “When I think of the Red Iron award, I think of the roots of this company. I think of Ivan, Sr. starting Crossland Construction back in 1977. I think of hard work. I think of leadership,” said Colin Skipworth. “It was just a matter of time before Aaron won the award. His dedication, his friendship, his loyalty – I could go on and on with reasons he deserves this, but if you know anything about Aaron, I don’t have to.”
Congratulations, Aaron, for your outstanding accomplishments. This achievement is well-deserved. Thank you for making us all better. It’s an honor to have you on our team.