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Crafting Futures: From Student to Leader



Patty Coke

Meet Patty Coke. Her story reflects the determination and spirit that S&B cultivates within our workforce today – one of continuous improvement, learning and development. Fourteen years ago, Patty joined S&B’s inaugural Women in Construction class, and today, she supports Project Controls, an integral department within S&B that advances successful project delivery.

A Journey of Growth and Determination

Patty's progression from her first day in the Women in Construction class in 2008 to her current role in Project Controls is a powerful story of growth and achievement. S&B’s training and development programs serve as a springboard for both personal and professional development. These programs are designed to help individuals like Patty succeed by demonstrating that extraordinary achievements in construction are possible with determination, dedication and a strong support system. 

“S&B stood by me during my classes, offering me the flexibility to learn while still working and caring for my family,” said Patty. “When I graduated from San Jacinto College in Houston, it wasn’t just a personal achievement; it was for my children and every woman who doubts her ability to advance in her field. I want them to know that all things are possible with faith and determination.”

Training and Development: The Foundation for Excellence

Diversifying the industry and providing career pathways through programs like S&B’s Earn-While-You-Learn initiative remain a core focus for S&B’s future. The Earn-While-You-Learn program opens doors to the dynamic world of heavy industrial construction for women and veterans. In partnership with Texas Workforce Solutions and various veteran and community services, S&B scouts and prepares candidates for success. This 16-week paid initiative includes foundational courses such as the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) core curriculum and pipefitting, as well as workplace competencies and financial counseling.

In 2021, S&B expanded the Earn-While-You-Learn program to high school students participating in the Industrial Craft Competition as part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ (HLSR). The program has served more than 100 ambitious young people entering our crafts as a career, and we are excited to be launching our newest cohort on our site in Nederland, TX in July, 2024. Upon completing an intense 16-week pipefitting training, students will begin as helpers and gain alternate field training working with a mentor. They are immersed in practical learning, soft skills training and financial counseling, all key elements crucial for making informed career choices when entering the workforce.

At the core of S&B’s development program is on-the-job craft progression. This program allows employees to enhance their skills on the road to journey-level expertise and beyond, covering crafts such as welding, boilermaking, carpentry, electrical work, millwrighting, painting, pipefitting, rigging and ironworking. Continuous learning is a core focus, and S&B challenges journeymen to continuously upgrade and multi-skill, providing instructors, supplies, training space, and mentorship at no cost to employees.

Prioritizing Safety

Safety is critical at S&B, where we implement the principles of Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) to create a valued and heard workforce. This approach improves communication, work processes and overall safety. Unlike traditional safety methods that blame worker behavior, HOP views error as a normal part of being human and focuses on system resilience and human adaptation to challenges. 

“We highly value the people who choose to work for and with S&B,” said S&B’s Senior Vice President of Health, Safety, and Environmental, John Bolt. “We commit to providing them with a workplace free from uncontrolled risk. We’re more interested in learning and improving as a team rather than blaming and punishing people for honest mistakes. This mindset fosters a culture of trust, inclusion, commitment and accountability.”

Precision Project Management

S&B’s structured approach to project management starts with meticulously planned logistics, ensuring the right materials arrive on time for safe and efficient job site operations. By defining system turnover plans with clients from the outset, we ensure smooth transitions to commissioning activities, avoiding disorganized and potentially unsafe workspaces. This method promotes a clean and safe environment, contributing to high craft and supervision retention and rehire rates—proof of our commitment to people and precision in project execution.

Continuous Learning

S&B takes pride in building a culture of continuous learning, safety, and project excellence. 


Learn more about S&B here. Ready to join the team? Search open positions on our careers page.

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