Family-Owned Business Adjusts Hiring Process to Meet Needs of Changing Workforce

Ozinga, a fourth-generation, family-owned business that provides concrete, materials, energy and logistics solutions, reinvented their hiring process from the ground up starting in 2014 in order to best serve a rapidly changing workforce.

The company, founded in 1928, launched their Born to Build campaign in the spring of 2015, which quickly spread through social media. The original post of the video has already received roughly 3,600 likes, 280 comments, 1,700 shares and nearly 260,000 views. Those numbers continue to grow.

The video aims to destigmatize jobs in the transportation and construction industries, where filling positions has been increasingly difficult due to a shifting workforce. Millennials became the largest section of the workforce in 2015, but about one out of every four workers in the transportation industry is older than 55 years old. Projections currently show that three out of every four workers will be Millennials by 2025. Because of this, the Born to Build campaign is trying to do a better job of reaching and attracting this younger group of workers.

Tim Ozinga

Tim Ozinga has helped lead the Born to Build campaign as the marketing communications director of Ozinga, Inc.

The video celebrates construction workers and showcases how hard they work—in all conditions—when constructing America’s infrastructure. The people featured in the video were actual construction workers doing their job, not actors.

The campaign also includes billboards, television ads, and radio spots around the Chicago area. Every advertisement includes The Chicago Tribune’s endorsement of the company, calling Ozinga one of the top places to work in both 2014 and 2015.

Tim Ozinga is co-owner and marketing communications director of Ozinga. He, along with his five brothers and a cousin, are the fourth generation of the Ozinga family to run the company. Tim Ozinga recently spoke at the Midwest Transportation Workforce Summit which was aimed at addressing the future of transportation workforce development in the Midwest.

“We felt construction workers should get the appreciation they deserve,” says Ozinga, “and from the response I think we got it right. Especially from tradespeople who responded that someone was finally telling their story, that construction offers great jobs for people who have a passion for building things.”

Continuing their Born to Build video campaign, Ozinga posted a second video on March 10, 2016. In the original post, Ozinga said they are looking to hire talented people “who are ready to do and be the best people who were born to build.”

Ozinga invited viewers to “come build with us” at the conclusion of the second video, and many of the comments show people saying that they applied and are eagerly awaiting a call from the company.

The second video also prominently featured children, showing that people are building and imagining building from a very young age. In the video, one young child is seen playing with a toy version of Ozinga’s iconic red-and-white striped concrete mixer. As a life-sized version drives past the boy’s living room window, he looks up and stares, mouth hanging open, at the truck.

Ozinga is also appealing to children in other ways, including the release of a new smartphone app from Bughouse. The app was designed for children five years or younger. The game is called Super Nano Trucks and it allows users to direct Chicago’s most recognizable red-and-white striped concrete mixer.

Smarthphone App for Kids

An iPhone app from Bughouse and Ozinga allows children to control Ozinga’s iconic red-and-white striped concrete mixer, along with many other features.

While playing the game, children can learn how to perform a variety of services that Ozinga provides, including mixing concrete, delivering it to a building site, and riding construction equipment. It also includes interactive features such as safety compliance awards and parental controls that allow parents to set limits for how long their children can play the game.

“It is exciting when a concrete company and tech startup can partner to deliver a fun, behind-the-scenes educational experience to kids everywhere. How cool is it for a child to load, mix and drive their very own concrete mixer, just like the ones they see building their communities,” says Tim Ozinga.

The game is only $0.99 and is available for both the iPhone and iPad, and the average rating for the game is five stars.

The release of the app is just the latest way the company has adapted to a changing landscape in the transportation and construction fields. Though Ozinga has been around for nearly 90 years and has stayed in the same family for four generations, it has continued to change and expand. While concrete was the main focus, now it also provides decorative concrete supplies, bulk materials, and energy solutions, while also offering transportation services through an extensive network of truck, rail, barge, and ship terminals.

Since its founding in 1928, Ozinga has not just stayed relevant in the transportation and construction industry, it has actually thrived in shifting working environments, because as the description of their first Born to Build video reads, no one fights “back quite as hard” as those in the construction industry.

Interested partners can contact Tim Ozinga by email at or phone at (708) 478-2950.

This story is from our regular series of articles highlighting efforts being made here in the Midwest to address transportation workforce issues.
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