The Pinewood Derby and Sticking to the Basics

By Mike Erekson, National Vice President of Operations

Sunday night as I was finishing up the day, my wife looked at me and said, “We’re in trouble! Ben’s Pinewood Derby race for Cub Scouts is on Tuesday night.” I looked back at her and said, “We are in trouble. We haven’t even started the Pinewood Derby car yet.”

Let me give you a little bit of background.

Ben is my youngest son. He is very detail-oriented and must have everything exact. In previous Pinewood Derby car races he would search the Internet and find pictures of Pinewood Derby cars. He would print one, give it to me and say, “Dad we are going to build that one.” And typically, that one included a lot of cutting, sanding and tricky woodworking.

I said to my wife, “We don’t have time to do a ‘Ben’s car,’ plus Tuesday night I’m at a work event.”

Monday night I got home from work and put on my best salesman hat, went to my son and said, “Ben we have work to do. We’re going to take a different approach to the Pinewood Derby car race. We need to construct this car in 45 minutes or less. That means cutting, sanding, painting, and completing the wheel assembly in 45 minutes or less.” He answered, “All right, let’s do this!”

So, at that moment we got down to the basics.

We cut out a simple streamlined car, extended the wheel base, and made sure our weight was correct. We sanded, painted, and completed the car in 45 minutes.

The next morning before I left for work, I turned to my wife and said, “Just watch, of all races we’ve done, he will win this one because we just did the basics!”

Later that night, after the race, Ben FaceTimed me and said, “Dad you won’t believe this,” looking very sad on the screen.

“Ben, what happened?”

Pinewood Derby 1st Place“Well Dad,” he began, still a sad face, “I won! I won 1st place!”

I couldn’t believe it. But later that night I thought about this. We humans sometimes tend to overthink and over-complicate our processes, or don’t even follow the processes at all. But there is something powerful about sticking to the basics and “following the process.”

BluSky has great processes in place and in this series of articles I’ll reinforce three of them.

  1. Safety
  2. Project-based “Best Practices”
  3. Customer Service

We begin with safety

Many times in our industry, we can risk becoming complacent and focus more on the schedule, the cost and making sure the project goes well, and we might overlook the safety portion of the project.

But remember, safety is as simple as ABC: Always Be Careful!

By the way, I want to give kudos to BluSky’s commercial roofing team on a large hospital project. We received this compliment from the manager at the client’s construction company, which doesn’t happen very often from this company.

“Our entire project team was on roof 45 to shoot a video. While on the roof we obviously looked around. Between this roof and our many quality and safety inspections of the other roofs, I wanted to let you and your team know that you’ve been doing a great job. From our team and the hospital, you have done great work and we appreciate all the effort that your team has put in to make this job successful up to this point.”

We have executed this project so far without any safety incidents. It takes this type of team leadership to execute and improve our safety. Keep it up!  Executing the job well and safely will likely lead to more opportunities to serve this client. Nice job guys!

BluSky takes safety very seriously, whether it’s on a job site or in the office.

In fact, we developed a basic but comprehensive, 112-page safety manual that addresses every imaginable aspect of illness and injury prevention for all of our employees and subcontractors. In addition, BluSky conducts monthly health & safety meetings to reinforce these important safety concepts.

We firmly believe every employee is entitled to work under the safest possible conditions, and that belief certainly extends to our clients at work sites as well. When you partner with BluSky Restoration Contractors, you can rest assured that safety is first and foremost in everything we do.


In part two we’ll take a look at project-based best practices – stay tuned.

Candace Johnson

Corporate Marketing Manager

Candace is a veteran marketer, who specializes in bringing out the best in companies. Responsibilities for BluSky include content creation and editing, brand management and consistency, website management, public relations writing, advertising, and social media management. Candace lives just south of Chicago with her husband Eric and three children.

Candace Johnson

Corporate Marketing Manager
Candace Johnson headshot