• © 2024 McCarthy Improvement Company
  • Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm

Improving Heavy Construction


Leading the Way: Donna Said, A Decade of Safety Excellence in Construction

In celebration of Women in Construction Week, we shine a spotlight on Donna Said, the dedicated Safety Director at McCarthy Improvement (MCI). With an impressive tenure of 10 years at the company, Donna has played a pivotal role in shaping and fostering a robust safety culture within the organization.

Joining MCI in 2013, Donna embarked on a journey alongside the Executive Management team, working tirelessly to instill a proactive safety mindset throughout the company. Her commitment to the protection of employees has elevated safety to a core value at MCI, reflecting the genuine concern for the well-being of every individual on our team.

Donna’s impact extends beyond her official role as Safety Director. Under her guidance, all MCI employees, regardless of their position, actively contribute to promoting safe and healthy work environments on every job site. McCarthy Improvement’s dedication to ensuring that every employee returns home to their families in the same condition they arrived at work is a testament to the genuine care and commitment Donna has instilled in the company culture.

In 2023, Donna was awarded the impressive title of, “McCarthy Improvement MVP,” an inaugural award that recognizes a member of the MCI team who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help the company be successful.

To celebrate Donna and her many achievements, we asked her to answer a few questions about her decade-long journey with MCI:

You’ve been a part of the MCI team for 10 years, through the many changes, what do you think has remained constant?

McCarthy Improvement has always maintained the view that our employees are our most important asset; without them the company would not succeed.

Donna Said, Safety Director, leading safety brief
Donna Said, Safety Director, leading safety brief

Have you had any mentors or role models in the construction industry who have influenced your career path?
I consider all my fellow team members, from members of the project management team to the craft level employees, as my mentors throughout the years. When I started working in the construction industry I had “book smart” experience and confidence in my skills as a safety professional; however, what I was missing was an understanding of the work processes involved in completing a construction project.

Working alongside the rest of the team throughout the years has taught me “street smart” experience. The crews had patience answering all my questions as I learned the various aspects of “building stuff”. 10 years later, knowing that they taught me well, I am approached for my opinion on what will be needed, from a safety perspective, for upcoming work.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in construction?
If you are looking for a career that offers you a rewarding, challenging work environment that will hold your interest, then construction is for you. Each project is different, so boredom is never an issue. It is important to be a good team player, take ownership of your job responsibilities, honor your commitments, be dependable, and tough yet understanding.

What do you believe are the core values of McCarthy Improvement Company, and how do these values influence day-to-day operations?
MCI core values are Integrity, Quality, Safety, and Teamwork.

  • Integrity – we take pride in doing what we say we are going to do. This helps the company to maintain employees dedicated to our organization’s success.
  • Quality – we take pride in everything we do. McCarthy Improvement requires our best, every day. Our team goal is to be recognized as the premiere contractor in the various markets we serve. This attitude helps us provide our customers with a high-quality finished product.
  • Safety – allows employees to feel comfortable in their work environments, reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity; hence, reducing in-direct cost for downtime of workers and costs associated with employee injuries.
  • Teamwork – you accomplish nothing if you are not working as a team. It is vital to the company’s success to have everyone working towards common goals.
Photo of Donna Said holding trophy as the winner of the 2023 McCarthy Improvement MVP award
Donna Said winner of the 2023 McCarthy Improvement MVP award

Can you highlight any specific projects or initiatives that you believe have significantly impacted the company’s success?
All of our projects impact the company’s success. From celebrating successful job completions, to dissecting the issues that occurred on challenging jobs so we can learn from our mistakes and succeed going forward.

In conclusion, Donna’s decade-long story during Women in Construction Week highlights her trailblazing role in a traditionally male-dominated field, showcasing the impactful contributions women can make.
Donna’s commitment extends beyond a title, resonating in the care for the well-being of every MCI family member and contributing to a workplace culture where individuals thrive both personally and professionally. Her legacy is a testament to a brighter, safer future for MCI and the broader construction industry. We can’t express our gratitude enough to Donna for the invaluable contributions she’s made and will continue to make to McCarthy Improvement.



Our team is fired up after attending North America’s largest trade show, CONEXPO – CON/AGG, at the beginning of March. We joined representatives from our family of companies, McCarthy Improvement, Clinton Engineering Company, Linwood Mining and Minerals, and McCarthy-Bush Corporation to network and learn the latest trends in asphalt, aggregate, and concrete industries.

With over 2,000 exhibitors and more than 190 educational sessions, there was no shortage of opportunities to interact with leaders in our field and learn about cutting-edge technology so that we can stay on top of our game. (Just look at this MASSIVE event – it’s a heavy highway company’s playground!)


Here are just a few of the key takeaways our team brought back from Vegas…

Top Four Takeaways:

  1. Electric construction vehicles and equipment are here!
    • Almost every manufacturer is developing electric vehicles and equipment. It is mostly smaller equipment such as mini excavators and skid steers. There are EV machines coming out, as well as some larger equipment like excavators and dozers.
    • As MCI works inside factories more often, we will need to engage in the use of more EVs. Seeing all of the options that are out there aids in our choosing process.
  2. “GPS” is expanding its reach. Traditional GPS uses are integrating with modeling, scanning, fleet management, productivity, analytics, and autonomy.
  3. Partnerships between equipment manufacturers and labor unions are working to develop virtual/remotely-operated spreads. This is especially in earthmoving, where the equipment can function with remote operation through the eyes of cameras, drones, and GPS information.
  4. Some excavator buckets now have built-in radar technology that enables automatic, real-time alerts and scanning of underground utilities.

While McCarthy Improvement may be 2-3 years from acquiring and adapting to the use of these machines and technologies, exposing our leadership to the ideas and options that are out there will prepare us for future changes.

McCarthy Improvement receives Associated General Contractors of Iowa ROSE award for safety

Out of 25 finalists, McCarthy Improvement Company received the ROSE (Recognition of Safety Excellence) award for safety from the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Iowa.

AGC selects the ROSE award recipient that displays the highest standard in safety practices including quality safety programs with active employee participation, safety training, and work site hazard identification and control. The winner must also achieve zero work site fatalities and multi-catastrophic injuries.

“We’re extremely proud of our team for taking our culture of safety and health so seriously. It’s an honor to see that commitment recognized by the AGC,” said Shane Hauman, Interim President for McCarthy Improvement.

At the end of 2022, McCarthy Improvement completed its second consecutive calendar year without a time-lost incident which is defined as an incident that results in a disability or an employee missing work due to injury. McCarthy’s last time-lost incident took place in October 2020, marking over 800 days since the last occurrence.

McCarthy Improvement Safety Manager, Donna Said, also recognized the entire management team for their commitment to safety through the OSHA 30 Certification training.

“Every manager within our company, from foreman to top executives, have completed 30 hours of rigorous health and safety training through OSHA 30. While the training itself is popular, it’s certainly unique for all members of management to have this achievement,” commented Said. “I am so very proud of our team’s commitment to identifying and correcting unsafe behavior and conditions before incidents occur.”

The OSHA 30 course is designed to teach those in a leadership role how to identify, predict and avoid recognizable hazards in the work environment. All McCarthy employees have the authority to shut down production if they perceive an activity to be unsafe.

McCarthy Improvement accepted the honor as the 2022 ROSE Award winner during a luncheon on January 11 at the AGC of Iowa 101st Annual Convention in Des Moines, IA.

McCarthy Improvement Named a National Excellence in Concrete Pavement Award Recipient

The 31st Annual National “Excellence in Concrete Pavement” award recipients have been announced, and we are pleased to be among 23 unique contractors recognized for hard work, outstanding quality, and demonstrating creative approaches to problem-solving. We have been recognized for our work at the Augusta Regional Airport – Air Carrier & GA Apron Phase II Rehabilitation project.

To learn more about the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) annual awards, click here. Or to view a complete list of winners, click here.

Quad-City Airport Works to Maintain Workforce & Make Construction Improvements

The Quad City International Airport (QCIA) is working extremely hard to maintain its workforce and make continuous construction improvements according to the Quad-City Times. The QCIA Board awarded  McCarthy Improvement a contract to repair concrete sidewalks and roadways in the terminal’s parking lot in an effort to prevent passengers from tripping or falling. Last year, we were responsible for similar sidewalk repair work.

CEMEX Assists McCarthy Improvement – Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Project

The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. Last summer, McCarthy Improvement started work on the reconstruction of the airport’s 9L-27R runway and corresponding taxiway as part of the airport’s US$6 billion expansion and makeover plan. World Cement wrote an article on the project and highlighted CEMEX’s ability to adhere to strict completion timelines, delivering cement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from its plant in Clinchfield, Ga., to assist McCarthy Improvement in its efforts.

Click here to read the full article.

RDU Completes 2020 Work on Emergency Runway Preservation Project

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) embarked on an emergency preservation project in 2019 that was one of the airport’s most important capital projects. With the help of McCarthy Improvement, RDU completed reconstruction on Runway 5L-23R.

To learn more about the project, read RDU’s press release here.

Iowa Recognition of Construction Safety Excellence

The Associated General Contractors of Iowa established the annual “Recognition of Safety Excellence Awards” (ROSE) to recognize contractor member companies who develop and implement excellent safety and loss prevention programs.

In order to be acknowledged as a top safety contractor, the following requirements must be met:

  • Nominations should highlight outstanding achievements in the area of safety.
  • Activities can include training, program development, innovative techniques or procedures or other activities, which promote or enhance safety awareness and/or achievement.
  • Significant reduction in incidents, lowering the member’s Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) and/or Days Away from work Restricted or job Transfer (DART) rates.
  • The creation of incentives, awards and recognition programs or other noteworthy actions taken to enhance the member’s safety program.

McCarthy Improvement received a second-place ROSE Award in the Portland Cement Paving Division for contractors in the 100,000 – 400,000 work hours category.

“McCarthy Improvement considers our employees to be our most valuable assets; as such, we are dedicated to their protection,” stated Donna Said, Safety Manager of McCarthy Improvement. “The only way to achieve this is by ensuring that all employees, regardless of their position, are fully engaged in maintaining our proactive safety culture throughout the company. In addition, we have also developed a rigorous set of policies and procedures to prevent worksite incidents. We’re proud our safety program has been recognized by the IGC.”

The Associated General Contractors of Iowa is Iowa’s oldest and largest association of heavy/highway and municipal/utility contractors. AGC of Iowa represents hundreds of firms, including Iowa’s leading contractors and their service providers and suppliers. AGC of Iowa members are the “Public’s Partner in Building & Maintaining Iowa’s Highway, Bridge, And Municipal/Utility Infrastructure”. Visit the AGC of Iowa at

2019 Excellence In Concrete Pavements Award Winner

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) announced winners of its annual “Excellence in Concrete Pavements” awards. McCarthy Improvement received gold in the Industrial Paving category for the CSX Intermodal Terminals project located in Winterhaven, Florida.

Within three years of its initial construction, the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Facility had outgrown its originally design capacity of 300,000 containers per year. As a result, an expansion project was required and included:

  • construction of additional gantry cranes
  • high mast lighting
  • more than 13 acres of additional tractor trailer parking, loading and unloading areas

McCarthy Improvement was contracted to perform the concrete paving, which totaled 67,000 SY of concrete. The project specifications required a mix capable of attaining a compressive strength of 4,000 psi at 28 days. McCarthy Improvement developed a mixture that met the required strength in less than seven days, which helped expedite cure of adjacent paving lanes. The mix design included Type II portland cement, natural sand and granite coarse aggregates. Even though the granite was not locally available, McCarthy Improvement chose to “rail-in” granite aggregates from eastern Georgia and use them to improve early strength.

McCarthy Improvement completed the paving in 23 days of the 74 calendar days allowed from mobilization to the plant site. The owner previously had issues with roller compacted concrete and asphalt, so the finished project now stands as an excellent example of the versatility and durability of concrete pavements.

The article originally appeared on the ACPA website here.

Have an inquiry?
Contact us.