Companies are always on the lookout for employees who will stay long-term and are committed to growing and improving. Likewise, employees want to work for companies that will provide them with opportunities to develop their skills.

Mentorships are a great way to help employees, both new and experienced, expand their knowledge and personal development. They focus on positive workplace behavior and performance, providing employees with the training needed to be successful.

Traditionally, mentoring relationships have involved senior employees guiding their younger colleagues, but hierarchy and age aren’t necessarily important in modern workforces. As long as mentors have experience that can help others learn, this is all that matters. For instance, younger employees can teach older employees about ever-changing technology in the workplace.

Successful mentoring relationships can also naturally create a rich multigeneration office culture by combining the top qualities of each participant. Senior employees traditionally have a great work ethic, loyalty and dedication. Whereas, younger employees may come to work with new ideas and passion. Together, they can make for a positive and effective team.

Research has shown that workers who have a mentor enjoy greater job satisfaction, and mentors learn from those they are guiding. But, mentoring in the workplace not only benefits the mentors and mentored, it also benefits companies with increased employee retention and knowledge sharing. On top of that, mentoring programs have shown to increase company diversity, with participation expanding minority representation in management-level positions.

Top Benefits of Mentorship in the Workplace

  • Better Job Satisfaction
  • Better Job Satisfaction
  • Better Employee Satisfaction
  • Increased Pride
  • Increased Self-confidence
  • Higher Employee Retention
  • Improved Communication Skills
  • Desire to Achieve Goals
  • Diversity of Leadership
  • Improved Knowledge Sharing
  • Skill Development
  • Increased Knowledge Sharing
  • Experience for Leadership Roles
  • Greater Probability of Promotion
  • Improved Company Culture

Something important to note is that mentoring relationships should never be forced. This can cause employees to resent the idea as an obligatory task. Instead, sharing the positive benefits with employees and offering to help connect them with a mentor, when and if they are ready, is most effective. To be prepared, companies should gather information about employee skills, communication styles and career goals. A major key to successful mentorship relationships is connecting employees who communicate well together, can connect on a personal level and are working toward attaining similar goals.

In the end, mentors need to feel that their time is valued in order to achieve a successful mentorship relationship. Those who are mentored must think of the experience as an investment in their growth, rather than a sure path to promotion.

Apprenticeships prepare workers for highly skilled construction jobs. Employers invest time and money in hands-on training, often along with regular classes. The model provides valuable real-world experience and educational instruction for workers who would like to break into an industry that is new to them. The end goal of an apprenticeship is attaining national skills standards and becoming licensed in a particular skilled trade.

There are many benefits to apprenticeship. However, many people often overlook apprenticeships, instead opting to attend college or beginning their career with an entry-level position.

Here are the top three reasons to consider an apprenticeship:

  1. Learning While Earning
    Going off to college or a trade school can be a great educational experience, but it can cost a lot of money that many simply do not have. On top of that, it can be challenging to hold a full-time job in order to pay for expenses while in school.

    Apprentices are paid a basic living wage (the national average is $15/hour) to start while also learning and gaining experience every day. As an apprentice’s skills grow, wage increases and promotions often follow.
  1. Access to Ongoing Mentoring
    Apprentices are usually assigned a mentor who is an experienced construction professional. The mentor’s role is to help plan and guide an apprentice’s learning along the way. They provide valuable feedback and support to improve an apprentice’s skills and are always available to answer questions.
  2. Increased Future Opportunities
    Being involved with the day-to-day operations of a business during an apprenticeship, which usually takes two to four years to complete, allows apprentices to make connections with many important people within the industry.

    Future employers will also see the hard work that was required to complete the apprenticeship and will surely value that education and work ethic when considering hiring an individual.

    In addition, apprentices have the potential to earn college credit toward a degree through their apprenticeship program, should they decide to work towards gaining an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree at a later date.

The apprenticeship model prepares workers to compete in today’s economy. The hands-on training keeps apprentices current with innovations and technology. Moreover, the majority of apprentices stay on as full-time employees upon completion of an apprenticeship, allowing for a successful long-term career with a competitive salary without college debt.

The RK Apprenticeship Program helps provide skills for a much needed construction workforce. If you are interested in starting an apprenticeship in construction, click here to learn more about what our program offers.


Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year was anything but predictable or normal. Predictions for 2021 are cautiously optimistic with a combination of positive and some negative growth for the construction industry, arguably one of the largest sectors worldwide. Although large hotel and higher education projects have declined recently, others have increased, such as healthcare facilities and warehouse construction to meet current needs.

Because of measurements put in place to keep everyone safe, businesses have had to change how they function and communicate both internally and externally, limiting in-person interactions. This has also caused delays in some projects. The need to know what is happening on a job site has become greater than ever. As a result, even in an industry that is otherwise resistant to embracing new technology, construction has seen an increase in adoption of construction-specific technology, from BIM to 3D-printing, facilitating a more versatile way of working.

Without further ado, here are the top eight construction trends predicted for 2021.

  1. Keeping focused on safety with continued social distancing, protective gear and enhanced protocols for cleanliness
  2. Increased hiring for seamless execution of current and unexpected future projects
  3. Implementation of construction-specific equipment and technology to supplement a declining workforce
  4. Expanded distribution and manufacturing facilities to meet current e-commerce demands
  5. More complex urban development and infrastructure projects
  6. Renewed focus on sustainability and renewable energy
  7. Expanded use of modular construction, increasing quality while also reducing costs and project timelines
  8. Increased construction cost and pressure on the bottom line, as net profits remain slim

Construction companies must prepare themselves for the uncertain future. Luckily, with many recent innovations already in place, the construction industry has begun to optimize processes in all phases of construction.

Key developments in the construction industry will likely continue to grow and change as we progress through 2021, and we look forward to it.


Digital Builder, 2021 Construction Trends: 20 Insights from Experts, 12.17.20
Construction Dive, 2021 Outlook: 6 Trends that Will Influence Construction this Year, 1.04.21
Chad Fisher Construction, Commercial Construction Trends For 2021, 12.07.20
Method:CRM, Key trends in the construction industry for 2021, accessed 1.19.21
Let’s Build, 5 construction trends you want to look out for in 2021, accessed 1.19.21

Culture is the character of an organization. It’s the values, traditions, behaviors, interactions and attitudes displayed every day. Workplace culture is to an organization what personality is to an individual.

Positive workplace culture attracts talented people, affects happiness, engagement and satisfaction, while also improving performance. A company’s culture is influenced by everything from leadership and management to workplace policies, practices and people.

When looking to work for a company, the primary factors are often the company’s brand value and compensation to employees. While many believe these are enough to attract talent, work culture often plays an even bigger role in retaining good employees. Workplace culture makes some places great to work and other places miserable. It affects relationships between employees and leadership. This can mean the difference between working with each other for the common good of the company or arguing every step of the way.

A company’s culture is so important in bringing out the best in employees even during not-so-great times. Negativity not only crushes creativity and an employee’s will to perform but also stops the development of dedication to a company’s success.

When it comes down to it, humans are relatively simple beings. Working in a positive environment with a good culture affects the way we think and how we act with one another. So, make your workplace a positive one!

RK strives to create a rewarding workplace for employees by hosting several employee-focused events and recognition ceremonies throughout the year, check them out here.

By: RK Mission Critical

Anyone who works with electricity knows how important it is to be aware of potential safety hazards. These hazards include shock, arc flash heat and explosions that can take place due to electrical mishaps. Predicting the level of hazard can be calculated thanks to the NFPA 70e Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

The NFPA 70e was officially adopted by OSHA and is now a standard that employers and employees must abide by, in addition to ensuing all electrical equipment complies. This compliance is required on any equipment emitting over 50 volts and can effect solar DC systems and UPS batteries.

Electrical safety standards are constantly improving and the NFPA 70e committee updates their standards every few years. David Weszely of Lewellyn Technology highlights changes to the standards for the upcoming year in his article: The Most Important 2018 Changes in NFPA 70e.

Here’s a synopsis of his review:

Weszely suggests that companies make sure all qualified workers have access to the 2018 NFPA 70e standard, update their electrical safety program and schedule on-site NFPA 70E electrical safety training.

RK Mission Critical offers prefabricated modular facilities and skidded MEP equipment for multiple industries. The facilities and equipment we produce require complex electrical system installation and commissioning – meaning our team understands the importance of the NFPA 70E standard and requires all team members working on electrical systems to be properly trained. RK Mission Critical has a certified electrical safety professional and Electrical Engineers on staff that can personally answer questions on electrical safety integration of our systems with theirs. Contact us at

By: RK Mission Critical

The evolution of data center design has shifted from the traditional solution: expanding floor space to accommodate increased IT needs, to smaller component-based solutions. The two main component-based options are container-based and prefabricated modular (PFM) solutions.

Container-based data centers were the first generation of PFM data centers. Typically built using an intermodal-shipping container, they are limited by their size and construction. In comparison, PFM data centers are completely customizable to meet the needs of any organization.

The two designs share many similarities such as ease of deployment, the ability to add computing power on demand, energy efficient operation and some degree of prefabrication, but there are also many differences.

Comparison of the two models:

Container-based Data Centers
PFM Data Centers
Easily Deployed
Ability to Add Computing Power on Demand
Energy Efficient
Cohesive Design
Ample Space for Staff
Customizable to Fit Various Technologies
Highly Secure
Satisfy Mission Critical IT Needs

Prefabricated modular data centers are the best solution for growing companies. They take the best solutions for design, security and efficiency and bundle them together into an easily deployable package. The scalability of PFM data centers allows organizations to rapidly expand to match changing IT requirements. Organizations benefit by only paying for the amount of space they need when they need it, preserving capital expenditure, maximizing efficiency and resulting in a lower total cost of ownership.

RK Mission Critical is a top data center fabrication company for prefabricated modular data center solutions. Contact us for a free project consultation and additional information on the benefits of prefabricated construction at

By: RK Mission Critical


Since the late 1990s, when data centers became mainstream, to now, companies struggle with:

  1. Building their own data centers from the ground up
  2. Leasing space in an existing data center
  3. Buying or leasing an existing building and renovating it

Each of these options comes with some drawbacks. Companies that build their own data centers often experience sticker shock when they realize the hard costs involved, such as acquiring land in a suitable location, hiring an experienced construction team to build the facility and investing in the right mechanical, electrical and security systems. Weather and other construction-related delays often lead to budget overages and missed deadlines. In addition, executives have to make an educated guess as to how much capacity they will need over the next several years making growth or reduction difficult.

Organizations that outsource their data center needs don’t always fare better. Finding a data center provider in the right location is often a challenge. Some IT teams want their technology assets in close proximity to their organization’s headquarters. There are also concerns that moving to an outsourced data center means having to use pre-set technology and vendor services from the data center provider, making customization impossible.

Another challenge with outsourcing data center needs is that IT teams have very specific location requirements. For example, data centers should be located away from certain industrial operations or commercial flight patterns. Plus, not all data center providers are created equal, so finding an experienced partner with the right infrastructure and systems in place is also challenging.

Some enterprises lease or purchase existing buildings and perform tenant improvements to transform them into data centers. One benefit of this approach is that they don’t have to build the structure themselves, which saves money and shortens timelines. However, since these structures are not purpose-built to serve as data centers, there are often physical limitations that force the enterprise to compromise their standards. Finally, leasing a building exposes enterprises to rent increases as well as the possibility of being pushed out by their landlord.


Modular data centers, or what the industry often refers to as prefabricated modular (PFM) data centers, are the solution to traditional data center downfalls. Using the same technology and components found in traditional data centers, PFM data centers are constructed in a climate-controlled facility with mechanical and electrical systems integrated prior to shipment, as well as varying levels of the IT stack. The data center components are then transported to the customer site and assembled like building blocks that accelerate the construction schedule while providing potential cost savings. The resulting data centers are fully self-contained, weather-tight and only require utilities and network connections.

High costs, capacity and systems limitations found in traditional data centers have caused enterprises to turn to PFM data centers for their flexibility and scalability. Compute space, power and cooling are matched to current IT demands, so organizations only pay for the facilities they need at any time. And as IT demands change, modules can be added like building blocks. This keeps IT and facilities continually aligned without risk of over- or under-investing in data center resources. Finally, some PFM data centers are technology and vendor agnostic, so IT teams have the freedom to use any technology suppliers they choose without fear of vendor lock-in.

RK Mission Critical is an expert in prefabricating modular data centers. We construct the major components in our quality-controlled fabrication shop, then quickly assemble everything at the customer’s site. This not only accelerates the construction schedule but can also offer financial benefits over traditional construction. Contact us for a free consultation on the many benefits of prefabricated construction at

By: RK Mechanical

Working outside during the winter can leave construction workers susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite or trench foot, a decaying of the feet due to prolonged cold and wet conditions. In extreme cases, workers without proper personal protection equipment can also suffer shock that could even lead to death. Not only do workers need to stay warm and dry to prevent health risks, but it’s also important to eat properly, stay active and keep an eye on coworkers.

Productivity is often delayed due to harsh weather. So, work hours should be scheduled during the warmest part of the day. Below are some recommendations to stay warm, healthy and safe during the winter season.

Winter Clothing and Layering Reduce Injury Risks

Clothing should be selected to suit temperature, conditions, duration of the activity and location. Wearing proper clothing and layering can reduce sweating and the risk of injury. It’s best to avoid cotton material, as once it gets wet from rain, snow or sweat, it will begin to extract heat out of the body. Some alternate material choices are fleece, wool, Thinsulate, nylon and polypropylene. Weather can change rapidly, therefore it is important to plan and dress accordingly.

The top nine types of clothing to wear while working in the cold:

  1. Thermal insulated coveralls
  2. Thermal polyester underwear
  3. Fleece or wool liner for hard hat
  4. Insulated gloves, mittens should be worn for extreme temperatures below -17 degrees
  5. Wrap-around eye protection
  6. Scarves
  7. Thick socks: layer two pairs to stay warmer longer, but avoid a tight fit which restricts circulation
  8. Insulated boots
  9. Waterproof/windproof external layers

Warm Break Areas Help Re-energize

When spending long hours exposed to the elements, a warm area to rest will help workers warm up and re-energize. Breaks are of the utmost importance, but without a warm and comfortable place to rest, breaks can be useless. For long-term construction projects, setting up a warming shelter is a must. Temporary tents with portable heaters can be used for smaller projects.

Incorporate a Buddy System to Stay Safe

Avoid traveling or working on your own unless someone knows your route and estimated time of return. Workers in frigid weather can show signs of uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech and erratic behavior. Keep an eye on your peers to help them stay safe.

If a co-worker is showing early signs of Hypothermia, like uncontrollable shivering, apply these treatments to help:

If more severe signs are present, such as slurred speech or erratic behavior, call for emergency help right away. While waiting for help to arrive, provide warm drinks, extra layers and heating blankets, if available.

Hydration and Good Snacks are Important in the Winter

Save Your Skin from Freezing Temperatures

It’s especially important to stress these simple points to people who may not be accustomed to cold temperatures. Holding safety meetings to help workers identify the signs and symptoms of cold-related illness and injuries and training them how to prevent and treat these injuries can save lives.

At RK, we take safety seriously and empower our employees to stop work if unsafe conditions exist. We encourage our employees to take responsibility for their own safety, as well as that of those working alongside them. Working responsibly in cold weather is no exception.

RK assesses how every aspect of our work integrates to improve your project. From conception through completion, we streamline the process while maximizing value. The combined skill set of our seven business units makes us the region’s most powerful single source for mechanical contracting, custom manufacturing, steel fabrication, prefabricated construction, facilities services, electrical work and water treatment solutions. If you would like to know more about our safety procedures or have questions about what we can do for your business, contact us at

By: RK Mission Critical

In my blog post entitled, “Top Ten Data Center Predictions for 2016.” I predicted that 2016 would be The Year of Modular. This year we saw an increasing number companies in data-intensive industries such as healthcare, retail and financial services add prefabricated modular (PFM) data centers to their technology portfolios. Yet despite this surge in popularity, many organizations are still reticent to adopt them. I get it – there are a lot of mixed messages circulating in the marketplace. Read on as I debunk the five most common myths about PFM data centers.

Myth #1 – PFM data centers are an unproven, risky investment

This is a common misconception. According to 451 Research, there are at least 50 vendors that claim to provide PFM data center solutions. Since each of them has their own service offerings and construction methods, it pays to do your research. In the case of RK Mission Critical, the technology used in our off-site constructed data center is the same as can be found in traditionally constructed data centers.

Myth #2 – PFM data centers aren’t secure

Beginning in 2014 (aka – “The Year of the Breach”), industry stalwarts such as Target, Anthem and JPMorgan Chase all fell victim to expensive, high profile data breaches. Each of these cyber attacks led to fines, executive departures, lost revenue – and IT teams scrambling to figure out what went wrong. As a result, many of them mistakenly assume that PFM data centers are less secure than those that are traditionally constructed. However, PFM data centers can offer even higher levels of security. For example, indoor data center units are designed for colocation providers to maximize the mechanical and electrical infrastructure within their existing real estate asset, but also leverage the existing security system. Unlike building out existing space with the standard raised floors and cages, enclosed modular units offer another layer of security for customers that demand it – which is pretty much everyone these days.

Myth #3 – PFM data centers result in increased capital costs

With so many new vendors entering the market, it’s easy to get confused about what services and solutions they really offer. There are a limited number of “stock” PFM data center vendors that have difficulty deviating from their standard offerings. So any changes you request can lead to a bigger bill. However, most PFM data center providers such as RK Mission Critical only offer custom-designed, purpose-built solutions that meet an enterprise’s current needs with the ability to scale easily. Our solutions often result in less capital expense.

Myth #4 – PFM data centers are only good for certain workloads

People get thrown off by the term “modular.” They often envision small, enclosed spaces that are limited by their dimensions. Which is why RK Mission Critical refers to its solutions as “off-site constructed data centers.” Our PFM data centers can be used to create larger contiguous spaces that have a similar look and feel as traditional data centers. They provide almost limitless design flexibility, allowing enterprises to create structures that meet their exact requirements.

Myth #5 – PFM data centers force you into using their technology

People often confuse the term “pre-fabricated” with having limited vendor and technology choices. However, RK Mission Critical and other manufacturers offer custom solutions that are vendor and technology-agnostic. This approach provides IT teams the freedom and flexibility to configure their environments using any technology vendors they choose.

Considering investing in PFM data centers, but not sure where to start? The RK Mission Critical team stands ready to help. Contact us to discuss your specific data center needs.

By: RK Mission Critical

Now that 2015 is behind us, strategies are being developed by enterprises, colocation providers and web giants alike for the next great developments in IT.

Will 2016 be the year that cloud kills the data center? Will the race to the edge continue? Who is happy that the term “fog computing” never caught on? Below, author Ron Vokoun with RK Mission Critical shares his fearless predictions for the 2016 data center industry.

2016: The Year of Modular

There has been a great deal of talk about modular data centers, yet relatively low adoption. That will change in 2016 with a substantially higher rate of adoption due to new concepts on the market.

Most people relate modular data centers to shipping containers. Modular no longer has to have the negative connotations associated with constraining containers thanks to concepts like CENTERCORE. With open white space and ceiling heights similar to that of traditional construction, while maintaining the advantages of speed to market, scalability, and accelerated depreciation of modular, the market paradigm is poised to shift. Leading colocation providers such as FORTRUST are adopting modular at scale.

“The modular approach to data center design, construction and delivery to the end-user is long past due. The old paradigms of traditional raised floor data center design and/or the “build it all out and then fill it” models are simply inefficient and wasteful capital management.”

Retail and Wholesale Colocation Merge

The line between retail and wholesale colocation has been increasingly blurry over the past few years. The line used to be drawn at about 1 MW of capacity, but the wholesale players are now coming down as far as 250 kW and are offering more managed services than ever. Meanwhile, traditional retail players such as ViaWest are signing customers to increasingly larger deals into the multi-megawatt range while still offering the same array of managed services.

The Race to the Edge Will Continue

The rise of edge data centers is well documented with early pioneers EdgeConneX and vXchnge establishing an early advantage over the rest. With our never-ending appetite for content and decreasing attention spans, the race to the edge will continue with more players joining in. The focus to-date has been on cable and telecom connectivity, but the next frontier will be mobile where more and more people are accessing their content.

DCIM Adoption Will Continue Slow and Steady

The DCIM market has been riding the hype cycle for quite some time. But hype alone cannot sustain the over 70 companies listed on the Rhonda Ascierto’s DCIM Metro Map. With all of the attention, yet relatively low adoption, one must assume DCIM is past the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and the “Trough of Disillusionment” and is now trending toward maturity and productivity.

The knock on DCIM is that there is too much noise in the market (i.e., too many players) to determine who is real and who isn’t. Adoption will continue slow and steady until the market shakes out and there are more visible success stories.

Renewable Energy Adoption Will Accelerate

The adoption of renewable energy in 2015, especially by the colocation market, was surprising. It shows that renewable energy has matured to the point where it is no longer a marketing gimmick, but is now a competitive advantage.

The colocation market is cutthroat competitive. So, if renewables didn’t make business sense, colocation players would be putting themselves at a disadvantage by sourcing their energy in such a way. I believe adoption of renewable energy will accelerate in 2016, if for no other reason than risk mitigation. After all, who wouldn’t want to lock in your power rate for 20 years?

TCO Loses Ground

In 2016, Total Cost of Ownership will actually lose ground in data center design consideration. It defies logic, but I have witnessed a movement back toward pure CapEx-driven decisions over considerations of energy efficiency, accelerated depreciation and other financial factors. This seems to be more prevalent with enterprises, but I have seen examples across market sectors. Kudos to those enlightened souls that understand the benefits to be gained for years to come.

Water Usage Rises in Importance

The drought in California brought the issue of water use and conservation to the forefront of our consciousness in 2015. Given that water is the most subsidized and underpriced utility in the U.S., it will become a larger factor in TCO (for those that actually use this metric), but that will not be the reason it rises in importance in data center design.

Although geographically driven, risk mitigation will be the reason water usage climbs the ladder of design considerations. Simple availability has to be a consideration in this era of droughts and other extreme weather. As with renewable energy, it simply makes business sense.

Ghetto Colo Becomes a Product Offering

Lower levels of redundancy have become a product offering. Although I cannot take credit for the catchy name, heard after hours at a 7×24 Exchange Conference a couple of years ago from Jason Scandrol, quoting the words of a wise IT sage he once worked with.

Whether it be bitcoin miners or a research cluster, there are many instances that do not require anything more than street power. Why pay for the redundancy if you don’t need it? Look for more service providers to follow suit.

Rise of the Data Center Density

Power densities were relatively flat in 2015, with some trending upward toward the end of the year in the projects we evaluated. This trend will continue in 2016 with a steady rise in density across all market sectors.

Legacy equipment is finding its way out of enterprise data centers, giving way to new equipment capable of more computing in a smaller footprint.

Production data centers in higher education are averaging 5 kW per cabinet, while a research facility we designed came in at an average of 40 kW per cabinet.

Hybrid IT Rules the Day

Many have predicted that public cloud would dominate the IT landscape. Although usage is rising sharply, it is nowhere near the IT market share that some have predicted. There are many reasons this growth hasn’t come to be, such as security concerns, migration complexity and simple FUD.

Given the massive growth of IT and data in general, there is room for everyone. Enterprises will spend more time evaluating what they can offload into the cloud, colocation—and what they want to keep in their own data center.

If you would like to discuss your data center needs, contact us at!