Several years ago, Kerry Butler, president of Butler Construction, Kelso, Wash., decided it was time to "make the company young again." The people Butler had on staff were middle-aged, like he is. There was, he says, resistance to change among the employees.

"It was a troubling situation," he says. "But once I got past the fear, I realized there's no point in our lives when we get to be young again, but that if you found young guys, and trained them right, the company got young again."

In the spirit of the new attitude, and following some new hires, Butler decided he wanted as many of his eight carpenters as possible to become CGRs. At a weekly meeting last fall, he offered to pay for half the cost of their CGR training. Three project leaders enrolled. (Butler says he offered to pay half rather than all of the cost because "if they don't have some kind of investment in it, it becomes worthless.")

One of the three graduated as a CGR at the end of 2002. The other two will become CGRs this year. Each was required to take five or six courses, Butler says. Butler himself is a CGR who frequently teaches courses in Washington state.

Having multiple CGRs on staff, Butler believes, will be a big competitive advantage. Being a CGR "gives you a leg up on the competition," he says. "It sets you apart." Plus, Butler points out, CGR training "allows employees to better understand the business side. Instead of being in the dark about why we charge $50 an hour and they make $22, they understand why we need to charge that to provide everything else that we do."