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Bradley Hartmann, founder of Red Angle, helps the construction industry bridge the English-Spanish language gap. With improved communication, Safety, Productivity and Profitability increase while Premiums and Rework decrease. In addition to being a redheaded Spanish speaker (not many of these in world, for better or worse….), Hartmann and his Red Angle programs are memorable because they are customized, highly relevant and fun. Programs are delivered through a variety of mediums: Audio, Video, Books, eBooks, posters & on-site workshops. This flexibility has proven ideal for GC’s and Subs, always long on Things To Do and short on time.
Hartmann is a published author and writes a monthly column for ForConstructionPros.com. His book Spanish Twins shows readers how to speak Construction Spanish quickly on the jobsite with only their fluency in English as a foundation. This fall, he is partnering Purdue University teaching Safety Spanish.
MO: How did you come up with the name Red Angle for your company?
Bradley: Well, there are not a lot of white, redheaded Spanish-speakers on jobsites these days, so the “Red” comes from my ginger red hair. And we view the language barrier on the jobsite from a different angle, a different perspective, so we married those two up: Red Angle.
MO: Teaching Spanish to people in the construction industry is a very niche market. How well has Red Angle been received so far? What kind of feedback are you getting?
Bradley: We’ve been really pleased with the high interest level out of the gates. Construction firms are aware of the national stats – Hispanics are nearly 2x as likely to be injured or killed on the jobsite because of communication & cultural barriers. And anyone who has stepped on a job recently surely saw a lot of Hispanics working. These 2 facts represent a huge amount of risk for general contractors, sub-contractors and owners.
We’ve found the English-Spanish communication barrier is a conversation that’s been had at nearly every firm we’ve spoken to. They know there is an opportunity to increase Safety & Productivity by improving communication. We help by delivering highly relevant, memorable, and efficient training materials that improve communication immediately – without disrupting the daily operations of the jobsite. And, of course, we have fun doing it.
MO: How are you able to manage with no staff? How soon do you plan on putting together a team and how will that change how you work?
Bradley: Many talented people contribute to what we do. I’m lucky to have found some incredibly bright people who help me. I’m looking at hiring full-time employees now. When that happens I’ll have to accept the fact that I have to share decision-making control. But I’m also looking forward to it too. Implementing creative ideas and thinking of new ways to WOW our Clients is what I love doing and for that, the more heads in the huddle generating ideas, the better.
MO: You’re teaching construction staff and managers to speak Spanish to better communicate with their employees and better manage their sites. Have you had any opposition or negative feedback with individuals thinking it’s the immigrants that should be learning English, instead of the other way around?
Bradley: Yes we have. And we respect that point of view. Red Angle does both – we teach Spanish to English-speakers and English to Spanish-speakers. Our Clients typically opt to invest in teaching Spanish to their managers because the Return on Investment is higher. Our Clients’ construction managers typically have 4-year degrees and manage large groups of people. The combination of strong educational backgrounds and the ability to impact large groups of people simply makes it more efficient to train the English-speaking managers. But Red Angle encourages meeting halfway as we bridge the language gap on the jobsite.
Our underlying assumption is smart businesses will invest in minimizing Safety risks and improving Productivity – regardless of the package a particular solution arrives in.
MO: What’s been the most rewarding aspect of creating your own company? What’s been the biggest obstacle?
Bradley: The most rewarding aspect is the process of creating original concepts, content & products and having construction leaders say, “This was a fantastic investment for us – great job.” Whether it’s been our digital training, books, DVD’s, posters or our customized board games we use in our On-site workshops – it’s all about creating products that help people communicate better while having a lot of fun doing it. Considering the huge number of people that took Spanish in high school for 3 years and only remember how to say Cerveza, Baño, and the Taco Bell menu, to have our Clients speaking Construction Spanish in such a short amount time is incredibly rewarding.
The biggest obstacle is time management. So much to do… so little time.
MO: What’s next for Red Angle? And where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years time?
Bradley: We have several cool product launches coming out this year – a new book, DVD’s, an app, and several unique posters that will have people talking. In 5 years Red Angle will be the undisputed leader in industry-specific language learning programs and tools. We will be well on our way towards changing how people learn to speak Spanish on the job to increase Safety and Productivity. We will have branched into other industries where we know language barriers exist – Hotels, Restaurants, Banking, etc. We will be in the country’s top universities and be all over the Fortune 500. We will not rest until we’ve engineered the best bridge for crossing the language gap. And we will have fun doing it….
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