Tom Crane, China Construction America, Skanska, CCA

Episode 21: Tom Crane

E21: Tom Crane is China Construction America’s Head of Shared Services and Vice President of Human Resources & Communications.

The parent company is the largest construction company in the world.

He forms and provides operational management of the organization’s Shared Services Center functions, while increasing their long-term strategic and operational effectiveness, efficiency and speed of delivery.

Tom is also a member of the board of directors of Plaza Group Holdings, LLC.

He previously served as Chief Human Resources Officer at Skanska USA, where he led a 70-person team and $19 million budget and played a key role in Skanska USA achieving an 85%+ employee engagement level and limiting voluntary salaried employee turnover to 12% per year.

He served as Director of Media Relations for Honeywell.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Temple University.

Tom’s LinkedIn Profile


  • Why a background in journalism and communications can provide a strategic advantage in the C-Suite.
  • How to influence others through your writing.
  • What Tom learned working as executive leader for three companies on three continents.
  • The moment Tom learned to write under pressure when the stock price was at stake.
  • The mental shift you must make to become an effective communicator.
  • How to improve your communication by identifying patterns in others.
  • What Tom learned from former Honeywell CEO, Larry Bossidy, about leadership.
  • The “grassroots” approach to selling your idea to the C-Suite.
  • The key for having tough conversations at work.
  • When employee turnover is okay and when it’s not.
  • The most important data points you should track when it comes to employee turnover.
  • How a single relationship Tom built early in his career transformed into a big opportunity. 
  • How employees from under-represented groups can rise to the C-Suite.


Things to know when writing an email:

  • Your mission.
  • Your strategy.
  • Your intent.
  • Your audience.

Then bring all those things together.

Traits Tom would instill in every employee:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Spending more time thinking about the bigger picture
  • Accountability and responsibility for the whole process even though you only have a part of it.

Tom’s advice for employees from the underrepresented groups in C-Suite:

  • Establish a mentor relationship, both inside and outside of the company.
  • Stay focused of what you can produce the best.
  • Socialize your ideas.
  • Don’t be afraid to be visible.
  • Let people know that you have an opinion.


“Make it better than you found it.”

“We are only the caretakers for the roles we have. That’s our legacy.”


On Writing Well, William K. Zinsser

Crossing the Unknown Sea, David Whyte

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy

An Immigrant In the C-Suite, John Lopez


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