Who or what inspires you? At a basic and somewhat cliché level I am inspired by seeing projects come together from a piece of paper or idea through to fruition. This is something that keeps me coming back to work, day in and day out. Who inspires me is a more challenging question. At the different stages of my work life, I have been inspired by various people. My father and his work ethic; a master stone mason with incredible attention to detail; and a retired Marine Recon Lieutenant Colonel whose ability to pull people together and lead is truly inspirational.
What led you to your current profession? I started out in junior high working for my father’s masonry company in Sedona, Arizona. I enjoyed the physical work and getting to see the fruits of my labor. I continued to work for my father into my mid-twenties as a mason, estimator, and foreman. I think working for my father really set me up to see the integrity and pride it takes to produce appealing and quality work. I have worked as a mason, laborer, carpenter, and project superintendent. I am now a project manager which gives me the ability to see project from beginning to end.
Which project, deal, or transaction was the “game-changer” in the advancement of your career? I was lucky enough to work on four projects run simultaneously at a large Navy hospital with a combined value of around $100 million. The hospital was operational for the entire duration of these projects and our field staff numbered around 40. I think this group of projects was pivotal to my career for a few reasons. I transitioned from an individual contributor as a tradesperson to a manger and I was able to work with these 40 individuals in tough situations with lots of discussion and critical planning which really stimulated my growth as a manager and collaborator
How do you keep your team motivated despite conflicts and obstacles? Creating a collaborative community by keeping lines of communication open. Asking others for their opinions on how things have been done better worse or otherwise. Effectively, eliciting, and valuing opinions of others and encouraging others to do the same.
What advice can you offer to someone who is interested in a career in your industry? There are as many ways to answer this question as there are people in this field. I would not necessarily recommend my career timeline but rather a modified version of my path. Get into construction at the level of boots on the ground, get your bearings, learn some work ethic, and see firsthand how things are built. I think one key item to point out is that you need to be comfortable taking on the uncomfortable.