Careers in Construction Month 2021

13 October 2021

October marks careers in construction month and this year we sat down with members of our construction management staff to discuss their time in the industry. Averaging 15 years of experience, our team members have seen it all and to get the best snapshot we discussed the highlights, takeaways and words of advice with our Senior Vice President, Construction - Josh Stark, Senior Project Manager - Mike de Lannoy, Project Manager - Bhavin Pardiwala and Assistant Project Manager - Anna Voyles.

What do you love most about working in the construction industry? What do you find most rewarding?

Josh Stark: I love changing a piece of land from nothing to something people use and all who are involved can be proud of. Our industry is unique because we create areas for people to live, work and play. They show up with their moving truck to a building that was a blank piece of land just a year or so earlier.

Bhavin Pardiwala: The relationships you create with not only your trade partners, but the design team and owners. I strongly believe that if you are respectful to others, the respect is given back ten-fold, and nothing is more rewarding on a construction project than when your trade partners are happy, as well as your client.

Mike de Lannoy: What I found that gave me a lot of satiSFaction was our focus (no pun intended) on taking under-utilized property and construct new infill projects where people could experience life. This is a specialty of Focus that I felt is ultimately a more sustainable way of developing real estate, creates walkability which reduces dependency on cars and helps to maintain open spaces without contributing to suburban sprawl. It’s also very rewarding to see the buildings I took part in years later and see the positive impact on the economic viability of the surrounding areas.

What was your biggest learning experience?

Bhavin Pardiwala: My biggest learning experience is that there is always a solution to a problem. No matter how bleak a situation may get, there is always a way out of it, and it is our job as construction managers to help solve problems for the client.

Anna Voyles: Some of my most valuable learning experiences have come from tough project owners – they really challenge the construction team to know their stuff. I feel like I can better track design changes, explain cost and schedule impacts, anticipate questions, etc because of my experience with demanding owners.

Mike de Lannoy: I learned early on that if a section of a building or a site is sitting empty while work is happening elsewhere, there is a missed opportunity. Schedules need to be built to maximize trade sequencing and overlap while taking into consideration safety factors like overhead operations. A horizontal project such as a single-story retail complex is different than a vertical project like a high rise but both require trade overlap to maximize all the opportunities to shorten the overall project schedule.

What was your favorite project and why?

Bhavin Pardiwala: My favorite project will always be my next one, because no 2 projects are the same and I love learning from my experiences. At the end of my career, I would love to look back and see the impact I have made in the construction industry and give back all the knowledge that I’ve gained to the next generation.

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in construction?

Bhavin Pardiwala: Although it may seem a bit intimidating and overwhelming, if you are truly passionate about construction and seeing how things get built, that intimidation goes away very quickly. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, because everybody does, and it will only help you progress in your career by learning from those mistakes. Also, you are not in this alone. You have an entire team to pick you up if mistakes are made, you just have to learn from them and keep moving forward!

Mike de Lannoy: The single biggest issue I see with younger folks entering the construction industry is the ability to understand sequencing and building a schedule that make sense. I would stress that anyone interested in a career in construction spend time learning how to build a schedule, understanding what goes first, what trades can work together verses which trades can’t overlap, etc.…

Josh Stark: Be passionate about what you do. A passionate person cares about an owner’s needs, the architects design, and the trade partner sequences. If you bring passion every day you will be succesSFul.

To learn more about the experience of our team or to discuss a project of your own, please reach out today.

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