Continuing in our series, we recently sat down with our newest Project Manager, Bhavin Pardiwala to discuss his career and pick his brain for advice. As a licenses architect, Bhavin brings a unique perspective to his work in construction management and in his 4 short years with Focus, has made a substantial impact on our projects and for our clients.
You started with Focus in 2017 as a Project Engineer and have since become a Project Manager – helping to lead client projects like 1926 W. Harrison. Can you talk about your career progression at Focus and what has made you successful?
To start, Focus is a great place to display your talent and receive recognition for your hard work. During my first 4 years with the company, I’ve had to work through complicated project issues, changes in project leadership and a global pandemic. That adversity is what has made me successful. Starting with my first project, where an unexpected delay occurred which brought the deliverability of the building into question, to today where I am managing the renovation of an 18-story building during a once in a century health crisis, I have continuously learned more from my peers and subsequently taken on more responsibility. I am a strong believer in the idea of “next man up” or the willingness to step up whenever and into whatever role my team needs which reflects the owner’s mindset which Focus embodies on any construction project. It is also true that you are only as successful as the rest of your team, so I have them to thank more than anyone else.
During your time at Focus you completed your AIA certification and became a licensed architect. How has that effort helped/informed your work as a construction project manager?
I believe that by having additional architectural understanding, I bring a unique perspective to every construction project I am involved in. Not only am I able to decipher drawings quickly to understand the constructability of a project, but I also have an expanded understanding of design which influences my approach to the VE process. These additional skills allow me to find solutions that will produce the same results technically while maintaining design quality. These added benefits are also passed along to our clients. My distinctive approach to construction and VE helps to guide our clients during the decision-making process giving them peace of mind that the end result will be of quality design while saving time and money. On the other hand, my experience as a construction manager has also helped me in becoming a licensed architect, the two industries truly go hand in hand.
What has been your favorite project at Focus and why?
I would have to say my favorite has been 1926 W. Harrison where we have been renovating an 18-story building, which dates back to the 1960s, for client Marquette Companies. I have been able to fully display my capabilities on this job, taking the reins from our Senior PM, Mike de Lannoy, and finishing off the project as the Lead PM. From solving fenestration problems which became evident during demolition to helping ownership select the best finish materials, our team has done a phenomenal job turning this vestige from the past into a community for the future. I am proud of how far we have come in just a short amount of time, and excited to deliver the finished project in just a few short weeks.
What do you like most about working in the construction industry?
There is never a dull day in construction. Every project brings new challenges, and I enjoy seeking the best possible solutions. For that reason, I can honestly say that I am never bored at work. Growing up, I always wanted to be an architect, and while I am in the same industry, I think I belong on the construction site. Having a hand in building such impactful structures, many that will outlast my career, is such a thrill and by being in construction management I have a direct impact on the finished product.
What advice would you give to those starting their careers in construction management?
Never be afraid to make mistakes, and always see things through. Construction can be tough, and there will be times where you will make mistakes, whether it’s buying a trade or accidentally slipping in the schedule. It is NOT the end of the world and not everyone is perfect, but it will make you a better project manager. There may be times where you want to give up or don’t think you are cut out for this, but if you really enjoy the industry, those fears will turn into excitement and there is no greater feeling than finding solutions to a problem.
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