Focus Feature: Wade Giorno

05 March 2020

In this Focus Feature, we are recognizing Wade Giorno, a Senior Project Manager and 23-year Focus veteran. Wade's extensive experience and unique approach are critical to company’s success.

We spoke with Wade about his role and what trends he sees emerging in the construction industry. Check out Wade’s Q&A below.

What is your role at Focus?

I’ve had the opportunity to wear many hats at Focus, starting as a lead superintendent I oversaw construction onsite. I transitioned into a project management role soon thereafter where I was able to use my field experience and background as an architect to drive projects in their early design stages, contributing to value engineering which could make or break a project. In this role I helped to guide ownership on design while working to minimize costs and maximize construction quality. I have been in my current role of Senior Project Manager for quite some time, which means that I now manage some of our company’s largest and most complex projects.

You’ve been with Focus since 1997 – almost as long as the company has been in existence. What has kept you there for 23 years?

It starts with the great company culture, we work with honesty and integrity, and we strive to always be doing the right thing. I also love that all of our projects are uniquely designed for their location and use, we try to always take into consideration the community that was there before we came, which makes every day at work interesting, engaging and new. I’d be remiss to not mention the most important thing – the smart, talented and good people at Focus make this a very rewarding place to work.

Tell me about the most memorable project you’ve worked on and why it is memorable to you.

It’s so hard to narrow it down to just one – I’ve been lucky to work on a number of memorable projects, but I would probably have to choose Courthouse Square in Wheaton. The project had so many different and compelling facets, including a historical restoration of the State Attorney’s building and the original DuPage County Courthouse while also integrating new construction into the community. From stripping the years of use out of the historically significant structures, to reconstructing and restoring the facades, to converting the interiors into condominiumminiums and building an accompanying new construction condominiumminium tower, this project provided a lot of new learning opportunities for me.

This project also reinforced the company’s commitment to seeing a project through to the end, despite challenges and obstacles. The project started just prior to the economic recession and was forced to shut down, but Focus stuck with it despite rough-industry conditions and was able to restart and complete the project seven years later.

Talk about your experience with value engineering. What benefit does it bring to projects and how does it help a project come to fruition?

Value engineering is often thought of as a taboo word in construction, often times associated with a process that includes cutting corners and sacrificing quality to get a project back on budget. Instead, I look at value engineering as a process of challenging all aspects of a project to identify alternate solutions and efficiencies to bring budgets back on track. I do this by drawing from past experience, working with input from our trade partners, and collaborating with design consultants. By focusing on money-saving solutions that don’t sacrifice the quality of facades, finishes and amenities, we are able to find solutions for ownership to consider as they consider sensitive construction budgets. Quite often, this process continues through construction with savings often reinvested into the project to turn over the highest quality product possible.

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