Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blog Post 1

I chose to interview my father, who is the President of a commercial contracting corporation. He has experience in buying and developing commercial property as well as building numerous commercial properties. 

How did you get started in this field? 

My father owned a construction company similar to mine but also dealt with residential construction as well. I did not really enjoy working in the residential field because of the difficulty of working with homeowners. They are very passionate about their homes and dealing with their emotional attachment becomes very tedious, so I decided to concentrate on commercial construction.

What was your educational background?

I served my apprenticeship as a plasterer. We would make moldings by hand using plaster. That trade has pretty much died off and is only used when remodeling very old buildings. Eventually I started out on my own and have been ever since.

What is a “typical” day like for you?

A typical day for me consists of responding to emails, talking with material suppliers and organizing and communicating with job foreman to make sure they have everything they need for the day. There is a lot of front end work that  goes into a project that many people do not realize. 

What are some common entry-level positions in the field?

There are two ways to enter the administrative/managerial field of construction. You can go through the trades and learn how to work the tools and eventually make the transition to the office, or you can go to school and get a degree in construction management usually, and then start in the office. 

What kind of salary range and benefits are typical of an entry-level position in this field?

A junior estimator or project administrator can expect to be paid $12-$18/hour starting out, depending on experience.

What are the most important factors used when hiring?

I look at the experience that a potential employee has as well as how aggressive and hard working they are. The construction industry is not easy and you have to be able to deal with some very strong personalities.

How do people usually find out about full-time openings in this field?

Many CM programs have an email list to notify students when a job opportunity is available. Also word of mouth is still a very good way to find a job in this industry. It is all about making connections and networking with other contractors/architects and potential clients.

How do you see jobs changing in the future?

The construction industry is notorious for being old fashioned. There is a big push to use new technology to plan and track projects. I have not had a paper set of plans come across my desk in years. Everything we use is not electronic. This has really sped up the process of bidding jobs.

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