Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jon Peltz Informational Interview of Brett Barnett

Brett Barnett is the Vice President of the Construction Management firm Harris & Associates.  He has over 25 years experience acting as a Construction Manager/Engineer of Record.

1) What are some of the key skills required to be a construction manager?
-You need to be able to communicate orally and written effectively.  Technical skills are important to understand the design and this will help you understand the process.  Good Leadership skills are important because often you need to lead your team in order for a successful project.  People skills are important because often you need to deal with people and will have to learn to deal with them effectively.

2) What would you say is the path from entry level to top of the company?
-Start off with an internship and gain experience.  Move inside the company and learn as much as you can.  The different levels are just more responsibility.  If you want to move up accept more responsibility.  People above you will recognize that and promote more often.

3) What kind of projects do you specialize in?
-Bridge and highway work.  I started back in Caltrans back in 83' working on bridges.

4) Do you have any crazy construction stories?
-On my project working on this bridge in LA the Pile Driver operator was celebrating his 50th birthday and his buddies got him a stripper to come out to the site.  She was 20 feet from I-15.  I was surprised no one had an accident.

5) How did you get started or interested in construction management?
-Well I started in college as a photographer and decided it did not challenge me enough.  My dad was an engineer for Caltrans so I decided to become an engineer.  Inside Caltrans I went through their job rotation.  After the design portion I decided I didn't really want to design, so I went on to construction management.

6) What would you say to someone who wants to be in your shoes?
-"The grass may be greener on the other side, but make sure you look at the cost of fertilizer to make it green".  You won't be able to run a project until you put the time in.  The better you are the faster you will advance.  Lastly, find a company you can get a "piece of the pie", meaning employee owned.  If not then you are just working a job.

7) What is your favorite part of being a construction manager?
-May favorite part is being able to see something built well.  Also, the satisfaction of knowing the people you have helped along the way.  Putting meaning and value into other's lives.  Lastly, I enjoy the competition behind it.  Often you are going head to head with a contractor.

8) What is your least favorite part of being a construction manager?
-The hours can be long.  Sometimes you have to let people go.  This effects their lives, but I just hope that by allowing them to leave they can go do something that they will be able to do more effective.  Lastly, dealing with clients that think they know more than you.  This can be frustrating but you have to find a way to mitigate that with your approach.

9) What influences or things do you consider when determining if you are going to bid on a project?
- Often in our field selection is based on qualifications.  You need to look at not only the plans but what the specs say.  Contractors tend to overlook the specs, which can get them into trouble.  We also look at if we can properly staff the project.  If we have the right people who can manage the project and make it happen.

Overall, this information interview was very informative.  It was interesting to sit down with someone in the profession I want to be in and learn about his past and his advice.

No comments:

Post a Comment