Ryan Silbernagel serves as Project Superintendent on our San Pedro Creek work in San Antonio. He recently took a little time to discuss what people in his position do to help project teams succeed.
What does a Project Superintendent do?
Primarily, he or she oversees the execution of work associated with a project. This includes ensuring safety is at the forefront every day for every task, the quality of work meets/exceeds contract specifications, and managing the resources needed to complete a project. We also help the Project Manager and Project Engineer develop and maintain the project schedule and ensure it is being met. Project Superintendents will regularly interact with clients and design teams, and help develop and maintain those relationships.
What type of education is needed?
A college degree is beneficial, but not necessary. I started as a laborer and worked my way up through the trades. I worked during the day and took a combination of vocational, math and engineering classes at night. Vocationally, I took welding courses. Along with becoming a Certified Welder, I gained technical knowledge that I still use frequently. Academically, higher-level math courses and engineering courses help with communicating ideas, concepts and issues to the design teams and clients.
What kind of experience is beneficial?
Having a thorough understanding of the work and being able to accurately schedule and plan it is crucial. I advise new engineers to spend time with the crews in the field and get their boots dirty. Learning the jargon and how things are built is one of the best ways to gain experience.
On how many projects have you been Superintendent?
Over the past 10 years, I have been responsible for seven projects as Project Superintendent.
What was your favorite project?
I enjoy technical and complex projects where there is an opportunity to employ unique construction methods. In my career, I’ve worked on three separate arch bridges, and the Sellwood Bridge project was my favorite. It was the most challenging, technical and diverse in scope.
What kind of qualities does a Project Superintendent need?
Effective communication (both listening and talking), confidence, time management, integrity and mastery of logistics.
What do you hope is next in your career?
I look forward to being challenged with difficult projects and learning new roles.
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