Six Project Managers Share Their Secrets to Success

 |  Career Connections, Sundt People
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Sundt Project Managers are often responsible for the work performed by dozens of employee-owners and subcontractors.

Project managers are in charge of Sundt’s transportation, industrial and building work during the construction phase. They put in long hours and are responsible for making sure projects stay on track and on budget all while overseeing the work of dozens of employee-owners and subcontractors. It’s a challenging job.

We are proud to have some of the best project managers in the business working on our projects across the Southwest. A few recently offered their thoughts on what attributes people in their field should have to be successful.

“A good project manager needs to be a good listener. PMs need to know the pulse of their staff, subcontractors and the client. If there are issues, investigate (listen) and make a plan.

A good PM needs to be good at accounting and needs to understand contracts.”

Jim Drago, Senior Project Manager, University Square, Tempe, Arizona

“A good project manager has to be able to navigate different personalities, have difficult discussions with clients and gain their trust. It’s important to demonstrate to owners that you have a “project-first” mentality.”

Jeff Hamilton, Preconstruction Project Manager, Valley Metro Rail Gilbert Road Extension, Mesa, Arizona

“It’s important to respect our contracts as the memorial of our agreements and responsibilities. It is also important to understand that at Sundt we value relationships with clients and our subs and that we treat each other fairly and respectfully. A good project manager has the finesse to manage and maintain both.”

Pam Hermosillo, Preconstruction Project Manager, Golden West College Student Services Center, Huntington Beach, California

“I have always said, “If it weren’t for people, our jobs would be easy.” The point is that people are our most precious resource and if we don’t take care of them properly, we will spend a lot of time and money training new people. We as project managers need to understand what motivates our team. Everyone is different and to assume that everyone is motivated the same way is a leadership mistake. Some look for praise one-on-one, others appreciate it in front of others. Some like more responsibility and not everyone is motivated by money. Having a well-run machine is first understanding the individuals on your team and intentionally managing their motivation and engagement.”

Mike Hill, Senior Project Manager, Tucson International Airport Security Checkpoints

“They need to be organized. It really comes into play on bigger projects, but having solid control over paperwork, personnel, schedule/calendar and all other components of the project reduces issues and instills more trust in the PM from subordinates as well as the client.

“They need to communicate well. There are a lot of good builders and a lot of good engineers/superintendents. Making the move to PM utilizes hard skills learned throughout, but one must focus on soft skills and communication to be effective in managing the project team and client. Most engineers tend to be Type A introverts. It takes some effort or discomfort to be proactive and openly communicate to the project team.”

Ryan Vlach, Project Manager, White Tanks Flood Structure, Buckeye, Arizona

“A good manager in general should have open and honest communication with the client (good or bad) as soon as possible, lead his/her team members by showing them how to do the task instead of just telling them and have his/her team’s back even when they make a mistake.”

Chad Yount, Senior Project Manager, San Pedro Creek, San Antonio

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