Tell us about your responsibilities as a Construction Project Manager III.
I’m located at a large client hospital in Texas. Right now we’re working on a substantial eight story Women’s Tower addition to the campus, reskinning the existing hospital, and gutting and renovating all patient floors that date back to 1974. This building is old so projects present extra challenges. We’ve done some major additions to it in the past, but our current project is by far the most transformative project the campus has ever undergone and that’s exciting. As the project manager, I am involved from the inception of the project, until it’s completed, and the first patients utilize the new space. Our customer may come to us with a need, perhaps they want to increase their throughput on a service line, or they want an addition to the hospital, or something needs to be right-sized. I work with Strategy and Planning and Admin to initiate the project, to help give form to scope and budgets. I put everything together for the customer to review and for funding approval. There are so many details involved in healthcare construction. You can have all your finishes and furniture in place and create a great space, but if you haven’t properly addressed areas like safety, security, technology, connectivity and how the patients and clinicians will use the space then the building can’t perform as needed. Our team is involved in all those aspects, it's our job to ensure we have a functioning space when the first patient is cared for.
What kind of team is needed to execute a construction project?
These projects are a collaborative effort. It takes a lot of types of expertise to execute them. We work with the Strategy and Planning team, architects, and if it’s a large project we’ll bring in a general contractor early on in the process. We work together to synthesize the values between the owner, architect, and contractor on our large strategic projects. I also help manage a lot of smaller projects that are very important to our mission of delivering healthcare to our community. On the Medxcel side we’ve currently got a group of eight project managers at different levels.
Describe your career path and how you arrived in your current role.
I’m a registered architect and I spent the first 15 years of my career practicing traditional architecture. A friend of mine worked at this hospital system and called and asked me if I’d consider coming to work on the owner’s side and I decided to try it. I began working at this hospital system in 2006. I’ve been here ever since, and my position transitioned to Medxcel a few years ago. I keep my architecture license current but now I’m in a different kind of role, hiring and working with architects as I manage customer projects. I’m glad I made the switch; I love what I’m doing, my co-workers and the culture here are very positive.
What kinds of training and development has Medxcel offered you and others on your team to grow your careers and skill set?
Medxcel helps support us in working towards our Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC) certification. This achievement involves a lot of preparation and passing a very tough examination. I learned that it was a challenging exam to prepare for due to the situational focus of the questions and I had to lean on my thought processes and my years of experience to pass the exam. Medxcel also supported me in attending a LEED building institute conference and I’ve attended other conferences like ASHE where I can get a lot of the continuing education hours that I need to maintain my CHC, LEED certification, and architecture license. As leaders, Medxcel supports us in creating career pathing for the project managers on our team who want to advance their careers. If they are interested in achieving a higher level of scope and responsibility, they can shadow us and pursue education and certification to help grow their skills. We try to promote from within whenever we can.
How would you describe the culture at Medxcel?
I love this team; I work with such a great group of people. We’ve never had any problems; we work well together, and we really feel like a family. It’s the best work culture I’ve encountered during my career. I’ve been in some situations that weren’t as positive before I joined this hospital system and Medxcel, so I really appreciate the positive culture here. Our group is tight, we’re comfortable with each other and we build each other up. At Medxcel you know you can always reach out to someone in the organization via email or a phone call to ask them for advice on what to do in a given situation. There’s so much collaboration and support here, it’s wonderful.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is knowing I’m part of a very large team and that together we will arrive at the end of our project when our customer is able to serve that first patient. In a construction project there are so many moving parts, it’s very complicated and there are so many different dynamic relationships including customer, Medxcel and hospital department leadership. Working together to get everyone in sync is no small task but I love the satisfaction that comes when our patients are using the finished space and receiving state of the art care.
Have you experienced anything unusual in the course of your work at Medxcel?
Both of my parents were collectors and that rubbed off on me a bit. On one of our current jobs, we are basically gutting and renovating a floor in a patient room unit that was built in 1974. As part of the process we had to remove and abate all the drywall and exterior walls. Inside we uncovered the concrete masonry bricks used for the exterior wall assembly. We discovered that some of the workers in 1974 put empty cans and other things from their lunches into the open cells of the concrete masonry units. So we found trash but to me it was kind of cool. Everything was totally preserved, and it was like finding a strange time capsule. I hung onto one of the cans we found, it was some kind of Bordon milk drink that was in a steel can. We run into a lot of interesting, unexpected things like that working on these old buildings. We never know what we’re going to find behind old walls.
What would you say to someone who asks you if you recommend working for Medxcel?
I love to tell others about the great team we’ve got here. I think the fact that we don’t have much turnover says a lot about us; our group sticks around and sticks together. That’s so important to me. Nobody wants to be in an environment that’s toxic or siloed, that’s a wonderful thing to be able to share with candidates. Medxcel offers a generous PTO policy and I’ve found that that helps support a great work life balance and as I get older, that’s more and more important to me.
What is one thing that you have learned during your time in this role?
The biggest change for me was moving over to the owner’s side and learning that I don’t need to be a micromanager. We are paying professionals to do their job for our team, whether they’re architects, engineers, or consultants. So I don’t need to spend a lot of time and energy managing them, I need to step back and let them do their job with oversight. My role is to represent the owner/client and manage the projects, letting each of the experts on our team do their respective jobs.