Presenting the 2020 Board Nominees…
The proposed 2020 Executive Committee is as follows: Wayne Matheu of Matheu & Associates as president; Amy Mercurio of Johns Hopkins University as president-elect; Michael Martin of Live Green Landscape Associates as vice president and Ted Bowes of Excell Concrete Construction as treasurer. New to the Executive Committee will be current board member Rick Scheetz serving as secretary.
The nominated board slate is John Gregg of GWWO Architects;Thomas Koch of Plano-Coudon Construction; Joseph Rode of The Mullan Contracting Co. and Craig Smith of Wohlsen Construction.
Ballots will be sent out later this month and must be returned by Oct. 11. The board will be introduced at the Annual Meeting on Dec. 4.
Gray & Son/Maryland Paving
A 17-year veteran of the aggregate mining business, Rick Scheetz embraced a broad new challenge when he went to work for Gray & Son.
Although he understood construction materials and Gray & Son’s operations (the company had been one of his clients when he worked at Lafarge), Scheetz realized “there are so many moving parts in construction and so many variables. You have to put together the right people, business processes and construction techniques to minimize mistakes and make a job as productive and profitable as possible.”
So Scheetz is proud of the advances that Gray & Son has made in recent years. The company implemented a project management system, equipped field staff with tablets and digital services, and launched an extensive in-house training program. It also got more staff involved in industry associations.
“BC&E gives not only me, but a lot of our people, training opportunities, networking opportunities and opportunities to bounce ideas off a broad range of people,” he said.
For John Gregg, few things are more fascinating than the nooks and crannies of a historic building.
Since 2002, Gregg has worked on more than 100 projects for the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institute and other government agencies, including projects at Hampton Mansion, Fort McHenry, the Jefferson Memorial and other historic sites.
“It’s so cool to think about who has been in that place, worked on that building and created those nooks and crannies,” he said. “There aren’t many people who gain that depth of information about such historic places.”
Gregg is committed to both preserving historic resources but also providing them with a modern-day purpose.
“We don’t want to just mothball them. We want to find a purpose for them going forward whether it’s adaptive re-use or rehabilitation of their current use.”
To succeed at such projects, Gregg said, project teams need to work closely across disciplines and fully appreciate the skills of historians, curators and construction professionals.
Senior Project Manager
A string of varied and challenging projects — from a 14-story gut renovation to a campus-wide installation of underground duct banks — has taught Thomas Koch a key lesson about handling construction well.
“I have learned, ultimately, to take my time and evaluate a situation as thoroughly as possible, before reacting to any challenge. Whether it’s a building issue, a contracting issue or a personality issue, I give myself the opportunity to sit and digest—so that we can all move forward with the best solution,” he said.
Koch started his construction career by working as a carpenter building high-end residences while he attended college. Although he completed a degree in mechanical engineering, Koch left his engineering job after two years to focus on construction projects.
Invigorated by the never-ending challenges of construction, Koch also developed a steadily growing appreciation for the ability of well-connected teams to master those challenges.
“One thing I like about BC&E is they have done a good job of bringing together diverse companies and that has helped us build relationships and put together great teams,” he said.
The Mullan Contracting Company
Asked to name one of the construction projects he is most proud of, Joseph Rode happily starts rattling off a list.
“We just opened a medical facility for Johns Hopkins — 130,000 square feet with six ORs at Greenspring Station. It’s very cool. Right before that, we finished the Edward St. John Center at McDonogh School. It was very difficult and involved, but it included beautiful, high-end finishes – cherry paneling and vaulted ceilings. The last project is always our best project,” he said.
After more than 35 years in the industry, Rode still relishes the daily challenges of construction, the“ever-changing environment” of a classic general contractor operation and the “salt-of-the-earth type of people you deal with in construction.” He even appreciates, if hesitantly, technological advances in the industry.
“We’re being dragged along like the rest of the construction world into new technologies,” he said. However, some young project managers convinced him to implement PlanGrid and other digital services “and it has made things much better for my field guys. It has improved decision making and efficiency.”
Senior Project Manager
Early in his construction career, Craig Smith recognized the value of learning continuously and from myriad people.
His first mentor, a superintendent, stressed that “no matter how many years you have been in this business, you can always learn something new and it can come from somebody who has never built anything in their life but has a fresh approach,” Smith said.
So Smith has made a point of steadily learning from colleagues throughout his career, from the tradesman who taught him how to finish drywall with a hawk and trowel to his business management professors at Johns Hopkins University.
That approach has equipped him to complete projects ranging from the first five-story wood structure in the Baltimore-Washington region to a mechanical systems upgrade at a national security facility to the new Tru Hotel in Baltimore. It has also continually stoked his passion for tackling different and challenging projects, digging into new ventures such as a current quality assurance initiative at Wohlsen, and sharing the things he learns with other people in the industry.