Career Story: Field Operations Manager For A Construction Company

Field Operations Manager For A Construction Company

Job Title: Field Operations Manager/Field Safety Officer /LEED*AP

Type of Company: We specialize in doing interior fit ups for large office spaces. We do a lot of this while the buildings are still occupied. We are also one of the leaders in green sustainable building practices.

Education: High School •• certificates, Welding, Drafting, Autocad •• certified surgical technician

Previous Experience: I started out as a laborer for carpenters and worked my way up the ranks and had my own contracting business for over 20 years. I also worked as a surgical technician for five years during the late 1980's. I began work for my current employer as a supervisor and have since been promoted but overall I have more than 35 years of construction experience.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is to make sure everyone has a place to go to work every day. We have 25 people in the field whom we have to keep busy and I try to assign the right people to the right job, while trying to keep everyone's commute as short as possible. I also track vacation time and make sure all of our job sites are properly manned even when employees call in sick. I interview new employees and fire employees who don't live up to our expectations. I pay visits to sites unannounced to do in-house safety inspections. Our standards are even higher than OSHA's and we work very hard to keep everyone safe.

Just keeping the schedule up-to-date takes more than 50% of my time. I try to visit three or four sites a week to do safety inspections and to just be another set of eyes. There are times when I can suggest a better way to do something that increases efficiency and improves safety at the same time,

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is I get to visit all the jobs and I have a great relationship with the field personnel as well as the office staff. Improving safety on the job site, while making things run more smoothly, is just the sort of puzzle I enjoy.

The worst part of my job is having to make the decision to let someone go.

Job Tips: You should spend as much time as you can in the field to understand what it is you are asking people to do. They are humans, not machines. Even if you have a degree in project management you should spend a few years in the field. You will learn so many things they don't teach you in school and gain the respect of the field staff as well. And that could make your life a lot easier.

Additional Thoughts: I have to be very careful that I listen to both sides of a story before forming an opinion. When you deal with so many personalities you have to have an open mind.

I got here through the school of hard knocks but it might be helpful in this day and age to take a few classes in psychology as well as construction management.

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