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Career Story: Construction Company Contract Overseer

Construction Company Contract Overseer

Job Title: Contract Administrator

Type of Company: I work for a construction company that specializes in bridge & road construction, demolition and environmental abatement projects.

Education: high school diploma, St. Joseph High School

Previous Experience: I've worked in construction for over 23 years, starting out in Accounts Payable and moving up, for several years, to a job as contract administrator. After serving as controller for most of a decade, I returned recently to doing work as a contract administrator.

Job Tasks: I procure bids, contracts, and pre-qualification packages for large (and not-so-large) construction projects that can range in value from $75,000.00 to $20,000,000.00. I also ensure that all our civil and federal licenses and authorities-to-bid are up-to-date. My other responsibilities include the processing (or "initiation") of sub-contracts, purchase orders and service agreements and the importation of budgets into the company's accounting system. From time to time, too, I order specialized supplies: bid documents, bid bonds and insurance certificates for project startups.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The most enjoyable aspect of my job is when you place a bid in and find out that you have won it. Also I work with great people, who are totally committed to winning projects.

The worst part of my job is meeting the constant deadlines: bids that are due at, say, 2:00 PM in New Jersey. I've got to make sure not only that the bid will arrive on time, but that I've furnished all the necessary paperwork or the bid will be rejected.

Job Tips:
1.) I would consider taking another position in the construction industry to begin with, working as, say, an administrative assistant to familiarize yourself with the terms. 2.) I would also consider a course in bookkeeping. Excel would be the software that you'd really need to know. 3.) I would only take this position if you're organized and have a gift for setting priorities.

Additional Thoughts: This is not the sort of job you can train for. There aren't any courses in school you can take. I 've worked for a couple of big construction companies and both of them sought me out, since -- as they themselves admitted -- you can't put an ad in the newspaper a position like this. It's detail-oriented and every day's a challenge; every day's different and flexibility's a must.

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