Career Story: Construction Project Auditor

Construction Project Auditor

Job Title: Director Of Quality Assurance - Construction Auditor

Type of Company: My organization is an independent public authority that administers the state's School Building Assistance program. This $500 million-a-year program is the largest source of funds for the construction of public schools, and their renovation and repair, in the state of Massachusetts.

Education: B.Sc., Civil Engineering, ITESM (Mexico) •• MBA, Yale School of Management

Previous Experience: I worked for a construction contractor in Mexico. I started my own real estate development company in Mexico, before going to graduate school. After graduate school I worked as a consultant and auditor at Ernst & Young. After that I joined the Massachusetts School Building Authority as the Director of Construction Management to implement oversight procedures in the programs we administer.

Job Tasks: I establish procedures for the organization to follow that help administer the program effectively; disseminate these procedures throughout the company and revise them from time to time to incorporate the best ideas that result in better management. I review requests for reimbursement from Cities and Towns and approve transfers of money to them, according to the funding agreements of the organization; create and maintain databases and generate reports that help the Executive Director understand the status of the whole program as well as each on-going project. I train communities in the process of entering project and cost information the way the organization requires, and review this information to make sure we are reimbursing communities what is due to them. And I use information we collect to evaluate need and urgency of potential projects and analyze and develop cost standards that form the basis of future reimbursements. For example, when the town of Norwood decided they needed a new high school to replace their old one, they approached the MSBA for help funding the project. We had conducted a survey of all schools throughout Massachusetts and this information was stored in a database that I helped develop. This information helped us compare Norwood with other cities and towns and reach the conclusion that they did indeed need a new high school. After asking Norwood to provide additional information, we entered into a funding agreement. I helped review the conditions of the agreement, and the information that followed in order to make sure that we were sending the right sum of money. I also helped develop the reports that showed our Executive Director the progress that Norwood was making while the high school was being built.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best: I help build better schools for the children of Massachusetts. The projects we are involved in provide a better learning environment and bring a lot of joy and excitement to those people we deal with.

Worst: Because a lot of people want to have a better school building, they are sometimes more concerned with their community than the rest of the communities in the state. As a result, they sometimes try to do things that benefit their community at the expense of others.

Job Tips: One of the most important things when managing organizations is to try to be fair to people. A great way to succeed within large organizations is to come prepared to meetings, by "doing your homework" before any meeting. This shows that you are thoughtful, prepared and responsible. A very important thing when dealing with people is to try to understand them. You should ask questions. This helps you understand what they expect of you, and also shows them you care about their opinion.

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