You have to learn how to communicate effectively with others by looking
for cues and learn how to respond. This ultimately teaches project
managers conflict resolution techniques, so things go a lot smoother.
San Francisco. It’s one
of the world’s must-
Favorite place in
My home. I need to
get some sleep.
Advice for new proj-
Next-generation project managers need
to evolve with the
profession by mastering not only business
but also technical and
How do you successfully coordinate with
other trade partners?
We train our project managers to communicate
effectively. To make sure that happens, we have a
project management-focused effort at the company
to take lessons learned from projects and share
them with our project managers so they’re well
prepared to navigate challenges on a project.
Tell me about a lesson learned from a
project you’re managing right now.
I’m managing the electrical work on a US$620
million, 1.35-million-square-foot (125,400-square-
meter) mixed-use condo development project
in San Francisco. It will include two high-rise,
high-density condominium towers, as well as
two midrise podium buildings with three levels
of below-grade parking. The project has a very
aggressive schedule: Construction began in July
2013 and is scheduled to be complete mid-2016.
Although the four towers are being built as a single
project, one tower requires early occupancy in the
first quarter of 2015. Due to the intersystem dependency among the towers, the project requires phased
construction to allow a portion of the three remaining towers to be built concurrently. Because of this,
we have four electrical crews working on-site. You
can imagine the complexity involved with managing
four different crews on the same project while also
coordinating with other construction trade partners.
The complex project offers a great learning
experience. For example, to adapt to demanding
project needs, we have had to continuously monitor our processes and execution plan to make sure
we are aligned with the project scope, time and
budget. As a result, our team has become more
efficient with on-site deliveries and prefabrication
techniques. This in turn has led to additional best-practice project management standards at Cupertino Electric that we have incorporated into our
training for existing and future project managers.
Emotional intelligence has also been valuable on
this project. We teach our project managers to recognize others’ feelings so they can predict conflicts
and react to them.
How exactly has emotional intelligence
helped your team?
Because of its complexity and size, we have a lot
of different stakeholders on this project. They have
different needs. With such an aggressive schedule,
things can get tense. Because of this, you have to
learn how to communicate effectively with others
by looking for cues—body language, for instance—
and learn how to respond. This ultimately teaches
project managers conflict resolution techniques, so
things go a lot smoother.
How are new energy efficiency regulations
affecting projects you work on?
Efforts toward sustainability are definitely impacting construction projects. Many building codes and
regulations are changing. In California, for example,
the new 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards took effect on 1 July 2014 and include many
changes made with energy sustainability in mind.
One of the major changes is the introduction of
solar-ready provisions that require high-rise multi-family buildings with 10 stories or less to have an
allocated solar zone that is free of obstruction and
unshaded. Although the new rule doesn’t mandate
the installation of a solar energy system, the code is
saying, “Hey, Mr. Designer, please reserve a spot in
your project for solar energy technology.” I predict
the next code cycle will mandate the installation of
photovoltaic systems. Code changes like this require
the project manager to rethink the traditional
approach to project planning and execution to allow
for better system and team integration.
Is the demand for more sustainable
buildings creating demand for electrical
In California, where I work, new building codes
and regulations require a building owner who
wants to change 10 percent of the lighting in his
or her building to bring the entire lighting system
up to compliance. As a result, a small project suddenly becomes much bigger and a project manager
becomes necessary. So, yes, codes that have sustainability in mind are creating jobs. PM