It is only natural to think about family and togetherness this time of year. Something about road trips, a big meal, flag football games, and naps always reminds me of what to be thankful for at home. The downtime during the holidays also gives me a chance to relax and reflect on my work family.
My career in construction started at 15 years old. My uncle got me a job with a residential plumbing company working in the shop. My first summer was filled with stocking plumbing fittings, unloading trucks, cutting gas pipe, making deliveries and installing drain tile and sump pumps. I started that summer with little clue of what I would be doing for the rest of my life and finished it knowing in my heart what I was going to do for a career. I fell in love with construction, and that band of 12 plumbers I met that summer became my first work family. Over the next seven summers and a few college semesters, I had long reunions with my first work family and built many fond memories of my time as a residential plumber.
After graduation from college with a civil engineering degree, I kept with my first job love and stayed in construction, specifically the world of commercial construction management. I worked in Chicago for a general contractor that did primarily plan and spec work for public entities (Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools, Airport Authority, etc.). The training in the fundamentals of construction management there was top notch, but the business side of doing that kind of work in that plan and spec hard bid project delivery model never seemed to be a great fit for me personally. I knew there had to be a different way.
Enter my second career love — design-build construction. This integrated project delivery method was exactly what I was looking for. A truly collaborative project delivery method in which all stakeholders sit at the same table (much like Thanksgiving) with the same goals in mind – the best project possible for all parties involved. Ever since this transition in work and mindset, I have been adopting, learning, and growing. My work family grew immensely as this newer project delivery method not only included my coworkers and tradesmen and tradeswomen, but also owners, architects, engineers, consultants, subcontractors, and suppliers.
Three years ago, I accepted a position with Lawrence Group as their director of construction services. We bring together not only design and construction but also development, finance and operations team members to provide integrated services for our clients. I believe the capability and flexibility of services we offer allow for the ultimate in project collaboration with owners of all types and needs. The projects we are involved with are truly energizing, and the opportunities are endless.
When thinking about the last three years with Lawrence Group and more specifically our integrated services team, I cannot help but think about all the different project stakeholders that I am now connected with and work alongside with the spirit of true collaboration. During the holidays, I am especially reminded about how thankful I am for this extended work family and am proud to include my coworkers, subcontractors, suppliers, consultants, designers, architects, engineers, owners, financiers, developers, tenants, the trades, and city/county. We are all in the delivery of any particular project together, and it makes sense that we all work collaboratively to get it done successfully. We are all in this together. Warmest wishes to all of you in this holiday season.Scott Zola