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Meet Our Relentless Allies
The Responsibility of Protecting Your Team
Throughout a three-decade career, Balfour Beatty Safety Carpenter “Safety Luis” Torres blends expertise, creative solutions and thoughtful mentorship to build safer jobsites
Every workplace has its unique cast of characters, mainstays that feel as much a part of the company’s culture and structure as the company leadership. Not every workplace, however, can say their company veterans are in the business of saving lives every day. That’s exactly what Balfour Beatty safety professionals like Luis Torres do on jobsites across the country, combining expertise, pride in their work and relationship building to keep workers safe.
Industry-Leading Safety Leadership
Luis is a jobsite safety carpenter, but he’s not just any carpenter. His tenure with Balfour Beatty spans nearly three decades, and in that time, he’s carefully honed his skills as a carpenter and his knack for developing innovative safety solutions. He’s a known quantity on every job – someone so trusted that his teammates have affectionally given him the title “Safety Luis.”
A well-earned title it is. Luis’s handiwork caught the attention of Balfour Beatty Senior Vice President of National Safety, Keith McCoy, on a recent visit to the Alfond Inn project in Winter Park, Florida. On the jobsite, a sprawling 75,000-square-foot addition to the boutique hotel, Luis had constructed a set of temporary elevator guardrails that Keith immediately noted as an exceptional combination of quality and practicality.
“This was first-class work,” Keith says. “I could tell that whoever constructed it took pride in their work. The quality of the temporary enclosure was clearly the work of someone who cares about what they do and the safety of others.”
In this case, the elevator enclosure went above and beyond the standards mandated by OSHA, Balfour Beatty and our construction elevator trade partner in Florida. While providing essential safety protections, it also featured removable sections and stowable netting, allowing different parts of the enclosure to be temporarily moved to suit different loads over the course of the job. On top of that, the entire guardrail structure was both modular and removable, so Luis’s hard work can be re-used on a future elevator thereby creating greater workflow efficiencies and reducing waste.
Luis’s responsibilities as a construction safety carpenter and the responsibilities of his peers on other jobsites don’t end with elevator guardrails and enclosures, of course. Safety carpenters build walkways, guardrails, work platforms, scaffolding and much more, all essential components of making jobsites safer for Balfour Beatty teammates, trade partners and any visitors. Alongside personal protective equipment (PPE) and established safety rules and standards, their work is on the frontlines of construction safety.
Tenured and Trusted
In his decades on construction sites, “Safety Luis” has established himself as someone our workers and trade partners can trust, as evidenced by his tenure, his demand on jobsites and his role which has grown to encompass mentoring Balfour Beatty safety carpenters across the country.
“He’s easily worked on at least a hundred different projects over the years, and his work is truly first-class,” says Jonathan Pearch, project executive. “When Luis is on the job, we know he’s going to anticipate safety needs others may not see, often going above and beyond to provide the safest possible working environment for everyone on the site. He always has the ‘what’ covered and can build anything you ask him to, but when given a task, he thinks about the ‘why’ and finds creative, safe solutions to meet the need.”
It’s only fitting that Luis has also taken his safety sixth sense outside his usual southeast region, guiding and teaching safety carpenters as far afield as jobsites in Texas. On every job, Luis truly cares about the safety of his teammates – he knows what he’s there to do and he takes pride in executing that job with excellence.
Across a career so vast, in terms of both projects and years worked, construction safety standards have naturally changed immensely and for the better, but that accumulation of knowledge is one of Luis’s greatest assets.
“He may have been able to do his job in sneakers and shorts back in the day,” Jonathan jokes, “but there’s no doubt the industry absolutely has changed. Luis has adapted to those changes and, in many ways, pushed us even further toward safer jobsites.”
The vital expertise of Luis and Balfour Beatty safety carpenters everywhere exemplifies Balfour Beatty’s commitment to leading the construction industry in safety.
Foundations of Trust
Whether she is anticipating the needs of trade partners, advocating for marginalized communities or lending a guiding hand to new teammates, Megan Cook-Eichelberger is building relationships to last.
At Balfour Beatty, our people-first culture is engrained in everything we do. From our decision-making to the ways in which we collaborate, we believe that the relationships we form with our clients, industry partners and fellow team members are paramount to everyone’s success. For Megan Cook-Eichelberger, a project manager in Portland, Oregon, relationship building is the key to consistently meeting project goals, producing meaningful results and ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table.
Megan began her career in general contracting eight years ago as a traveling field engineer, but her experience in the industry goes back much further than that. Her father owned a drywall finishing business, so Megan was introduced to jobsite environments at a young age.
While working at her father’s business after high school, Megan not only developed a strong work ethic but also learned the importance of creating a workplace culture grounded in the values of respect and collaboration. “It’s not just the people on your own team,” she says. “Everyone you interact with, from your design team to your clients to your trade partners, plays such an important role in how you show up to work every day.”
Since joining Howard S. Wright (HSW), a Balfour Beatty company, in 2019, Megan has found that building strong relationships allows her to collaborate with her teammates and partners more effectively and navigate conflicts when they inevitably arise. When teams have already established a foundation of trust, she maintains, they feel empowered to bring difficult topics to the table and identify the best solutions for the team and project.
Advocating for Trade Partners
Through these experiences, Megan has developed a deeply personal understanding of the challenges trade partners experience and has become a staunch advocate and ally for their growth and development. She doesn’t consider a project successful unless everyone involved—the project team, clients and trade partners—is satisfied with the results.
Megan is also committed to championing small and local businesses. Through collaborating with minority, women and emerging small businesses (MWESB), she and her teammates help remove barriers to success. The Block 216 project, on which Megan serves as project manager, has presented a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for some local MWESB businesses.
Projects of this size are rare in Portland; the building will total 1.1 million square-feet and construction is slated to span more than four years. Many small and emerging businesses may not have the experience or personnel to successfully execute scopes of this magnitude or complexity. Megan and the team implemented a right-size system to simultaneously meet our diversity, equity and inclusion goals along with the client’s: rather than issuing contracts to a single subcontractor for an entire scope package, the project team asks the partners what scope of work they can take on and allocates portions of the project accordingly. By applying this approach, the Block 216 project team is also stimulating the local economy by providing more jobs to local residents.
In addition to mentoring small businesses, Megan gives back to the women of Balfour Beatty and the greater Portland community. She currently leads her local chapter of the company’s Connecting Women employee affinity group, a role that has allowed her to partner with organizations such as Oregon Tradeswomen and Dress for Success that empower women in the construction industry and beyond.
Throughout her years in the industry, Megan has witnessed changing cultural dynamics that have resulted in a positive trend toward acceptance and inclusion. She considers herself fortunate that during her entire tenure with HSW, she’s always been able to bring her authentic self to the workplace. Megan prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives in hopes that everyone is afforded the same opportunity.
“I’ve learned so much just by showing up,” she maintains. “By listening first, you start to understand what a community needs and how to implement change in a way that is equitable and sustainable over the long-term.”
In addition to building a stronger, more inclusive construction industry, Megan seeks out opportunities to nurture the growth and development of her own teammates. She shares her experiences and lessons she’s learned throughout her career but stresses the importance of innovation.
“Every project has milestones to meet, but I try to remind the team that there are lots of ways to deliver for our client,” Megan asserts. “We always want to look for new solutions and ways to achieve our goals more with greater efficiency and value. It’s important to me that my teammates know that we encourage creative problem-solving.”
Megan’s extensive industry experience helps her mentor fellow teammates, but perhaps her greatest strength is her ability to put herself in others’ shoes. Whether she is anticipating the needs of trade partners, advocating for marginalized communities or lending a guiding hand to new teammates, Megan’s empathy makes her a great champion for others and allows her to lay a strong foundation of trust on which she is building relationships to last.
Michele Cummings builds relationships to last across her local Austin and trade partner communities
At Balfour Beatty, everything we do furthers our strategy of Build to Last. Talking positively, collaborating relentlessly, encouraging constantly, making a difference and valuing everyone are behaviors that ensure we aren’t just building lasting structures—we’re building lasting relationships too. In Austin, Texas, Senior Project Accountant Michele Cummings lives out these behaviors every day through the intentional, inclusive and collaborative ways she advocates for our trade partners, her Balfour Beatty teammates and the community-at-large.
Michele’s path to Balfour Beatty was not traditional; she discovered a love for accounting while climbing the ranks in property management. In 2014, a friend recommended her for a project accountant role at Balfour Beatty and Michele was excited for the opportunity to focus on her passion for accounting full time.
Nine years later, Michele has seen Balfour Beatty’s Austin operations grow and flourish as the community remains one of the fastest-growing cities in America. She has had the opportunity to work on projects that have positively impacted Austin such as the Texas Capitol Complex, the Kendra Scott corporate office and the Austin Independent School District headquarters, among others.
While working on high-impact, high-profile projects keeps Michele’s job exciting, it’s the relationships she has built throughout her tenure with the company that bring her the most fulfillment. From trade partners to coworkers to the greater Austin community, she is always willing to share her expertise to make sure everyone succeeds.
Guiding Trade Partners
As a senior project accountant, one of Michele’s major responsibilities is coordinating billing with subcontractors. In addition to helping ensure our partners receive timely payments, Michele goes above and beyond to answer their questions and serve as a trusted resource on every project.
“We can’t operate without our trade partners,” says Michele. “It’s very important to me that our subcontractors know that we value them and that we have their back. To me, that looks like helping them whenever I can.”
Michele cites communication as a hallmark of her relationships with trade partners. A major part of keeping partners happy, she asserts, is keeping them informed on processes, challenges and delays. Whether she shares good news or bad, Michele recognizes that transparency throughout a project builds trust with our partners.
Beyond her work with our industry partners, Michele is also a mentor and guide for her teammates at Balfour Beatty. As Austin operations continue to grow, Michele takes the initiative of helping new teammates acclimate to our culture, procedures and more.
“I want everyone to feel comfortable here,” she says. “I pride myself on being someone that new team members know they can come to for questions, help and direction.”
Michele’s willingness to share her in-depth understanding of our company values and procedures makes her a leader in Austin, while her warm and inviting nature has helped cultivate a strong culture of respect and mutual care among her teammates. Local leaders know they can rely on Michele to ensure that everyone is working together toward a common goal.
“Michele is a leader in our office in every way,” says Justin Garrett, vice president, central Texas market leader. “From her commitment to support our trade partners and make sure they are successful while working on our projects, to how she helps all of our team members with any questions they may have, to her welcoming smile and positive, can-do attitude with everyone she interacts with, Michele is the very essence of what makes Balfour Beatty a great place to work and do business with.”
Beyond her local teammates, Michele is also part of the national project accounting training team, which helps Balfour Beatty project accountants from coast-to-coast refine and enhance their skills. As one of the only accountants in Austin, Michele relies heavily on her counterparts across the nation to provide guidance and, in turn, she does the same for them.
Advocating for Women
In her spare time, Michele sits on the board of directors for the local Austin chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). NAWIC is a volunteer-based organization that facilitates professional development, community service and mentoring programs for women in the construction industry.
The association focuses on creative networking opportunities for industry professionals as well as cultivating interest in the construction industry for the next generation. Michele is passionate about helping young women develop agency and confidence in their abilities and is a staunch advocate for women in construction and beyond.
“I’m so encouraged and motivated by the women in this industry,” she says. “I don’t ever want women to second guess their knowledge or their confidence.”
Michele embodies Balfour Beatty’s people-first culture in all she does and has the spirit of a Relentless Ally that shines through in her continuous care and inclusion of her partners, coworkers and the community.
Marketing Pro Discovers New Purpose
Summer Boron always counted herself among the lucky ones.
She discovered her passion for construction at an early age, and over the course of nearly two decades, built a name for herself as one of the industry’s top marketing professionals in the Northwest. Even more, she took great pride in the contributions Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty company, made to her community. Whenever Summer happened to drive past a Howard S. Wright project, friends and family patiently awaited her predictable exclamation: “We built that!”
Challenged and creatively fulfilled, Summer couldn’t imagine another career path. That was until her mentor, retired company executive John Bullwinkel, challenged her with a question that stuck like freshly poured cement: “What’s next?”
As time passed, Summer never forgot John’s question. “Were there greater, unexplored ways I could add value?” Summer pondered as she went about business as usual in the pursuit and presentation world.
While developing a new national business acquisition and risk management process, Summer became even more intrigued by the operations side of the business. At the same time, the company’s Portland team was seeking a candidate to oversee its Special Projects Group (SPG). They didn’t have to look far. Local leadership recognized the full breadth of Summer’s potential and offered her the opportunity to step into a project executive role.
Surprise, doubt, curiosity. Summer felt a rush of emotions as she considered the prospect of running projects when her entire career had been built around winning them. But Dan Peyovich, president of the company’s Northwest operations, and Troy Dickson, senior vice president and business unit leader in Oregon, knew she had exactly what it took for success.
And so this once die-hard marketer set out to write an unconventional new chapter in her life’s story. With the unwavering support of Dan, Troy, and the Portland SPG team, Summer dove headfirst into her new role. She quickly came to understand why so many builders gravitate towards this line of work.
“I love the fast pace and constant ebb and flow of SPG projects,” praises Summer. “I come in every day with a plan, and that plan always changes. I’ve learned more in the last year-and-a-half than during my whole career!”
Today, Summer leads a team of 23 who, on average, simultaneously manage the construction of 30 projects. Having grown into a career she never in her wildest imagination dreamed of pursuing, Summer has become a role model for women in the AEC industry.
In 2018, the Daily Journal of Commerce affirmed Summer’s impact, naming her a recipient of the prestigious Women of Vision Award. The program honored 51 women shaping the Pacific Northwest built environment. Although the award was a tremendous honor, Summer cites her proudest moment as receiving a text from one of her teammates that affirmed her contributions to their team, the company, and the industry at large.
“Summer has consistently demonstrated her ability to leverage the strengths of the company and deliver on the best interests of our clients, trade partners, and the communities we serve,” comments Troy Dickson.
Summer is living proof that there is tremendous untapped potential in our industry.
Building a Lasting Legacy
When Jimmy Anderson promised his high school sweetheart that they’d remain in one place their entire lives, he had no idea that he’d pretty quickly have to renege on that pledge. In fact, Jimmy’s storybook construction career has pretty closely approximated his wife’s childhood as an Air Force brat. They’ve lived in four states and the District of Columbia and moved over ten times—all in service to Balfour Beatty and our clients. Jimmy’s 37 years with one company makes him a rare gem in the construction industry. But even more exceptional than Jimmy’s longevity is his unique style as a builder that blends old school discipline with new school dexterity.
To be fair, Jimmy made that vow when he planned to pursue an architecture major at Clemson University. The construction bug soon bit the Chester, South Carolina native, and those who’ve had the opportunity to work with Jimmy since his first days with our Mid-Atlantic estimating team can attest that his passion has never wavered. And that’s really saying something. Ronald Reagan was just beginning his first term as president when Jimmy was hired. Nearly four decades later, Jimmy hasn’t returned to a traditional office setting, but the project executive has built quite a legacy in the field and has no plans on leaving it anytime soon. From office towers and airports to prisons and higher education beacons, Jimmy’s stamp of excellence across the Southeast is as inescapable as the summer humidity in his home state.
“I was raised to place a lot of importance on loyalty,” affirms Jimmy. “I’m still here because of the people, but also because I’ve always felt like I wasn’t another number in a big corporation. Balfour Beatty has treated me very fairly, and I’ve always tried to do the same.”
In many ways, Jimmy is a construction leader of a bygone era—one who can weld or woodwork as well as any trade partner. He began building in an age without computers, creating shop drawings with a parallel bar and draftsman’s pencil. Today, Jimmy has thoroughly embraced the tools and technologies like BIM and virtual reality that have replaced this manual work. “Now, I can assemble details and documents on a computer with my eyes closed,” he brims. But Jimmy hasn’t lost the grit that fueled him as a younger builder, known for routinely putting in 14-hour days, six days a week. “Every project is personal to me,” attests Jimmy, a self-professed perfectionist when it comes to managing his projects. “It’s like my own company, or it’s my own little world,” he remarks.
Jimmy’s tackled some tough ones in his day, too, like renovating seven historic dorms for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Facing unforeseen conditions of buildings originally constructed nearly one-hundred years prior, the team couldn’t see the finish line, much less have confidence they would reach it on time. But Jimmy had enough faith for everyone combined and united the team under a simple slogan, “Believe It.” It became their rallying cry. To Jimmy’s surprise, the entire team arrived at a morning meeting sporting custom t-shirts bearing that mantra underneath his photo. Jimmy’s legendary, handlebar mustache was also prominently featured. “It broke my heart in a good way,” Jimmy reminisces. “It was a motivational thing, and heck, we got it done.” Their picture-perfect finish was a testament to the collective team’s perseverance, certainly, but also to Jimmy’s leadership that turned the tide in their favor.
“No one is more dedicated to a project’s success than Jimmy,” praises Johnny Rankin, executive vice president in Raleigh. “He always goes the extra mile to ensure every project stakeholder is successful. For a guy who has seen it all in this business, he still manages to have fun along the way!"
He’s bringing that same determination and camaraderie to his current project, a 150,000-square-foot Student Union for NC A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. Although Jimmy’s career has been filled with projects of immense complexity, he doesn’t bat an eye in citing this as his most difficult, due to its multifaceted, multidimensional skin coupled with an aggressive schedule. Jimmy has played an integral role in extensive value engineering efforts on this project—the largest built to date on the A&T campus—which underwent two vigorous stages of design modifications. Among the team’s many achievements includes establishing a robust engagement program for A&T students to learn about the project, furthering their real-world knowledge of construction before entering the workforce.
It’s an initiative that goes hand-in-hand with a passion Jimmy’s developed over the last decade—mentoring his younger teammates. “It really hit me how much they learn to do things the way you show them,” reflects Jimmy. “My mom was a schoolteacher her whole life. I reckon I can finally see why she enjoyed it so much.”
Loyalty and leadership—they’re traits that never go out of style. If you look beyond Jimmy’s encyclopedic industry knowledge, beyond his ability to successfully steward a project’s financials, you’ll understand the real impact of a man who’s dedicated his life’s work to a single company in pursuit of a singular goal: excellence. Aristotle once said “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” Jimmy Anderson is living proof that longevity in and of itself doesn’t create a legacy. But a man whose love for and pride in his work shine through everything he does can build a pretty inspirational one. And a man who embodies the message “we’re all in this together” in both word and deed? That’s a legacy that will stand the test of time.
Helping to Pave the Way for Future “LEEDers” in Construction
Kyle Frandsen is a born leader, and he's especially passionate about sharing his knowledge and expertise about sustainability and green construction. His interest in the field was sparked at the University of Florida where he earned his master’s degree in building construction with a sustainability concentration. He also worked for a general contractor on a campus project pursuing LEED® Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council.
In his role as Sustainability project manager for Balfour Beatty in California, Kyle is responsible for implementing the company’s sustainability initiatives through education, direction, and example.
Beyond that, Kyle truly enjoys being counted on for guidance in anything related to this field of study because he believes our business and environmental future depends on it. That’s why when he was asked by the dean of the Construction Management Program at California Baptist University in Riverside, California to help shape the program’s curriculum and courses, he embraced it as an opportunity to help make a difference for the future leaders of tomorrow. The relationship with the university came about through our company’s work on the Lancer Plaza North Renovation project where our Balfour Beatty team is renovating a 30,000-square-foot retail strip center with student support facilities and other community and campus life facilities.
“I was honored to be asked to help mold a program for the university,” said Kyle. “It’s great when you can work in a field that is forward thinking that can have an impact on people’s lives for years to come. Being able to contribute to the actual course content and become an even stronger industry partner for one of our clients is truly a rewarding experience.”
In addition to helping form the curriculum, Kyle was asked to teach one of the courses he helped to create: “Evolving Technologies in Construction.” Kyle challenges his students to learn the latest innovations in the field and also makes sure that all students leave with something tangible — LEED Green Associate credential. All students must pass the LEED Green Associate exam in order to pass the course. Last year, 100% of Kyle’s 16 students passed with flying colors, and now they all have a leg-up in their future careers in sustainable construction.
Recently, Kyle joined an elite group of young professionals when Engineering News-Record (ENR) California named him as one of their Top 20 Under 40 winners in 2016. The publication's annual, regional competition recognizes 20 individuals under the age of 40 who represent the "Best-of-the-Best" in their construction and design careers by giving back to their industry and communities.
Kyle also practices what he preaches at home with his wife and two young children. Solar panels are installed on his roof, recycle bins are in his kitchen and garage, and he is instilling an importance of resource conservation in everything they do together as a family.
A Career on Track
A career in railroad engineering “came and got” Will Pfeffer, and ever since he’s been holding on for the amazing ride. Ten years ago, Will made the transition from a construction engineer with a desire to put up buildings to a rail engineer with a passion for laying down tracks.
“I never thought of building a career in rail,” admits Will, now a senior project manager on Balfour Beatty’s Metrolink project in Southern California. “But when a college friend who worked at Balfour Beatty told me about what the company did, I was excited about the opportunity.”
Now Will does not want to work anywhere else. As a member of Balfour Beatty’s rail team, he’s found a home in the work, the people and the clients, and he enjoys his role in providing vital transportation to the Southern California community.
Will is working on Metrolink’s on-call installation contract, which has been in place since 2009 and has fulfilled approximately 250 task orders for a variety of improvements along the rail line. He is currently helping to perform speed improvements at the Burbank junction. Will and his colleagues are delivering this project to implement the early stages of high-speed rail to California.
Will’s introduction to construction came at a young age. He visited jobsites with his father, a building inspector, and construction sites were his “playground” of choice. Before long, he was hanging drywall with his dad and learning the trade.
“I always admired and respected the work,” he says, “but I knew it was a hard, physical job. I decided to pursue a different side of the business and studied engineering in college.”
With his bachelor’s degree in construction engineering technology from California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly), Will worked as a project engineer for a construction services firm and a pipeline company in California and even took his talents to the building of a church school in Tijuana, Mexico, as a project manager.
Then Balfour Beatty and a different kind of engineering job came calling.
The Allure of Rail
Will says he knew very little about rail when he started as a project engineer but found this aspect of the construction industry fascinating. Because rail is a highly specialized field, most college and university curriculums do not cover the required skills. Therefore, those with rail experience are highly valued for their abilities.
“Rail is an important part of Balfour Beatty’s business, because it’s important for our nation,” Will says.
As the pandemic and subsequent supply shortages have brought to light, our nation’s economy is reliant on rail for the delivery of goods. It’s also critical for public transportation, especially in large metropolitan areas where many essential workers rely on it.
The country needs companies with our technical expertise, and Balfour Beatty, as Will sees it, has a big advantage through the value our teams offer through self-performing civils work.
The Allure of Balfour Beatty
Because our rail team both builds and maintains rail systems with minimal subcontracting, the crews hone their expertise on every project. This applies to Will’s career, too, and he attributes that to Balfour Beatty’s people-first culture.
Through a variety of Metrolink projects, Will has grown his expertise in the many moving parts of a rail system. Over his past 10 years at Balfour Beatty, Will has worked on more than 22 different projects, including the San Clemente audible warning system, the Los Angeles 6th street signal relocation, several crossing upgrades up and down the Metrolink line, the Empire Avenue/I-5 widening project, installation of a new control point for 4th Street in Santa Ana and the Los Angeles Union Station rail yard modernization.
With every assignment, Will says, the company has provided him with a new challenge and an opportunity to grow, learn and get involved, moving his career ever forward.
Aside from his own continual professional growth, there is another reason Will is staying on the Balfour Beatty train. Will appreciates the exceptional service experience we provide our clients, and he values the process of developing those strong customer relationships. The ultimate reward? Receiving comments from our client’s representatives that they like working with Balfour Beatty because of our flexibility and positivity.
The Next Stop
Since Will’s entrée into rail in 2012, he has loved coming to work for different reasons along the journey. In the beginning, it was the enjoyment of learning highly technical systems and becoming an expert on the rail systems we build.
Now, it’s being part of those “ah ha” moments for others who are joining him in the field. “I love seeing the hunger in other people for learning and growing,” he acknowledges. That’s why, after going back to Cal Poly to earn an MBA in 2020, he became a teacher himself. Will has been an adjunct professor at his alma mater during the past year, teaching construction management courses in the civil engineering program.
Will’s favorite professors were full-time industry professionals. So, after serving as a coach for several Cal Poly competitive construction teams, Will observed how becoming a teacher offers yet another way to be a Relentless Ally for Balfour Beatty and the rail industry.
Will often sees himself in the students in his classroom, as well as the young engineers joining the Metrolink team. He relishes sharing his experiences—both successes and lessons learned—to give them a better understanding of the working world.
As a young father, Will knows the importance of inspiring the next generation. By keeping an open mind when unconventional opportunities come their way, they might not only change the course of their lives but also truly enjoy the ride.
Putting the Quality in Quality Control
As someone who grew up working with his father and uncle on different build and repair jobs, Balfour Beatty Quality Assurance/Quality Control Director Terry Marsh always enjoyed working with his hands. Given his natural abilities, construction may have seemed an obvious career path, but in his earlier years, Terry was more interested in becoming a pilot.
Fresh out of high school and only a mere 17-years-old, Terry was eager to launch his career. As part of his job search, Terry took a leap and responded to an ad for an electrical superintendent position. The only catch was, at such a young age, he didn’t have any of the necessary background for it. Little did Terry know at the time, taking that small leap would set him up for a successful 30-year career in the construction industry.
When asked why he applied to a role for which he didn't initially meet the qualifications, Terry explained that he wanted to learn the trade and simply needed the right opportunity to get his foot in the door. From there, the leap didn't seem so far off. "The owner apparently liked my drive and hired me immediately," recalls Terry.
Terry was a natural fit for the construction industry, easily surpassing most of his peers and quickly obtaining his master's electrician license. After Terry worked alongside Balfour Beatty on several projects, our team quickly recognized his potential and offered Terry a full-time position in 1991. It was a move that established the foundation for Terry’s career as a highly esteemed quality control expert.
Working with teams in Nashville, Tennessee and later, Dallas, Terry quickly rose through the ranks and honed his craft in quality control. Praised by teammates for his attention to detail, drive for excellence and unrivaled knowledge of building systems, Terry has built a reputation for significantly improving the quality of every project he touches.
In his role, Terry provides critical recommendations to improve processes and mitigate risks or adverse trends that have the potential to impact the successful delivery of best-in-class projects. Through consistent and accurate execution of quality control procedures including reviewing installations and assisting teams in improving their execution of installations and systems, Terry is a consummate Relentless Ally for our people, partners and projects.
Providing the foundation of a successful and safe project, effective quality control programs can mitigate the likelihood of costly rework and associated schedule delays, promote greater collaboration between trade partners and resolve design challenges that arise as projects progress. Balfour Beatty’s quality control plans are founded on delivering the owner’s vision and goals and empowering trade partners to execute quality work in rewarding team environments.
“My goal is to help our project teams succeed through consistent and accurate execution of quality control procedures," says Terry. "Safety, quality and schedule are the foundation of a successful project. When I step on a project where it is evident that everyone cares about safety, it is always well-organized and clean. It is obvious at that point that everyone there is proud of what they do, they enjoy their work and they place a high degree of importance on getting things right."
Preferring to keep his boots on the ground, Terry makes it a priority to visit as many jobsites as he can. And although he might seem like more of a behind-the-scenes operator, over the last 30 years of working with our business, Terry has played an integral role in hundreds of projects across the Southeast and Texas.
Terry’s influence far transcends the projects on which he has directly worked. When Balfour Beatty launched a new national Quality Control program in the early 2000s, Terry was a key contributor to the initiative. He also had a hand in our most recent development of an Integrated Quality Control plan launched in 2020, an innovative approach to quality control that incorporates project stakeholders’ expectations into our jobsite specific plans. Before construction begins, project teams obtain input from trade partners, owners and designers to build a plan that holistically incorporates every concern and expectation. This process builds on itself in bitesize pieces throughout the project lifecycle instead of creating a partially complete quality control plan at the beginning when pressure is high to complete design and begin construction.
On a more personal level, Terry is known by his peers for being a natural teacher and mentor. Willing and able to make his technical expertise easily understandable for a wide range of skill levels, Terry’s extensive knowledge and research often helps teams discover and implement innovative solutions before they become problems.
"What struck me most the very first time I met Terry, that still rings true today, is his ability to share knowledge with others without being overbearing while doing it," says Titus Rodriguez, senior project manager for Balfour Beatty. "In my 20 years with the company, Terry has never failed to provide assistance when called upon, which is an invaluable asset to his teammates."
That trust isn’t just one-sided.
“Three decades is a long time to spend with one company,” says Terry. “But the people and the relationships I’ve built over the last 30 years have truly been the best part about working at Balfour Beatty. I trust my teammates and our leadership to always make the right decisions based on what is best for the business to thrive.”
After successfully celebrating 30 years with Balfour Beatty, it’s hard to believe that Terry could have ever ended up in any career other than construction and quality control. But much like the pilot he once yearned to be, he has used his knowledge, training and natural skills to help our project teams soar to new heights at every opportunity.
Setting the Bar with Intentional Leadership
The sound of project executive, Taylor Bredow, walking the halls of jobsites across the Carolinas is one that those who work with him know well. His heels hit heavy with intention and purpose as he leads the Carolinas Special Projects Group—counting every square foot he’s built along the way.
But Taylor’s intentional leadership and integral role within Balfour Beatty’s Special Projects Group stems from more than the critical eye he’s utilized to track and manage upwards of 1,350,000 square feet of construction. Taylor’s dedication to his craft is founded upon the principles of providing Balfour Beatty’s clients with an individualized approach and demonstrating servant leadership—within Balfour Beatty and the communities in which we live and build.
From bustling financial businesses to the architectural offices of the RedLine Design Group or the marble lobby floors of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, Taylor has been a trailblazer throughout his career. With over a decade of tenure in the business, he’s contributed to a variety of projects that require highly specialized approaches and custom project solutions from design to preconstruction and final close-out.
While the market sectors Taylor oversees may be diverse, one characteristic is common: clients often depend on Balfour Beatty to deliver projects on accelerated schedules, thereby ensuring minimal disruption to their operations, employees and customers. To meet his clients’ unique needs, Taylor seeks to gain an in-depth understanding of their project and business priorities which empowers him to make timely yet well-informed decisions on critical issues such as material selection—an increasingly complex issue in a time of unprecedented inflationary pressures and supply chain disruption.
“Working with the Special Projects Group is unique, because every day on every project is always different,” explains Taylor. “We work on tight timelines, and our roles often require us to quickly shift direction and evaluate our time and priorities on each project. Our teams are typically much smaller than those working on larger projects and therefore demand that we wear many hats outside of what our technical roles may traditionally encompass.”
In recent years, Taylor’s unique skillset has been instrumental in helping establish Balfour Beatty as a premier legal upfit builder. His precision has helped our team ‘set the bar’ for operational excellence in this market and contributed to significant project wins and deliveries including the new, award-winning Parker Poe Charlotte Headquarters and the recently completed Cadwalader, Wickersham, and Taft law offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through strategic guidance on material selection and collaboration with design partners, Taylor has helped bring an aura of sophistication and inviting ambiances to law offices across the Carolinas.
However, what makes Taylor an intentional leader is more than the technical skillsets he brings to the table; Taylor also provides his teams with valuable mentorship as they build their careers in construction.
“Taylor is inclusive by nature and is always willing to teach anyone about the industry,” adds Michael Smith, Balfour Beatty assistant project manager. “He involves anyone interested, even if it is just to observe. He has helped me understand the importance of being a strong leader within the company and on the jobsite.”
And his dedication to the industry extends beyond his teams and jobsites. As a valued member of the ACE (architecture, construction and engineering) Mentor program for nearly a decade, Taylor also understands the importance of volunteering with local programs like ACE to help develop the future generation of builders and introduce students at a young age to the exciting careers in construction.
For six years, Taylor served as the lead mentor for ACE at East Mecklenburg High School, part of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools system. Because of his dedication to service, the ACE Board of Directors named Taylor their 2017 Mentor of the Year, and in 2020, appointed him to the Charlotte ACE Board of Directors, where he now thrives as their valued program treasurer.
Those who know Taylor and have the pleasure of working with him will say that they look to him primarily because of his deep understanding of his personal strengths, areas for growth and motivations. Never one to shy away from self-reflection, Taylor is on a mission to hone his operational and leadership skills by modeling best practices he learned from the leaders at Balfour Beatty who came before him.
“Very early in his career, it was apparent to those who crossed Taylor’s path that he was driven to learn the business and build authentic and lasting relationships with his peers in the industry,” says Hunt Werner, Balfour Beatty operations director and an early mentor in Taylor’s career. “Taylor’s passion for perfection, eye for design, genuine guidance and intentional actions have made him the outstanding leader he is today.”
A rising young leader, Taylor is building up much more than just an impressive list of projects that encompass upwards of 1,350,000 square feet of best-in-class spaces; he’s developing, earning and refining a legacy that will ensure the success of his projects and teams for decades to come.
Going the Extra Mile
A champion for his clients and a leader to his team, Senior Project Manager Shane Connolly consistently delivers operational and service excellence with passion and drive no matter the situation.
To understand where Shane’s passion originated, you need first rewind to a small town in western New York state. The son of a contractor, Shane’s appreciation for quality construction began while watching his father execute work with a dedication to excellence. Following in the footsteps set before him, Shane donned his first hard hat at an early age and found that it was just the right fit.
Specializing in interiors construction, Shane works in Balfour Beatty’s Charlotte, North Carolina Special Projects Group–a dedicated team of fast-track delivery specialists who execute projects of all scopes and sizes. From high-end interiors to hospitality establishments, Shane’s portfolio of work is as diverse as they come, but one quality is a mainstay: service excellence.
Shane’s most challenging project to date, the Ballantyne Theater Conversion, is one that has influenced the way he tackles projects to this day. The interior demolition of a 55,000-square-foot, five-theater movie plex into corporate office space involved unique scopes of work and endless opportunities for the team to leverage new tools such as harnessing the power of robotics to demolish the existing theater seating. Under Shane’s leadership, the team eagerly leaned into new challenges and demonstrated how Balfour Beatty delivers industry-leading quality and value for our clients and partners.
Due to the novel challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Ballantyne Theater Conversion project required the team to identify and implement innovative solutions to material lead time delays and labor shortages.
To overcome these difficulties, Shane and his teammates remained agile, adapting to ever-changing market conditions and ultimately delivering the project on time, within budget, and most importantly, to the owner’s delight.
The Ballantyne Theater’s owner, Daniel Amodio, praised, “Our entire team was very satisfied with Balfour Beatty and the work they performed on our behalf at Ballantyne Village. Not only did they understand the complexities and execute our vision for the property, but they also effectively managed the project during a time of global uncertainty, adapting to the new environment without losing a step.”
Shane is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure a successful project delivery – or 500! When his South Carolina lakefront restaurant project, Drift, experienced a large steel delay, which could have ultimately delayed its completion by several months, Shane quickly identified a solution that unexpectedly found him on the long road home.
Although a steel manufacturer in New York was able to supply the needed materials, due to widespread shipping delays, an in-person pick-up was the only option to keep the project on schedule. Nineteen hours after loading up his truck and trailer, Shane delivered the steel to the jobsite, demonstrating once again the difference between a good and great builder.
“In the professional world, it can be such a rarity to work under a leader like Shane who is so even-tempered, knowledgeable and who consistently guides with excellence by example,” says Megan Pearson, senior project engineer, who works under Shane’s direction with Balfour Beatty. “If Shane asks me to jump, I ask, ‘How high?’ without hesitation, because I know there is nothing he asks me to do for the team or clients that he wouldn’t do himself.”
From tackling unique scopes of work to overcoming material delays and shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Shane continuously proves himself as a dedicated partner to his clients and mentor to a future of builders who are willing to go the extra mile.
Make Every Moment Count
Safety, Health and Environment Director Ryan Little recalls a life-changing conversation that forever impacted his approach to Zero Harm
Do you remember where you were around noon on Saturday April 28, 2007? Were you eating lunch, playing golf or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the park with your children? That day may be a distant memory for most, but fourteen years later, I can still recall every detail because it fundamentally changed me as a safety professional. It changed me as a person. And it reinforced my view of our responsibility to ensure safety is within everyone’s reach – on every task, every day, on every jobsite.
At the time, I was working for another major general contractor on a high-rise project in Miami, Florida. Before I joined the team, the project had already gone wrong in almost every way a project can. Significant and ongoing staffing turnover led to poor management, catastrophic schedule delays and communication breakdowns such as the mass overstocking of drywall. With a booming local economy, second-tier trades were pressed to meet aggressive production targets on advanced scopes. We even dismantled the first tower crane as a hurricane was approaching. This project had nearly every risk factor for a serious safety incident.
But we never expected that on April 28, someone would lose their life on our jobsite. A 26-year-old young man from Nicaragua fell 90 feet to his death while moving some of the building’s extra drywall onto an outrigger. This tragedy was entirely preventable—the result of a series of unsafe choices, an acceptance of unnecessary risk and a toxic ‘rip and react’ project culture that failed to address either dangerous dynamic.
But before I explain the technical circumstances that led to this young man’s death, I’d like to set the stage for the challenges our workforce faces and why I immediately recognized that I could have done more to ensure safety was within his reach.
This young man was being paid $.25 cents for each board of 70-pound drywall he moved. It was physically demanding, repetitive and production-driven work. Every night, he went home to a one-room extended stay motel that he shared with six brothers and sisters.
When I was notified about the fatality, I remembered riding up an elevator with that young man earlier the same day. As I went through a roller coaster of emotions, I replayed every moment of the interaction in my mind. After a quick PPE check, I asked him to put on his eye protection in my best Spanish. With a smile and a nod, he did just as I’d asked. But I didn’t check for his orientation sticker or verify what task he was working on. I didn’t engage him in a personal conversation. By not maximizing that moment, I felt I had failed him.
When I spoke to his mother just a few hours later, that missed opportunity flashed before my eyes. She asked me a haunting question no parent should ever have to ask and no safety professional ever wants to answer: “Why did you let my son die on your jobsite?”
I could have told her that the outrigger subcontractor had gone to lunch, leaving the system unmonitored. I could have told her that his crew grabbed some unattended harnesses they hadn’t been trained to use and loaded boards onto an outrigger they weren’t authorized to work on. Or that they’d removed their retractables, so when the load on the outrigger shifted, they had no adequate fall restraint measures in place. But none of those responses would have brought her any comfort, and none would have brought her son back. They didn’t bring me any comfort either.
We owe the people who work on our projects more than leaving their lives to luck or chance, but far too often in this industry, we believe we are safe when we just got lucky. Or, we assume that people will make safe choices because we think they seem like common sense. But that’s not always the case. Yes, these young men made misguided and unsafe choices, but their only motive was to get a job done to provide for their families. No one sets out on any given workday with the intent of getting hurt.
This tragedy reminded me that safety isn’t about a sign or a rule. Rules are important and help save countless lives on jobsites every day, but those measures don’t work in isolation.
Safety must be an authentic value we live and operate by every single day. To make safety within everyone’s reach, we must engage in personal conversations with our trade partners and take the time to examine our work through the eyes of the people performing it. By forming meaningful, authentic relationships, we can empower people to make safety, quality and production so deeply ingrained into their everyday operations that it’s as routine as putting on a seatbelt. They also need to understand it’s their right and responsibility to speak up if they see something unsafe.
At its core, safety is rooted in trust—trust our workforce places in us to create safe jobsites, trust they place in one another to make safe choices and trust that everyone operates with one another’s best interests at heart.
In the wake of any safety incident, there are always difficult questions to answer. Some questions, like the one the young man’s mother posed to me, can’t be answered because there are no do-overs. To honor his memory, challenge yourself today to honestly evaluate whether you embody the leadership, courage and commitment to make safety within everyone’s reach on your team, jobsite or office environment.
Don’t let a single ‘elevator moment’ pass you by.
Architect by trade, Rudy spent the first 20 years of his career in architectural and engineering design followed by five years in construction administration. When working on the Lincoln High School Renovation, he was invited to join D.E. Barnhart, Inc. (General Contractor of the project) in 2008, teaming up with a group of enthusiastic construction and design experts to form what later became the VDC/BIM Department in the Barnhart San Diego Headquarters (eventually acquired by Balfour Beatty).
This team has evolved significantly since its beginnings; very talented professionals have joined the ranks and Rudy has mentored most of them, proudly winning an International BIM Award in 2015 for the “Best BIM Application in Education” category, sponsored by buildingSMART. The following year, the team brought back another award in a different BIM category from the same organizers.
As an award-winning BIM expert, Rudy travels whenever possible to continue learning and educating others about advancements in construction technology. Currently, as senior BIM manager on the LAX Automated People Mover (APM), Rudy leads the Virtual Design and Construction effort of the five APM stations and the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF).
Though his love for art and building design remains, the satisfaction of watching a building go all the way to completion led him to his first job in construction administration, in Palm Springs, CA and later, in San Diego, CA where he found more opportunities, including the chance to join the Balfour Beatty family.
When he joined Balfour Beatty in 2008, Rudy was one of few professionals in the industry with expertise using BIM, which landed him the opportunity to assemble the BIM team in the San Diego office.
“Twelve years ago, there was virtually no one with expertise in BIM in the AEC industry,” Rudy explains. “The constant evolution of technology is pushing companies to be more aware of the trend and its value in construction.”
A passionate leader and BIM expert, Rudy dedicates his time practicing and advancing his craft, mentoring his team and staying abreast of new developments in construction technology.
Rudy’s commitment to his Mexican heritage is another contribution that doesn’t go unnoticed at Balfour Beatty.
As a Mexican native, Rudy’s language of origin is Spanish, and he generously assists the Balfour Beatty communications team with Spanish translations for a number of construction-related communications.
One of the main subjects for translation is Zero Harm communications, to ensure that everyone is always safe on all Balfour Beatty projects. Rudy regularly volunteers to ensure our Zero Harm messages are clearly communicated and comprehended by Spanish-speaking staff.
“To me safety is extremely important,” Rudy explains. “I've lost coworkers due to unsafe working conditions and I find it important that people understand how a safe practice on the jobsite can save lives.”
Rudy attributes his work ethic and willingness to go above and beyond to his Hispanic roots and values.
“I came to this country in 1986, and like many others, I came looking for better opportunities in life,” Rudy proudly explains. “I am grateful for the values of hard work and integrity my heritage instilled in me.”
And Balfour Beatty is grateful to Rudy for going above and beyond to serve our clients and ensure the safety of all Balfour Beatty teammates and partners.
Ronnie Hall, Jr.
Building a Stronger Savannah
There’s an old saying: you can’t go home again, meaning that even if you try to return to a place from your past, it won’t be the same as when you left it. Ronnie Hall has never moved from his hometown of Savannah, Georgia, yet that old saying still rings true due to the massive amount of change Ronnie has seen in the city throughout his life.
Today, he uses his 20 years of local construction experience and first-hand knowledge of the town that built him to build a stronger, safer, and sustainable Savannah. As the local market leader for Balfour Beatty’s recently established Savannah office, Ronnie is keeping trade partnerships local, assembling a diverse team of talented builders, and positioning our team as a key player in the growth of his hometown.
Breaking into Savannah
Amid Savannah’s population and economic growth, Ronnie has been instrumental in establishing Balfour Beatty as a trusted community partner and general contractor of choice that is prepared to meet every size and scope of Savannah’s building needs.
Despite the exciting growth it has experienced over the last several years, the city still operates with the familiarity and camaraderie of a small town. Project owners prioritize strong relationships built on mutual trust, and historically, smaller and mid-size contractors have maintained a more significant presence in the area. Due to Savannah’s close-knit community, contractors that have attempted to enter the market from different geographies have experienced difficulty.
Ronnie is determined to help Balfour Beatty break that pattern. By taking a highly localized approach and establishing collaborative relationships with Savannah-based trade partners, Ronnie looks to weave the company into the fabric of the community.
“I’m very deliberate about partnering with the local businesses that drive our community and economy,” Ronnie says. “It starts with a relationship. Our trade partners want to interact with our team members personally, so we put a lot of effort into developing those relationships.”
During the Thompson Savannah Hotel project, Ronnie (then the senior project manager on the job) discovered that the concrete and drywall trades had not previously worked on a project of similar magnitude. Rather than outsourcing the work to non-local trades, Ronnie made the conscious choice to go the extra mile and mentor these valued partners to make the project a learning experience for all.
“We worked to identify any growth points on their side and ours and made sure we addressed them thoroughly. We maintained continuous lines of communication to ensure we delivered the highest quality work for our client,” Ronnie says.
As a testament to their success, the concrete trade partner completed their scope three weeks ahead of schedule, and the drywall partner consistently met or exceeded deadlines. Ultimately, the team completed the project on schedule, and the experience set a precedent of the return on investment for this level of collaboration.
Moving forward, Balfour Beatty plans to continue investing in the local trade community. “We’ve set a goal of making sure the smaller, local partners are growing,” Ronnie says. “We want to help give them the chance to take their business to the next level while also growing ours.”
Developing these strong local trade relationships requires investment, and Ronnie is committed to showing the construction industry the numerous benefits of these partnerships. He’s never shied away from putting in the extra time and work to facilitate growth.
A Lineage of Hard Work
From the time he was born, Ronnie was surrounded by numerous examples of how a strong work ethic can make all the difference. Growing up, he and his siblings watched their father work 16-hour days and still make it to their peewee football and baseball games on the weekend. His grandparents and great-grandparents were farmers, spending their whole lives tilling and harvesting crops from the rich Georgia soil.
By the time he reached high school and began working for his uncle’s general contracting business, Ronnie had discovered his professional calling which just so happened to continue his family’s legacy of working the land: construction.
Today, Ronnie takes inspiration from his deep Georgia roots to pave the way at Balfour Beatty’s Savannah office. Easy Street is nowhere on his route; Ronnie is committed to providing exceptional work while ensuring he does what’s best for Balfour Beatty and local businesses.
As Ronnie helps expand Balfour Beatty’s Savannah operations, he emphasizes the need to ensure that his teammates come from diverse backgrounds and share the company’s vision and values. Because the team’s footprint spans multiple market sectors from education to hospitality, healthcare, housing, special projects, and more, Ronnie has strategically assembled a team that possesses a variety of skill sets and perspectives to provide industry-leading project solutions that effectively deliver our clients’ unique visions. Furthermore, Ronnie works to create a culture of inclusion in which all members of the team can voice their opinions openly and honestly.
“When I was growing up in the industry, the culture was more focused on ‘hard’ or technical skills. Now, we recognize the need to ensure our teammates have effective ‘soft skills’—especially the ability to build relationships,” Ronnie says. “We’ve been very deliberate about hiring the right talent. We’ve brought together a group of very talented individuals who are excited to be involved in our growth, passionate about providing excellent service to our clients, and adept at building relationships with our industry partners.”
With this personal approach to developing his team, Ronnie hopes to make his staff feel safe and supported—but that mindset doesn’t stop at the office doors. By engaging in conversations about the future of Savannah and volunteering with key community organizations, Ronnie demonstrates a dedication to people that extends beyond the projects Balfour Beatty builds.
Strengthening the Community — Today and Tomorrow
As more major companies recognize the appeal of Savannah, Ronnie has been instrumental in helping community leaders anticipate the building needs of a growing city. With an influx of new residents comes the need for new schools, more housing options, additional corporate office space and so much more. Balfour Beatty has the experience and expertise to fulfill these needs, and Ronnie and his team are excited to be involved in the growth of the community.
Amid conversations about the future of Savannah, Ronnie is also involved in several organizations making an impact on current residents. Through work with the Home Builders Institute, Ronnie assists with a specialized trades training program for transitioning military personnel returning to civilian life. He fundraises to make wishes come through for children facing critical illnesses through Make-A-Wish® Georgia. He volunteers with Heads-Up Guidance Services, an organization that provides behavioral health counseling to under-served populations. Ronnie’s passion for making Savannah a better place for all its residents makes him a true relentless ally for his community.
That old saying may be true—maybe you really can’t go home again. Change is the only constant in life, after all. But Ronnie is living proof that growth through change doesn’t just benefit the individual, but the whole community. And that home, even if it looks different than it used to, is really where the heart is after all.
Dependable, Devoted Dream-Builder Makes His Mark in the Mid-Atlantic
Sean Graham’s potential to emerge as an industry star has been apparent throughout his entire 13-year construction career, as he quickly rose through the ranks from project engineer to senior project manager. During this time, he has contributed to some of the Mid-Atlantic team’s premier projects, including the $856.9M Walter Reed National Military Medical Center expansion and renovation as well as the 561,000-square-foot, Class A Republic Square office building. But even more notably, Sean has demonstrated an innate ability to lead, solve problems quickly and build solid relationships with clients — reflecting the qualities of a true Relentless Ally.
A quiet achiever, Sean lets his project execution speak for itself, and the noise is deafening. Balfour Beatty receives consistent positive feedback from a repeat client, which once offered to fund Sean’s bonus as a token of appreciation. After teaming with Sean on the 220 Twentieth Street project, Paul Sowter, now senior vice president at Fivesquares Development, praised his “hard work and detailed knowledge of the project.”
According to his teammates, Sean’s success lies in his diligent and proactive approach to operational leadership. Balfour Beatty executive vice president, David Laib, expressed that he finds ‘comfort’ working with Sean, because he “simply takes care of business as efficiently and effectively as anyone I know.” In addition to his passionate drive to overcome obstacles, Sean is equally skilled at avoiding them. Sean has closely aligned himself with Balfour Beatty’s Zero Harm safety policy, drawing praise for the personal accountability he takes in reducing risk on his jobs and by inspiring others to do the same. By consistently taking the initiative to ensure his projects are not only utilizing existing procedures but also implementing the most beneficial new processes, Sean has become a trusted steward of his clients’ dreams who is respected by peers and partners alike.
As Sean has grown throughout his career, he has honed his natural gifts and talents through hands-on experience with some of the most signature construction projects in the Mid-Atlantic region. Those who work alongside Sean will surely agree with the following observation made by Stephen B. Kalthoff, vice president at JBG Smith, “With his fantastic memory, calm demeanor, eye for detail and excellent architectural skills, Sean is at the top of his class.” And there’s nowhere to go but up.
Knox Tate has been building Charlotte from the inside-out for 50 years. His favorite project? Not what you’d think.
We live in a time of experts. Whether it’s how to change the cracked screen on your cell phone, how to poach an egg, or how to master the chords of a guitar, access to information and knowledge is as quick as 100 megabits per second. Developing an expertise has become as simple as click-clack-search. With a few tutorial videos under our belts and an equal share of trial and error, we label ourselves experts of any and everything. Stacking cups, throwing frisbees, organizing the kitchen junk drawer? There’s an expert for each. The problem with such instant access to everything expert? We’ve lost sight of one of the main ingredients in the recipe of expertise—experience. No number of videos, message boards or incessant ‘Googling’ can hold the same powerful effect as time.
A connoisseur of his craft, senior project manager, Knox Tate, is an interiors expert who has earned his stripes over the course of fifty years. After five decades in the construction industry, to say he’s seen it all is an understatement. Since joining the workforce there have been seven different Presidents, twenty-one Olympic games, more than twenty-two billion Big Mac’s sold, and the population of Tate’s beloved hometown of Charlotte—more than tripled!
When it comes to construction, he’s been there, done that, seen it, fixed it, tore it down, built it up and lived to tell the tales. Those stories, and the relationships that lay at their core, are all as fresh in Tate’s mind as the day the work began, each experience serving as a key to open the next door. The list of projects credited to his name is long and diverse, including clients from industries such as finance, legal, communications, recreation, hospitality, healthcare and infrastructure.
Joining RT Dooley Construction in 1978, Knox was challenged by President, Tom Dooley, to champion the interiors business, and champion he did. Over the years Knox singlehandedly established the interiors program for corporate giant, Bank of America, and built an impressive resume including many of the landmark corporate headquarters projects in the area for clients such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goodrich, and many more. He would go on to become a partner at RT Dooley prior to the firm’s 2008 acquisition by Balfour Beatty. To date his placement in the expert category is bolstered by a resume overflowing with heavy hitters and world class clients such as Barings, Duke Energy, Ritz-Carlton and Grant Thornton. While many people admire Uptown Charlotte from the outside looking in, Knox Tate has filled his career by being on the inside, looking out. From the “jukebox” Hearst Tower to the towering “Taj McColl” Bank of America Corporate Center, the dark Charlotte Plaza to the bright 300 South Tryon; if it’s in Center City, Knox Tate has likely been at the center of bringing the interior to life.
Throughout his career, Tate has thrived through more than one tectonic change in the industry, be it the invention and introduction of pagers, mobile phones and computers, or the more recent futuristic ventures into virtual reality and drones, he is not one to resist change, but to embrace it and apply it. He cites flexibility as one of the keys to being successful on any project. When it comes down to it, no project is perfect from beginning to end, but the reaction to challenges and changes is what defines the service excellence he strives to deliver.
As our in-house interiors expert, Tate is a wealth of knowledge and proficiency, reminiscing and reteaching the lessons he’s learned throughout his tenure to those who work alongside him. He’s not just teaching the next generation of builders how to do the hard work, he’s teaching them the mentality it takes to do it better than everyone else. With a tone equal parts proud and self-aware Tate affirms, “We’re the experts, the minute we forget that, we accept mediocrity” something he avoids through the persistent practice of treating every project like it was his own property. This methodology is what has led to a 90% repeat client rate for the Balfour Beatty interiors team; a figure attributed greatly to Tate, and one he humbly credits to his teammates. Those teammates have taken the top spot when Tate reflects back on his project filled career. Developing the next generation of great builders is the passion project that keeps him inspired, engaged and invested.
One might suggest that a man with a legacy five decades in the making could take his foot off the pedal and settle into cruise control, but Tate isn’t slowing down just yet. When he makes the loop around Uptown Charlotte, Knox Tate looks in and reflects on fifty years of growth, of himself, and of the only city he has ever called home. Today, he is as committed as ever before to being a part of Charlotte’s changing landscape and shares, “As long as there remains an opportunity for me to give back, I’ll continue to do what I do.” A mainstay in the Charlotte community, there are few people as deeply-rooted in the evolution of the Queen City as Knox Tate.
Husband to wife Jayne of 33 years, father to sons Tripp and Andy, and grandfather to four littles, Knox Tate is our sharp-shooting, quick-witted, interiors expert and Relentless Ally.
The 45-minute drive to and from the office each day is quite possibly the most consistent part of Kendal Patterson’s workday. No two days on the job have looked the same, and with a tenure spanning a quarter of a century, that speaks to his resilient attitude and flexible demeanor.
Hired at RT Dooley (acquired by Balfour Beatty in 2009) in May of 1992, Kendal began his career in construction as a laborer in the field. His first job, a renovation and expansion project at Vista Bakery in Columbia, SC, was just the first of more than 55 projects across the Carolinas. From the biggest and most notable towers in Uptown, to the smallest, behind-the-scenes tasks in the office, Kendal is absolutely the oil that keeps the Balfour Beatty machine running.
After a decade as a laborer, Kendal was offered the position of dump truck driver. Despite not knowing how to drive a stick shift he said, “I’ll try it and I’ll get it done.” He still carries that same attitude. A perspective that says, there is nothing I can’t accomplish if I give it my best. That mindset has served him well over the years, developing various skillsets and tackling new challenges as they present themselves.
Whether he’s hanging pictures, delivering materials to a jobsite, erecting the office Christmas trees, moving furniture, patching holes in the wall, or finding a place for the many miscellaneous items that come off a job, Kendal checks off each request, regardless of who it came from, with a smile. How many hats does Kendal wear on a weekly basis? We’re not exactly sure, but if someone asked him to build a closet for them, he’d have materials delivered & PPE signage posted by 8am tomorrow.
In the words of Senior Project Manager, Mike Wehner, “Kendal Patterson is always ready to help no matter what the job or task is and ALWAYS does it with a smile on his face. I have called him numerous times for help with deliveries, night work, covering shifts, or even going to a client’s office and helping them move something. He is truly an inspiration to all who know him and is the true definition of Relentless Ally.”
Putting People First
At Balfour Beatty, we aren’t just building projects; we are building relationships. Whether it’s turning plans into projects, challenges into solutions, or ideas into innovations, for Jason Sizemore, there is a standout connection piece – the people. He prioritizes connecting with people and understanding their visions for the benefit of our projects and the future of Balfour Beatty.
Jason didn’t enter Auburn University, his alma mater, with a chosen degree or career path. As a learner by nature, he initially felt somewhat overwhelmed with the breadth of opportunities available. “I was interested in everything and wanted to learn as much as possible. I was actually a marine biology major for a short stint,” recalls Jason.
While reviewing a course and major catalogue, Jason ran across the building science curriculum and was immediately sold. “The diversity of study from concrete and steel, accounting and contract negotiation, to presentation and communication skills drove me to the profession.”
Jason participated in the cooperative education program while earning his degree, working during the fall and spring sessions for an electrical subcontractor on the Fort Benning Army Base and attending classes in the summer and winter. This experience provided Jason with a sincere appreciation for trade partners and a holistic understanding of the construction process.
Currently, Jason is serving as project executive on Balfour Beatty’s $290 million River Landing project, which is located on roughly 8.1 acres of riverfront property along the Miami River. Overseeing an extremely diverse staff of over 30 Balfour Beatty employees, Jason has been involved in this 2.5-million-square-foot, mixed-use project since 2017. He was instrumental in securing the project, locking in a final GMP and getting the project out of the ground.
Jason realized very early in his career that “people build buildings, and people are the number one key to success.” As not only a learner but also a leader, Jason is consistently interacting with and championing his team – passionate about helping people grow through teaching and mentoring.
Jason’s impact does not go unnoticed. He was selected as the Florida team’s “People-First Relentless Ally Award” winner in 2019. This award recognizes motivated employees who help create a positive and engaging workplace culture.
“Jason is truly a Relentless Ally, both personally and professionally, internally and externally,” praises Scott Skidelsky, president of the company’s operations in Florida.
Driven by humility and his belief that success stems from Balfour Beatty’s people-first culture, Jason doesn’t view his career in projects but rather through people and their stories. It comes as no surprise to hear Jason describe each of his projects as a “level playing field where no one person is more important than the other, including me.”
Jason exemplifies the mutually beneficial relationship of a people-first leadership perspective by deeply trusting and believing that his teammates teach him to be a better builder, leader and person. The result: success.
There is Nothing Shady about this Award Winner
“It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses,” said senior safety health and environmental manager Eric Garcia as he strutted across the stage impersonating Elwood Blues during the safety presentation at the Florida division’s annual managers’ meeting. To his surprise he took the stage again to accept the second annual Florida Division Relentless Ally Award in front of over a 100 peers who gave him a standing ovation.
“It was a tremendous honor to receive the award. It caught me completely by surprise as I did not even know I had been nominated,” said Eric. “I feel grateful to have been selected from the group of candidates. The fact that a Loss Prevention manager was selected for this award speaks volumes to this company’s commitment to and support of Zero Harm!”
Eric has made a tremendous positive impact at Balfour Beatty in just three years with the company. He is regarded as an exemplary professional who exhibits a client focus, sound work ethic, solutions oriented thinking, leadership by example, superior technical proficiency and consistent follow through.
The Relentless Ally Award is presented to the individual who most embodies one or more pillars of the company’s creed – Zero Harm, Zero Waste, Client Advocacy and Employee Inspiration. Thereby, this individual truly lives the company’s Purpose by definition: “To be a Relentless Ally for the success of each and every dream that we are entrusted to build.” The nomination for Garcia highlighted accomplishments that touched on, not just one, but all four of Balfour Beatty’s creed pillars.
“Eric undoubtedly represents each of the four pillars at the highest level and is a proven Relentless Ally for our clients, business partners and his teammates,” said senior vice president John Harris. “This is in addition to leading our Zero Harm efforts on some of the most complicated projects in our Florida business.”
On one such project, Eric led the charge for Zero Harm that resulted in over one million man hours without a lost time incident. He’s able to excel above industry standards because he takes his role personally and creates a bond of trust with the workforce by instilling his belief of working for them and in their best interests.
Apparently, Eric’s favorite number is zero, and he likes to maximize it whenever possible. In addition to Zero Harm, he’s gaining on Zero Waste too. Over $15,000 was saved at just one jobsite by purchasing an alternate fence material that’s durable enough to be reused. Also, with the use of technology he was able to capitalize on time, cost and natural resources by implementing an electronic database and subcontractor badge system. The system saved time by allowing for on-the-spot identification. It also saved enough paper to equal 26 trees and over $1,700 on just one project.
As evidence of his Client Advocacy, an owner that is known literally throughout the world recognized Eric’s dedication to the safety of owner staff members and guests with the owner’s highest level safety award given to an external partner.
Eric’s approach culminates with Employee Inspiration. He works closely with his team to understand the needs of the project in order to implement a timely and practical strategy for operations to run without negative impact or delay. “This is a delicate balance that is hard to perfect, and Eric consistently performs exceptionally well in this arena,” said John. “He has earned the respect of his peers as a go-to leader well beyond his Zero Harm responsibilities.”
To Eric, it seemed out of the blue when his named was called as the Relentless Ally Award winner, but his peers clearly agreed. And the applause must have been music to his ears.
Teamwork is Key to Remaining Competitive in Ever-Evolving Medical Marketplace
With more than 20 years in the construction industry, the majority of which have been dedicated to healthcare, David has been responsible for over $1 billion of healthcare construction projects. The projects that comprise David’s impressive and expansive healthcare portfolio include some of the largest and most complex hospital and medical facilities in the Carolinas and Georgia for clients such as Novant Health, Gaston Memorial Hospital, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, McLeod Health, Tuomey Healthcare System, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
What career accomplishments are you most proud of prior to coming on board with Balfour Beatty Construction?
I don’t know if there’s a specific moment or project I’d pinpoint but rather the sum of my career in healthcare construction. I started working in this field as a project engineer and worked my way up through the ranks by learning the nuances of building in a healthcare facility and keeping up with the rapid pace of evolving technological trends. These were certainly factors that helped me build a portfolio that includes over $1 billion in healthcare projects across the Carolinas.
While I’m proud of that figure and the work it represents, I’m even more proud of the cohesive and talented team I’ve had the pleasure of working with along the way. Since coming to Balfour Beatty, I’ve been really proud of the work we’ve secured with McLeod Health in South Carolina – a total of nine projects that represent $90 million - and that work is expected to grow over the years. With so few healthcare customers actively pursuing new construction and renovation of older infrastructure, these wins are especially key to growing Balfour Beatty’s regional presence in the healthcare marketplace. Again, our team’s longstanding relationships of mutual trust and respect with the owner and designer were driving factors behind these project awards.
What excites you most about working in the construction industry and about the healthcare market sector specifically?
You have to understand their challenges, which are primarily fiscal in nature, as well as the logistical issues of working in occupied facilities that operate 24/7, 365 days a year. Maintaining ongoing operations can be challenging, but I think of it as a fun challenge and one our team is well prepared to meet. I also like the fact that no project seems to be exactly the same.
There’s also a “feel good” element to this line of work. When you turn over the keys to a new healthcare facility, it’s always reminded me of the feeling residential builders must get when they do the same for a family. Healthcare workers are some of the most dedicated and passionate people you’ll meet, and for them, a new hospital or medical office building is really like a home in a lot of ways.
The healthcare industry has been evolving rapidly over the past several years due to national legislation and technological advancements impacting facility needs. Where do you see the industry in, say, the next 5 years?
There’s still quite a bit of lingering fiscal uncertainty, but with that said, some of the recent activity has been indicative of a gradual shift away from the complete standstill we saw three years ago. I’m also observing some changes regarding the types of projects we’ll be building. With technological advancements improving surgical recovery times, the need for bed towers has decreased significantly. While beds won’t be taking off, other radiology and surgical services are high revenue producers, so I see demand in that arena increasing. At the same time, we have an aging baby boomer population, and coupled with the fact that more individuals now have access to health insurance, it’s going to be a challenge for the industry to keep pace with this growing customer base for decades to come. I foresee a rapid uptick in the need for medical office buildings to provide outpatient services and managed care.
Other fun facts about David:
Most Admired Person: General “Stormin’” Norman Schwarzkopf. I was attending college at Auburn when we were engaged in the Persian Gulf War. I used to rush home after class to turn on the TV to hear his updates. General Schwarzkopf was a brilliant military tactician, but more than that, he was an inspirational leader for whom I have tremendous respect.
Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Coast Bar and Grill
Family: My wife, Kim, and I have been married for more than 20 years. We have two daughters, Laurel and Laine. I’m definitely outnumbered in my house!
Hobbies: I love football – both college and pro – and playing fantasy football. I also enjoy golf and wish I had more time to hit the course.
Relentless Ally Makes an Immeasurable Impact
Communication, decisiveness and approachability are only a few tools of the trade that Chad Humphrey carries with him to work each day, both on the job and within his community. As senior project manager for Balfour Beatty, he has contributed to the development of high-profile, large-scale construction projects in and around Raleigh, NC. His superior project management and consistent community outreach demonstrate that he’s not just here to watch the Triangle grow from the sidelines; he’s here to be a true Relentless Ally—to be involved, to contribute and to make a difference, one project, one cause at a time.
Since joining Balfour Beatty in 2008, Chad has had three successive elevations in leadership that were a direct result of significant contributions he has made to some of the most notable projects in eastern North Carolina, which include projects at Johnston Memorial Hospital and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
With talent and work ethic that shine brightly, Chad has created an identity rooted in hard work and humility. Chad’s experience in aviation, healthcare and education are just the beginning. With an unfailing ability to troubleshoot problems and keep projects on course, Chad has gained the respect of countless members of the local construction community. It’s clear to everyone around him that his future will continue to hold groundbreaking, monumental projects—the kind that require a trusted, caring and experienced leader.
Chad’s greatest source of pride in leading a project is the responsibility that rests on him. Chad’s accountability-based leadership style is evidenced by the numerous team members who have seen their careers progress under his leadership—the interns who have earned their place as full-time employees and the project engineers who have begun working their way up the operations chain.
Those who work with Chad, whether in a personal or professional capacity, are quick to agree that he has earned a reputation as a “calm, cool and collected” leader during every situation. With construction at Willow Spring High School on schedule to open for students in August 2019, Chad is slated to lead the next Wake County Public Schools middle school project, which is the same prototype as one of Chad’s previous projects with the owner, Pine Hollow Middle School.
Chad’s operational excellence is matched by his tremendous commitment to rallying the community for a common cause. His greatest philanthropic effort is the creation of Balfour Beatty’s annual Pink Out Day across the Triangle that raises donations for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Under Chad’s leadership, the 2018 Pink Out Day raised over $40,100 for the non-profit to help fight women’s cancers. Since 2012, the event has raised over $120,000 in total donations.
The day is marked by project teams and workers on jobsites across the Triangle donning pink t-shirts—a visual representation of their support and a celebration of the fundraising that is the cornerstone of the day. In a region that is strengthened through its collaboration of business, government and universities, Chad has created a camaraderie of excitement around the Pink-Out day, garnering support and generous donations from trade partners and owners from all corners of the Triangle.
The foundation’s namesake, Kay Yow, former North Carolina State University head women’s basketball coach was known for frequently stating, “Never let the urgent get in the way of the important.” In a career that revolves around checklists and punch outs, schedules and critical milestones, it’s a true testament to Chad’s adaptability that he effectively manages multiple projects, priorities and people—simultaneously.
Stephanie Glance, CEO, Kay Yow Cancer Foundation recently praised Chad’s efforts. “Over the past six years, Chad Humphrey has been an advocate for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, uniting communities in the fight against ALL women's cancers. He has galvanized the construction community to champion a cause that affects every family -- cancer. We are most grateful for his leadership and servant's heart as Balfour Beatty continues to make in impact that is changing lives.”
Chad’s passion for mentoring the next generation was evident during his time working on the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, as he leveraged the landmark project into a learning opportunity. Through a partnership he initiated with Smithfield-Selma High School in Johnston County, Chad brought the stories and successes of the project right into the classroom, sharing industry knowledge and a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into renovating a $52 million airport terminal. In response to their attentiveness in the classroom, Chad invited the students to tour the site, piquing the architecture, construction and engineering interests of many who marveled at the magnitude of the project.
When it comes to making an impact, Chad is a consistent leader and contributor to the Triangle’s development. He’s a proven Relentless Ally whose tangible influence can be felt throughout his community and among clients and coworkers.
A champion for clients and communities
Bryan Osborne’s work ethic and a personal drive to succeed is contagious. Each and every project and team member he has worked for, worked with, or mentored in his 17 years in the construction industry has benefited from his positive attitude, passion for building, and desire to bring his client’s visions to life.
With a Construction Management Certificate from the University of California Davis, Brian is known for consistently delivering value to his projects and developing trusted relationships. Part of his success comes from the experience he gained advancing in his career from an entry-level position of project engineer, to project manager, to senior project manager, and now to his current role as project executive.
Through these roles, Bryan has been given the opportunity to successfully deliver top-notch projects for many education clients and their school programs throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Some of his more recent projects have been located within the Tustin, Torrance, Culver City, and Glendale Unified School Districts where he has not only become a “Relentless Ally,” he has become a friend.
Above all, Bryan naturally embodies “people-first” environments. He spearheads, and enjoys, taking part in service activities that not only better serve our clients, but make communities stronger. He is “all-in” when it comes to going above and beyond to lend a hand wherever it can benefit others.
A perfect example of his can-do attitude is his involvement with Balfour Beatty’s annual collaboration with Sharefest’s Community Outreach in Torrance, CA. For their annual workday, Bryan assembles an excess of 300 volunteers, made up of students, school staff, contractors, vendors, and fellow employees to complete school improvement and beautification projects at schools in the Redondo, Torrance, Culver City, and Wiseburn School Districts—all at no cost to the schools. This is the second year Bryan has been involved and it wasn’t limited to the Workday. He also participates on a golf outing committee that raises funds to help pay for the materials needed during Sharefest’s Workday and their Youth Development Academy. This year, they raised a record-setting $100,050.
Bryan has also made significant impacts on many other charitable causes including Red Shoe Day to support the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego, Dinosaur Dash in Tustin to support the Tustin Public Schools Foundation, and the Junior Achievement Bowl-a-Thon to support Junior Achievement in San Diego. He leads by example and also participates in mentoring programs for high school students.
Bryan is a steward of the community where he works and for the clients he works for. He’s a shining example of a truly impassioned leader who is committed to consistently delivering the best construction experience his clients have ever had. On top of all of that, Bryan holds the highest role of “hero” to his wife and pre-school age children, whom he rarely misses a family dinner with