Anders Lindgren was born with an appetite for adventure. It was evident when Anders, the son of Swedish immigrants, began framing houses at the age of twelve. As Anders grew, so too did the number of stamps on his passport, including a year spent trekking across the Asian continent in his early twenties. Whether it’s scaling Ecuador’s tallest peaks or even, for a brief period, owning his own construction firm, Anders is constantly setting bold, new goals and achieving them. Since joining Balfour Beatty’s rail team in 2011, Anders has done just that, distinguishing the project director as one of our most remarkable Relentless Allies.
Anders’ career choice would definitely support those in the nature camp of the age-old psychology debate. “I didn’t have to do a lot of soul searching,” recalls Anders, who like his father, holds a degree in civil engineering. Equally as attractive to Anders—the seemingly infinite variety of paths the construction industry offers, especially in the civil construction realm. “There’s so much that goes into it from airports to dams, utilities, transit and more. You can have three or four careers under that umbrella if you want to.”
One might argue that Anders actually has. Over the past two decades, Anders has been involved in some of the most notable infrastructure across the US, Central America and Canada. From the $10 billion Metrolinx transit expansion program in Toronto to the $5 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, Anders’ projects are as unique as they are complex—each its own grand quest filled with new people, experiences and memories.
Over the past six years with Balfour Beatty, Anders has been based out of Denver, Colorado, where he’s contributed to the Eagle P3 Transit project, and currently, the Southeast Rail Extension project. SERE, as the job is often referenced for short, is Balfour Beatty’s first rail transit design-build project without a joint-venture partner—the perfect challenge for a builder with a passion for venturing into the unknown.
Currently, SERE is ahead of schedule and has only logged one lost time incident in over 500,000 man hours. Those stats are impressive by any standards, but if you ask Anders, they don’t even begin to tell the full story of the team’s achievements. By refining best practices he observed over 15 years working on large-scale international projects, Anders and his team developed four key goals for the SERE team: 1) Zero Harm 2) Zero Rework 3) Quality Quantities (continual takeoffs) and 4) Mentoring/Training. His primary focus in each pillar? People.
“As cliché as it sounds, people are the most important part of any construction project,” affirms Anders. And on SERE, Anders is surrounded by some of the best in the business. He personally had a role in assembling the team, and in over two years of construction, there has been no turnover. Anders makes it a priority to invest in the team by strategically re-assigning engineers to different project roles every six to nine months. “This not only prevents people from getting pigeonholed, but it also helps broaden their understanding of various disciplines,” praises Anders. “I want everyone to feel like they’re an important part of the end goal.”
Today, Anders’ days of backpacking across Asia and Europe have given way to spending time with his family, which includes three boys ages 12, 10 and 6. But the same daring spirit which took Anders to over 40 different countries still inspires his approach to life, both personally and professionally. After all, construction is a field where ambition meets adventure. Where teams break ground and go vertical and move earth. Is construction a career for those seeking an exciting journey? Just ask Anders. His has been exhilarating.