March 2019

Using Technology to Improve Project Performance

2019-03-07T07:50:53-05:00March 6th, 2019|Project News, Thought Leadership|

Shook continuously searches for ways to dramatically improve our performance. As the industry evolves, it is increasingly apparent how essential technology is. Not only does it save us time and money, but also it attracts new talent and customers. Recently, we introduced the enhanced technology processes, which have tremendously benefited our projects.

DRONE TECHNOLOGY

James Hillegas, a project engineer at Shook, has been an avid drone pilot for years. When he became aware of the opportunity to use them onsite, he was ready to help.

Mapping Existing Site Work  

At the Community Tissue Services project in Kettering, Ohio, James used drones to gather sitework images which he then shared with Project Manager Matt Wendel. The data collected assisted Matt in narrowing in on the site work estimations, which in turn freed up funds to reallocate to other project needs.

Bringing the Project to Life: Augmented Reality 

Hillegas also used a drone to gather photos of the existing facility, which then were used to create a model of the new building. This model allowed the owner to visualize how their new building would look when completed. “Augmented reality helps the owner better understand the project,” Hillegas said.

Source: John Poe Architects

Ensuring Safety

On the Summa West Tower project in Akron, Ohio, a drone helped us proactively prepare for the possibility of an emergency. As the project progressed, James flew the drone to collect updated site photos. These images were sent to the fire department to communicate where access points were in the event of an emergency.

PLANGRID TECHNOLOGY

Improving Onsite Efficiency  

Source: firstround.com

Another device introduced on the Summa project was PlanGrid, a cloud-based program that grants users mobile access to project information, including document drawings. PlanGrid has been incredibly helpful with organization and timeliness. All the project drawings were accessible in the program, which kept the project team from wasting time flipping through pages of drawings.

Project Engineer Rachel Mulholland shared the benefits of using it, stating, “Having all the drawings on the same system has saved us a considerable amount of time.”

Holding Subcontractors Accountable

PlanGrid alleviated some of the stress during closeout procedures. Shook asked their subcontractors to use the program to track and report the overall schedule. This helped keep everyone accountable. The team would open PlanGrid to check the floor plans and, based on the information, assign tasks to certain people. Rachel found this to be one of the greatest benefits of the program.

Technology is improving our productivity and enhancing our ability to communicate. From saving time to solving problems proactively, these tools have drastically changed the way we perform our work.

January 2019

Employee Spotlight: Rachel Mulholland

2019-01-16T14:38:23-05:00January 16th, 2019|Employee Spotlights|

Project Engineer Rachel Mulholland discovered her interest in engineering as a college student. Ever since, she has devoted herself to learning more about the industry. Ultimately, this has taught her how it can support local communities, as well as how she can be a leader.

What inspired you to get into this career?

I was inspired by my civil engineering classes I took when I was an undergraduate. Learning about the application and execution of principles made me want to get out there and do them in the field. I was able to put them into practice when I started working in construction. I also wanted to support my local community. It wasn’t long before I realized I could do so by working in the construction industry. I have been able to contribute to the success of multiple communities thanks to my career.

Briefly describe your career path to date.

I began as a co-op in college, which provided me with valuable experiences. After graduation, I was hired full-time and have been working for the past two years.

Construction can be a challenging business. Do you have a specific approach or philosophy you use to tackle challenges as they arise on site?

My approach has always been to tackle the most daunting problems first. Once those are out of the way, I can focus on simpler tasks, which are quicker to finish. I also believe that when an issue arises, it is critical to talk to my teammates to try to find a solution.

What are the most important qualities of a leader?

The best leaders are knowledgeable and understand the project they are working on. If they aren’t sure how to do something, they are willing to learn. A leader should also be approachable. They keep the team together and functioning. If people aren’t willing to talk to the person in charge, problems will arise. Finally, it is important that leaders clearly communicate. Confusion can be detrimental to the outcome of a project and can put us behind schedule.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

The new West Bed Tower for Summa Health Systems Akron Campus in Akron, OH.