Why did you choose a career in construction? I grew up in Boston and have memories of seeing “The Big Dig” throughout my childhood. The scope of that project was incredible, and I knew growing up that I wanted to do work that was as complicated, inspiring, and impactful as “The Big Dig”; Boston’s waterfront was completely transformed because of that project. Construction easily became my passion.
What does your typical day look like in your current role as a Project Superintendent? I have to multi-task from the moment I get on-site between 5 and 6am. The first thing I usually do is coordinate with sub-contractors to ensure we’re operating efficiently and safely every single day. My days are about coherence and communication - both with sub-contractors and with the Grunley team. My day ends when every single sub-contractor is off-site; at that point I typically finish up paperwork to update my team on our progress.
The renovation and expansion project is very complex. What are the greatest technical and logistical challenges about this job? This project includes restoring a historical bank, converting it into a museum, adding a theater in the lower level, and adding a floor above the existing building. There’s a lot of complexity because we have to ensure we’re carefully preserving the building’s historic fabric, like the bank’s original vault. On top of that we’re working in a very tight area in a basement requiring that I coordinate two drill rigs while still allowing site and demo contractors to do their work. This includes things like coordinating concrete pours and scheduling underpinning sequences.Logistically, the project requires a lot of communication with multiple stakeholders. For one, proximity to the White House means that we are regularly in communication with Secret Service. I also update the Federal Courts and Treasury Annex buildings regularly.
The last several months have been particularly challenging. What changes have you made on site due to COVID-19? We adopted the CDC guidelines for keeping essential employees safe, early on. We maintain the project site as clean as possible and ensure that everyone understands the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including masks. Last, as hard as it is on a job site, we work hard to maintain 6 feet of separation to minimize contact.
What is your idea of the American Dream? I was born in the Cape Verde Islands and immigrated to this country with my parents when I was two. I am a product of public-school systems that prepared me to earn a higher education degree. Access to that education, plus the experiences I’ve had in construction, landed me at Grunley Construction which is by far my best professional experience to date. I’m living the American Dream – I’m part of an amazing team, doing complex work that challenges me every day.