Q: What is a way that you experience teamwork in your department or on the job site?
A: At a recent monthly meeting, we took a full chain and separated the individual links. They were then handed out to every superintendent, project manager and estimator. This concept represents there is no “I” in ‘Team”. As cliché as that sounds, we don’t just talk about it at TP Mechanical, it is a part of our work culture. We realize every role is just as important as the next and it takes a “full chain” mentality with every link functioning at full strength, in order to experience success. Our team is very committed and excited about every opportunity we have to build trust with a client. It takes everyone on board though, executing project tasks on time and above expectations in order to strengthen those client relationships.
With 38 years in business and 55 years of life experience, sometimes there are opportunities to stop and reflect. This is one of those times, and one in which I have the opportunity to share some of the lessons I have learned about leadership and team work.
My position with TP Mechanical enables me to utilize my strengths in people management to foster better relationships with our internal customers, specifically the operations team that performs work on our job sites. I coordinate the CAD, FAB and PURCHASING departments to work together in completing the back-of-the-house tasks, which accommodates our workflow into the field.
My intention with each group is for it to be an independent business unit that moves work freely between the three groups. Each facet supports the other. They have to complete their specific job for the work to shift and move through our organization. Should we suffer a setback in one area it could conceivably create issues with all departments. When this occurs, I enter the picture and help the team get back on track.
My position requires multi-tasking to keep all departments running smoothly. Some days my position requires me to be a cheerleader or a coach. Other days, I have to become a sounding board to let people vent their frustrations. Hopefully, I’m able to share some wisdom and experience to empower my direct reports to make good, sound decisions when necessary.
I am fortunate that the three heads of my departments are hardworking, smart, company-first members of the team that need little supervision. They are open to suggestions, and they foster good relationships with their own direct reports, as well are our internal customer group.
I treat all that I meet by the “golden rule.” I do not hesitate to address issues that are sensitive and use each corrective counseling session as a chance to learn and teach. I never harbor ill feelings toward my group members. Once a situation is discussed, it is over in my mind.
Work is separate from personal and I never mix the two. It is good business practice to ensure that you keep the dividing line between business and personal very wide and well defined.
I operate my part of the company always keeping the good of the whole ahead of my direct responsibility. What I mean by that is, I never make a decision without thinking about what I am doing and how it will affect TP Mechanical. NOT CAD/FAB/PURCHASING, but how the decision will affect the entire company. I believe this determined focus will allow for the best possible results for the company, which affects all of us working here.
We like challenging projects, and aggressive timelines, unusual circumstances and intricate details are our specialty.
That’s why we were psyched to tackle the ARM/Berry Plastics project. TP Mechanical welcomed the opportunity to fabricate and install a new primary/secondary chilled water piping system – while the old system continued to run and the facility remained occupied. We had four months from the time the contract was awarded until the project milestone to have the chillers up and running, and there were no blueprints to work from.
For us, that’s just another day on the job. Our first step was to use the building’s original 2D blueprints to create an AutoCAD layout. Meanwhile, we started our guys on the exterior piping of the building that didn’t require any modeling in order to maximize time. Working concurrently alongside our crews, we used the AutoCAD layout to create a 3D model of the new system so that our client would have a crystal clear view of what the system was going to look like in place.
The new system was going into an area that had, up until that point, been used for storage and the client wanted to ensure that enough space would remain for safety guardrails and fork truck traffic. In addition to the 3D modeling, we laid out chalk drawings of the footprints of the chillers and pump pads to help them envision the space and get an accurate idea of the end product.
As another time-saving strategy, we prefabricated the pipe assemblies so that when the piping arrived on site, no field welding was required; all they had to do to install was rig it up, set it in place and bolt it together. We completed the tie-in in two days and once the new system was in place, we dismantled and eliminated the old equipment. We completed an entire new chilled water piping system with no disruption in the facility’s production or putting the occupants in harm’s way.
Throughout this process, we met with the client at least once weekly to keep the lines of communication flowing and discuss updated safety precautions, preplanning strategies for every step of the process and feedback on design as the project evolved.
Communication, teamwork, and creative problem solving. That’s how we roll – with the punches, that is.