Chris Myers, Project Manager, has been with C.W. Driver Companies for almost 12 years working on projects for a variety of markets including civic, senior living, higher education, retail, and entertainment. He is also a Commander in the U.S. Navy with over 23 years of service in active and Reserves and has deployed to both Iraq (2008 – 2009) and Djibouti, Africa (2015 – 2016).
How has your military background and experience influenced your Project Management style?
While I was stationed in Djibouti, my role was to manage all USA military construction projects in eastern Africa. It was my job as facilities manager to oversee $100 million worth of construction projects at one time. These ranged from hospital work to airfields. This experience gave me the insight into the owner’s perspective. I worked with the command in charge of the operations in Africa, coordinated with Africa’s ambassadors, and hired general contractors for each project. Coming back to the States, I have been able to use this new perspective to be a better Project Manager on projects at C.W. Driver Companies. I can better act in the best interest of an owner since I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.
What made your last project at CSU San Bernardino so successful?
The entire project team had a great relationship with the campus and facilities staff. The Utilities Infrastructure Improvements project consisted of four distinct components that upgraded and enhanced the campus-wide utilities’ systems. The project touched every corner of the campus and required constant utility shutdowns and wayfinding updates to ensure staff and students were safe. To make this project successful, the C.W. Driver project team integrated itself into the CSUSB staff and became an extension of their facilities department. This enabled great communication with the University staff and students on the campus. The project team was able to make this project a success by being proactive and anticipating potential challenges before they occurred.
You’ll soon be working on the Long Beach City College – Multi-Disciplinary Facility Replacement project. What are you most excited about for that project?
The new Multi-Disciplinary Facility Replacement project at Long Beach City College is the first design-build project funded by the state of California. It is currently in the preconstruction phase and once completed, the 81,970 GSF three-story, steel frame classroom building, will house numerous programs and faculty offices. We are fortunate to have a passionate and strong team with HPI Architecture and the College. The design phase is currently at 100% Schematic Design, and the entire project team is excited for construction to start in eight to ten months!
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
The best part of working in the construction industry is that my day-to-day responsibilities are never repetitive. No matter what project you are on, you can problem solve every day to find the best solution that is efficient and makes everyone happy. Your day can consist of simple RFIs to complex contract negation. It is also gratifying to see the projects come alive when turned over to the end user. Be it the line of guests waiting at Toy Story, the Marines eating in their new Dining Facility, the residents at Vivante, or the Plant Operators at the CSUSB Central Plant; you can see the impact that our projects have on their lives as you quietly move on to the next one.
You’ve been in the industry for more than two decades. What’s the most common challenge you see in this industry?
With baby boomers starting to retire, I have noticed a lack of skilled workers to take their place. Most kids graduating from high school have been pushed towards a college education, not into vocational trades. It is rare to find a 22-year-old that can weld. There is already a high demand for talented trades in today’s busy market. With the aging workforce, I foresee that this problem is only going to get worse. The subcontractor community efforts through local hiring and veteran hiring programs will become crucial in the coming years.