Roberto Montero, Superintendent, has been with C.W. Driver for four years completing projects in a large variety of markets including civic/cultural, residential, education, and more! His unique problem-solving abilities and incredible work ethic make him a standout employee.
What made you get into the construction industry?
At my Alma Mater, Drexel University in Philadelphia, I was enrolled in the CO-OP program while pursuing my B.S. in Construction Management. This program gave me the opportunity to go to school for five years with the added benefit of doing three internships that lasted six months each. My first two internships were building the Boston Convention Center in Massachusetts and the John Hopkins Cancer Research Center in Baltimore, Maryland. My third internship was with a civil engineering firm doing AutoCAD design work. It was during this time that I realized I enjoyed seeing structures being built physically more than on a computer screen.
Prior to joining C.W. Driver, I began my career on the Project Management side. I was given the opportunity to close out the Disneyland Resort’s Cars Land project as a Superintendent. It was my responsibility to manage the 18 trades and all of ride systems on this complex project. My interaction with the foreman and the challenge of coordinating and problem-solving with every trade are what made me switch over to field operations.
What changes have you seen within the construction industry since you started over 15 years ago?
I have noticed a new type of superintendent emerge in the last ten years. It is becoming harder to find an expertly skilled foreman work his/her way up the ranks to manage a project. Most new superintendents are college educated and have learned administrative skills from a textbook. It has been interesting to witness the different styles of employees in the field since I transitioned to a Superintendent. No one way is better than the other. As a college education becomes more and more necessary to land a job, I foresee this trend to continue in the coming years.
What do you believe has been the most beneficial about working on a large variety of construction projects throughout your career?
My diverse career has given me the opportunity to meet all different types of people from different backgrounds and cultures. My first project with C.W. Driver was in Westminster, California. Prior to this project, I had only ever heard of the Westminster in England! Working there, I was able to explore the town’s little Vietnam and get to know a small Southern California town I would not have explored otherwise. In construction, we are fortunate not to be stuck in the same office with the same people every day. Use this to your advantage and get to know each city on an intimate level as you move from project to project.
You are currently working on the Irvine Unified School District Modernization projects. What has been the most challenging part of these projects so far?
Three out of the four school modernization projects that we are working on at Irvine USD are year-round schools. This meant that we did not have the opportunity to schedule in a three-month summer sprint. Phase one of the Westpark Elementary School Modernization called for the project team to complete 60% of the main building over a span of the short three-week summer break. The accelerated schedule was necessary, since the campus is one large building that holds all classrooms and administrative offices. With hard work and long man hours, the project team and myself were able to successfully complete this challenge in the scheduled timeframe. I feel that our ability to handle stressful situations and our people skills are what made this sprint a success.
What motivates you to keep coming back into work at C.W. Driver every day?
I enjoy coming to work at C.W. Driver every day because I know the work that I do is appreciated and rewarded. C.W. Driver truly cares about every single one of their employees. Since C.W. Driver is a smaller construction company, your work is easily recognized by the executives. They push for a healthy work/life balance and repay you for your hard work. As cliché as it sounds, C.W. Driver puts their money where their mouth is. I have never forgotten how Dana Roberts, Chief Executive Officer, has had C.W. Driver provide for his family for generations. I know my own wife and two children will be supported as long as I work at C.W. Driver.