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Quality & Accountability: Impacting Tomorrow’s Project Managers

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The Construction Educator Podcast limited series focuses on the collaboration among construction technology companies Bluebeam and Procore and boasts an impressive lineup of industry professionals in exclusive interviews. In the fifth episode, Greg Starzyk, Cal Poly- San Luis Obispo, details the quality of work and accountability that led Starzyk to where he is today.

Starzyk speaks of a productive “23-year career in construction management, where he worked on projects spanning almost 50 cities, 18 countries and six continents around the world.” He now works as a Construction Law expert and Professor in the Department of Construction Management at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

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On the evolution of construction administrative roles, Starzyk said, “[When] I was young, I would ordinarily expect the architect to manage the administrative aspects of the project – so helping the owner evaluate bids, administrating the contract, approving payments and those things. Today, architects and architectural education seems to have moved away from that. There’s less emphasis on that and in the industry; it’s more and more common for owners to look to somebody other than the architect to provide that sort of administrative support for the project.”

In effect, we’re beginning to look in more places for the administrative and management work that needs to be done. There are certainly many people on a job site who are capable of managing projects. We’re beginning to trust others with the responsibilities that used to fall solely on architects. With that new workforce comes a lot of new accountability and responsibility. Times are changing, but so is the industry.

And how will new technology affect construction? Starzyk had a few ideas: “At the very least, it would mean less disruption to the firm,” he said. “Imagine if you had conversations or notes, memos stored in hard copy files or in a lot of different systems, and what you were trying to do is pull all of those things together; you would have a nightmare of work. I know of cases where people take boxes and boxes of paper, and they show up, and you have a room full of documentation; somebody has to sift through all of that.” Leadership roles are changing, but what hasn’t changed is what it means to be a leader. If we’re able to keep up and take advantage of innovation, we’ll be able to adapt for the better.

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