We ask the question to every candidate we interview “What is the position/positions you are interested in pursuing?” Most candidates will check off a position such as Vice President and in addition many candidates experienced only in an entry level or mid-level role will apply for Executive level positions.

So, what is in a title?

In construction there is definitely a baseline for qualifications with management titles and the required credentialing is also becoming more and more prevalent.

Here are a few:

Responsible for providing on-site coordination for all phases of a construction project they are assigned to, including coordinating subcontractors, material and equipment, ensuring that specifications are being strictly followed, and work is proceeding on schedule and within budget. The Superintendent shall be responsible for scheduling, inspections, quality control, and job site safety. This responsibility includes knowledge and experience with the technical aspects of the project they are assigned, including the proven ability to communicate, document and lead both internal and external team members within the parameters set forth by the project contract and governing entities. The best Superintendents could be Project Managers because they understand the business side of construction in addition to the build side, but know their heart and strength is kicking the dirt every day. If the buck cannot stop with you in the above listed areas than you are not prepared to be the Lead Superintendent. You may be better suited as part of a team under a lead or in another role altogether until you receive the mentorship/training to reach this level.

A Project Manager will have overall responsibility for the successful planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure of a project. The Project Manager works as a liaison between the construction team, architects, designers and the owners and stakeholders of the project to facilitate communication, decision-making and problem-solving. They must have a combination of skills including an ability to ask pungent questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve conflicts, as well as more general management skills. The Project Manager is responsible for the overall success of the project while directing the project team in regards to the contractual, budget and relational objectives set forth by the leadership of the company. The Project Manager has technical, communication and documentation skills, along with formal construction administration process training set forth to ensure the company is protected with all areas of risk associated with the project. The best Project Managers could be Superintendents in the field, but recognize that the administration side of the project gets them out of bed in the morning more than overseeing the site build. If you are not willing to take accountability for the above in all circumstances than you are not prepared to be the Lead Project Manager. You may be better suited as part of a team under a lead or in another role altogether until you receive this level of mentorship/training.

Reporting to the Lead Operations Executive, the Project Executive (PX/VPC) must be a highly motivated, adaptable and experienced individual in multiple aspects of construction. The PX/VPC must have proven leadership capabilities, the highest ethical standards and the skills to both lead and develop others. The PX /VPC must be able to lead, manage, and coordinate all phases of large and/or multiple projects from preconstruction, through construction (Project Management) and closeout by leading and developing a team of Project Managers, Project Coordinators and Project Assistants who have the skills to execute on their defined roles.

Responsible for overseeing financial operations including AP/AR, job cost accounting, payroll and cash flow management.
They are responsible for developing and maintaining the system of internal accounting controls and financial reporting under the direction of the CFO/CEO/COO including assisting with budgeting, forecasting and analysis. They are responsible for all Work-In-Progress reporting & General Ledger, and to produce monthly financial statements, coordinate quarterly accounting reviews, annual audits and tax returns and maintain state registrations, business and tax licenses, etc.

Responsible for all financial and fiscal management aspects of company operations. Provide leadership and coordination in the administrative, business planning, accounting and budgeting efforts of the company. Member of the executive team responsible for monitoring and reporting in respect to all fiscal management aspects of the company. The CFO typically has a Controller reporting to them managing the day-to-day financial activities.

Chief Executive Officer- Responsible for providing leadership to position the company at the forefront of the industry. Develop a strategic plan to advance the company’s mission and vision and objectives and to promote revenue, profitability and growth as an organization. Oversee company operations to insure production efficiency, quality, service, and cost-effective management of resources.

As the Chief Operations Officer you are often responsible for managing the company’s day-to-day operations and reporting them to the Chief Executive Officer or President.

The primary role of the COO is routinely one of operations management; responsible for the development, design, operation and improvement of the systems that create and deliver the firm’s products and/or services. The COO is responsible for ensuring that business operations are efficient and effective and that the proper management of resources, distribution of goods and services to customers, and analysis of queue systems is conducted. The COO should routinely communicate and stress their company’s safety mission statement and culture through all operations and systems so that it infiltrates employees’ actions. They should also work with members of the safety staff to ensure their training needs are met for company and project specific requirements. A COO should always be involved with record keeping as it pertains to accidents, injuries, illnesses and incidents to ensure proper procedures are put in place to correct any unsafe behavior or actions. The Chief Operating Officer position provides the leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the company has the proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and people systems in place to effectively grow the organization and to ensure financial strength and operating efficiency. The position accomplishes this through a respectful, constructive and energetic style, guided by the objectives of the company.

The COO provides day-to-day leadership and management to a service organization that mirrors the adopted mission and core values of the company. Bottom line: Build a beautiful company.

There are very distinct bottom line, buck stops with you regardless of the circumstance, responsibilities that lie with you with each title assigned to you. These are not if you are allowed to do them. These are what is expected of you if you possess that title. If someone does not let you do your job or you are not experienced in those areas than that is another conversation either on training or empowerment for success.

Take note that a Project Manager is responsible for managing projects. A Project Executive or VP of Construction is responsible for managing the people that manage the projects and the accountability to the project team that manages the day to day administration and build of the project.   A CFO has overall corporate reporting and fiduciary responsibility along with the accountability of the Controller and the Controller’s team, whereas a Construction Controller is typically responsible for monitoring and reporting the work in progress and the day to day cash flow of the company in conjunction with a support team, but not the one responsible for strategic business operations. Both a Project Manager and a Construction Controller are more hands on in the tasks associated with administration and accounting. They are distinctly different roles.

The person that is faithful in what they have been given will be blessed with more. It is a proven fact. Stability, pay raises, respect, joy in what you do and who you do it for does not come with a title. A title only brings expectations. Whether being offered a title or asking for a title and interviewing for a position, outline the expectations for the first 30 days, 90 days, and first year before accepting the role. The expectations will be how you are reviewed and the proof will be in the pudding of how you meet and exceed those expectations.

No matter what position you are in you can be a leader. You can remain coachable and trainable and with an attitude of always learning, always trying to build on your communication and relational skills. The construction industry is ever changing, ever evolving and the management professionals that succeed in this industry are what we refer to as “Boots to Boardroom”. They can relate to everyone from the laborer in the field to the representative financial institution that is funding the project and everyone internal and external in between. The proof in the pudding are the characteristics that make them stand out not only in their jobs, but as individuals in business.

If you would like us to help you with a roadmap to achieving your goals. Give us a call. We will be happy to help.

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