Category: Careers

HPM’s Bootcamp Program Raises the Bar for Professional Development

On May 24-25, HPM conducted Project Management Boot Camp, an internal professional development program that has become a core pillar of the company culture. Since the first boot camp in 2023, HPM has set a goal of holding 8 of the events per year. Half of the yearly boot camps are dedicated to professional development for field coordinators, while the other half are customized for project managers. Employees outside of the project management and field coordination departments are also invited to attend. Each event is curated to foster communication, teamwork, and critical thinking while educating attendees on the latest industry trends and internal best practices. The program is designed to provide a combination of opportunities for learning and socialization.

Last week’s boot camp event was held at HPM’s Mobile office. Day 1 topics included cost management, budget management, and risk management. The budget management course provided extensive training around building and managing internal and external budgets using the #1 construction management platform, Procore. After completing the first day’s curriculum, attendees enjoyed a dinner social as a group.

Day 2 of the boot camp began with a dynamic team-building exercise designed to foster communication and collaboration within the group. Following the activity, additional training sessions were conducted, focusing primarily on relationship building and schedule management. Senior Schedule Manager Matt Jackson gave a presentation on building detailed program schedules, providing best practices for tracking progress and eliminating threats to progress. To conclude the event, the operations team conducted a Q&A session to ensure attendees were well-versed in all company policies, benefits, and resources.

“HPM’s boot camp programs provide a unique space for employees to sharpen their technical skills while building relationships with their colleagues,” said Caleb Camp, Operations Manager. “Investing in the professional development of our employees is a core tenant of the company’s values, and we are pleased to continually improve processes that equip project teams with the resources they need to thrive in their roles.”

PM Bootcamp Dinner

HPM’s Will Cather Included in BBJ’s 2024 NextGen BHM List

Will Cather, Project Manager at HPM, has been included in the 2024 NextGen BHM: Construction & Real Estate list published by Birmingham Business Journal. This list is comprised of up-and-coming industry leaders who demonstrate great potential and leadership qualities. Recipients were chosen based on their contributions to their companies, their role in the industry, the likelihood of them becoming prominent leaders in their field, and their role in the Birmingham community. All honorees are under the age of 30.

About the NextGen BHM Recipient

With a robust background in contracting, design, and project management work, Will is a master of all trades in the construction/real estate industry. He currently provides leadership on HPM’s Regions account. His scope of work includes numerous facilities maintenance capital projects, which often present demands around the clock. Capital replacements/upgrades of elevators, fire alarm systems, HVAC units, HVAC control systems and both exterior and interior LED lighting retrofits are all common FMC projects. Will remains available to the client, going above and beyond to demonstrate commitment to getting the job done with excellence. This consistent work ethic has earned him a remarkable amount of credibility within the industry.

Regions Project Manager David Caulkins heralded Will’s contributions, stating, “Will has been such an asset to the team, it’s hard to surmise into a simple statement. He is transparent, available, and impactful, all in a timely manner.”

Will was promoted after only eight months with HPM, an honor indicating his high level of performance and robust work ethic. “Will excels in managing client expectations as he communicates in a clear and effective manner”, said his supervisor, Charles Phillips. “He is a team player and fosters a collaborative work environment where his coworkers feel valued and motivated. Will understands that if one person on our team succeeds, we all succeed.”

Community Involvement

A rising star in his profession and his community, Will is dedicated to giving back to the Birmingham area. He is actively involved with The WellHouse, a local organization providing residential, therapeutic programs to female victims of human trafficking. After attending a gala benefitting the organization, Will immediately began pursuing opportunities to serve on their board.

A graduate of The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and life-long resident of Birmingham, Will is sure to impact the construction industry and the Magic City for decades to come.

HPM Celebrates National Construction Safety Week

HPM is proud to join over 250 companies in celebrating National Construction Safety Week for the tenth consecutive year. This annual observance was created to bolster a safety-centered culture across the industry. This year’s theme, Value Every Voice, reminds participants of their responsibility to speak up for safety on site. No matter their role, each person on a job site must be empowered to call attention to potential hazards. Construction Safety Week is a great reminder to take ownership of the health and safety of all working alongside them.

Construction Safety Week 2024

This morning, HPM joined Hoar Construction in hosting a Construction Safety Week breakfast to kick off this year’s festivities. Vice President of Field Operations Mike Pitts shared a meaningful quote, “If you see it, you own it. If you walk by it, you condone it.” Attendees signed a banner pledging to value every voice. All who signed committed to doing their part to ensure safe environments both on and off job sites.

Additional events will be held throughout the week across the company’s footprint. Various instructional training sessions will be held, one of which includes a heavy equipment demonstration at RPI Rentals. HPM looks forward to offering employees numerous opportunities to gather with coworkers this week in recognition of the vital role safety plays in the life of our company.

construction safety

Construction Safety at HPM

Safety is critical to the HPM culture, and the health and safety of anyone in our care is paramount to our overall success. All HPM employees are expected to adhere to the project safety requirements while visiting a job site, and the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is always worn while on site. Safety glasses, hard hats, high-visibility vests, and work shoes are the minimum requirements.

Our role in safety may change from project to project, but it’s HPM’s role as the owners’ representative to verify and understand the contractor’s obligation with every project as it pertains to safety. Our culture requires that we “know the deal” which means we confirm our responsibilities on every new project rather than assuming they are the same as they were on our last project.

HPM’s Field Coordinators play an active role in ensuring safety protocols are strictly adhered to. This protects everyone in proximity to the job site, while also protecting the owner from potential lawsuits. An important factor is ensuring the job site is safe, particularly when located in a highly trafficked area. For instance, HPM manages numerous projects for clients in the K-12 and higher education industries. On these projects, students and faculty are often attending classes near active job sites. Field Coordinators add tremendous value in implementing the highest level of safety precautions to protect everyone in the vicinity of the project.

Progress Forges Ahead at Airbus Manufacturing Facility in Mobile

Construction was recently completed on two new paint shops at Airbus’ Mobile, AL campusThese facilities located on the west side of campus enable Airbus to triple their monthly paint production. The completion of these projects is only a symbol of the progress underway within the Single Aisle Ramp Up (SARU) expansion, slated to double the size of the Airbus footprint in North America. When the program is complete, Mobile will rank as the 4th largest aerospace manufacturing community in the world.

Leading the Charge

Leading HPM’s project team is Stewart Nobles. Stewart was recently promoted to Senior Program Manager after joining the account in 2019. His mechanical and technical background proved essential in providing value to the client, quickly establishing him as the “perfect fit” for a complex program such as Airbus. He is a strong team leader with a demonstrated ability to hone in on the finite details of a project, while also keeping the “big picture” end goal in mind.

Airbus

A Robust History

HPM’s relationship with Airbus began over 15 years ago with the construction of their Mobile Engineering Center. From there, the HPM project team led the development of the first Final Assembly Line campus in North America at Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex. Following the successful completion of the first A320 FAL, Airbus called upon HPM again to lead the development of the A220 FAL project and expand the Mobile campus to produce a second line of aircraft.

Airbus

A Bright Future

In 2022, HPM was honored to be called upon once again to lead a third campus expansion increasing the production of the original A320 series aircraft line. Presently, we are deep in the construction phase, projected to reach completion in late 2025. Without question, bright days are ahead for Mobile as Airbus continues to generate unique new job opportunities for residents while fostering economic growth within the community.

North Alabama NAWIC Chapter #396 Officially Chartered

March 28, 2024, marked a pivotal milestone for the North Alabama community as Chapter #396 of National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) was officially chartered. To commemorate the occasion, a celebration was held at 106 Jefferson Hotel in Huntsville. Members from NAWIC’s National, Nashville and Greater Birmingham chapters witnessed as chartering members were sworn in.

North Alabama

Among the eight women inducted as the inaugural North Alabama Board of Directors was HPM‘s Sarah Logan, who is serving as the chapter’s first Vice President. Amidst her colleagues, Sarah is known for providing exemplary project management services, most recently completing a dual-facility renovation project at Drake State Community & Technical College.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve as the inaugural Vice President for the NAWIC North Alabama Chapter #396″, said Sarah. “More than anything, I look forward to connecting with fellow females in the industry as we link arms to pursue and advocate for meaningful opportunities for women in construction.”

Additional officers for the inaugural calendar year include Sara Beth Wilcox as President, Alexa Toler as President-Elect, Mary Seldon Luther as Secretary, Kasi Phillips as Treasurer, and Maurene Hanner and Andrea Simpson as Directors.

NAWIC was created by 16 founding members in the Fort Worth area in 1953. The organization’s mission from day one remains its purpose today: to advocate for the value and impact of women in construction. With more than 115 chapters across the nation, the organization has grown exponentially over the past 71 years. 

Megan Cordingly, Ph.D. Promoted to Senior Business Analytics Manager

An integral part of HPM’s Operations team, Megan Cordingly, Ph.D. has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence and a keen understanding of the intricacies of business analytics. Her expertise in data visualization and ability to translate complex insights into actionable strategies have significantly contributed to HPM’s ability to provide accurate and digestible reporting metrics to our clients, project teams and company leadership. Because of her dedication and contribution to the continued success of our company, she has been promoted to Senior Business Analytics Manager.

Megan joined HPM in 2022. Throughout her tenure, she has been instrumental in streamlining internal processes, resulting in significant improvements in efficiency and productivity. For example, she transformed HPM’s accounts receivable reporting by automating and digitizing the process. She was also instrumental in overhauling and improving the marketing quarterly checklist, allowing the marketing team to access vital project information, while combining historical data through a custom marketing dashboard. This allows the team to better pinpoint arising opportunities. In addition, she has worked with numerous project teams to develop custom dashboards that effectively deliver the information needed by our clients.

In her new role, Megan will lead efforts to create a comprehensive data analytics program for HPM that will support the continued evolution and growth of the company. Her key responsibilities will include driving the vision and strategies for collecting, managing and analyzing data while deploying cutting-edge visualization tools to automate reporting and enhance decision-making.

The initiatives led by Megan will be critical to HPM’s continued evolution as a technologically innovative company that leverages real-time data to identify trends and patterns valuable to predictive analytics efforts that can then be delivered as actionable insights, driving our project teams and our clients to success.

Megan and her husband David are the proud owners of two Great Danes, Shadow and Grace. In her spare time, Megan enjoys kayaking, growing vegetables in her backyard and spending time with family and friends.

March Madness: Community Involvement Version

The month of March has been full of community involvement opportunities at HPM. We are grateful for the multitude of organizations that exist to better the communities in which we live and work. Whether rolling up our sleeves to cook chili, attending events or hitting the golf course, it has been a privilege to support outstanding causes as a team across our footprint. Take a moment to learn more about the dedicated organizations we partnered with this month!

It’s Better than Good… It’s Exceptional

HPM’s Birmingham office kicked off the month with a strong start at The Exceptional Foundation‘s 20th Annual Chili Cookoff. With over 70 participating teams, the event saw unprecedented involvement this year. On top of supporting a great cause, we were proud to take home third place for our “HPM’s Chili Madness” recipe. The Exceptional Foundation provides year-round social and recreational services for adults and children with special needs. Their programs provide unique opportunities to promote healthy living, strong social relationships and community involvement. Learn more about getting involved with this impactful organization in the Magic City.

community involvement

Beat Cancer, Eat Chili!

The following weekend, HPM’s Mobile team brought their chili game in support of the American Cancer Society. The group went all out for the theme, kept their eyes on the prize, and, most importantly, raised funds for a life-saving cause. As an added bonus, we defended our reigning champion status, taking home first place in our category. Thank you, ACS for allowing us to partner with you in your valiant effort to find a cure. Be sure to check out the organization’s volunteer opportunities.

community involvement

Tomorrow’s Construction Leaders

HPM team members, Melissa Bradley and Sara Chapman participated in Read Across Montgomery Public Schools Week. The district added an exciting twist, focusing on career exploration through reading. Melissa and Sara leveraged this occasion to teach first graders about the many job opportunities in the construction field. They read the children’s book “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site”, and conducted a coloring activity centered around hard hat safety. It was a privilege to spend time with the next generation of leaders. Thank you, Forest Avenue Magnet Elementary School for having us!

community involvement

Bold Futures

Next on the agenda was sponsoring and attending Girls Inc.‘s Bold Futures Breakfast. Participants in the program, ranging from fourth-grade to high-school seniors shared stories of the organization’s impact on their personal confidence, character and career goals. Girls Inc. equips girls and young women to reach their full potential while advocating with and for them to end inequity and discrimination. With a presence in more than 350 cities in the United States and Canada, there are endless ways to serve this world-changing organization. Find your affiliate and learn more about involvement opportunities.

community involvement

Shining Stars Gala

Our Texas team was pleased to support Round Rock ISD‘s 23rd annual Shining Stars Gala, “An Evening in Paradise!” Attendees gathered to celebrate the district’s successful growth strides while raising support for continued progress in the years to come. HPM considers it a great privilege to be a part of the vibrant, thriving community of Round Rock, TX.

community involvement

Leading with the Lions

Last, but certainly not least, our Huntsville team participated in UNA‘s North Alabama Football Golf Tournament. Proceeds from the event will benefit the university’s upcoming project, Bank Independent Stadium, for which HPM is providing program management and owners’ representation services. We look forward to continuing to interact with the Florence/Shoals community as this project is brought to life!

community involvement

From Barbie to Business: Defining Success from a Doll (and Other Unlikely Sources)

By: Andi Sims, Vice President of Business Development, HPM

“It is literally impossible to be a woman…we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.” — Gloria (America Ferrera)

As we continue to celebrate the achievements of women through the focus on Women’s History Month in March, I would be neglectful in my own acknowledgement of the occasion if I didn’t pause to reflect on the commercial and artistic success of last summer’s blockbuster movie, Barbie, and its effect on me personally and professionally.

It may come as no surprise to most who know me well that I was a “Barbie girl.”  In fact, my childhood closet doubled as my own makeshift Barbie Dreamhouse, complete with multi-level rooms, cobbled-together furniture and furnishings, and make-believe scenes and sets of my own.

In my little-girl imagination, Barbie could be anything.  Therefore, I could be anything!

At this point, you can only guess I was stoked to hear of the Barbie movie’s premiere and its kitschy spin on my childhood obsession.  Seemingly like the movie producers, I too grew up with a fairly healthy view of Barbie and her potential.  Sure, she probably contributed to the body dysmorphia I experienced as a teenager and young adult, but her implied confidence, diverse talents, and obvious independence eclipsed any cognitive dissonance I experienced toward her social stereotypes of women and their resulting oppression of my gender and our roles in society.

My Barbies actually got out of the closet “Dreamhouse” and literally got dirty.  My parents had just built our family home in the late 1970s and couldn’t complete the landscaping for several years. So, my brother and I had unlimited access to piles of dirt, sand, rocks, and debris.  It was a wonderland for his GI Joes and my Barbies – who regularly intermingled in pretend worlds of grand adventures, power struggles, intense battles, and the occasional social extravaganza. (Sorry, Ken…my Barbies hung out with heroes!)

Fortuitously (or maybe not?), my brother made a career of the US Army, and like most women, I became many different things…

Banker. Homeowner. Writer. Ballet teacher. Wife. Marketing director. Public relations consultant. Mom. Volunteer. Business owner. Project manager. Salesperson. Editor. Non-profit executive. Arts advocate. Sunday school teacher. Landlord. Long-distance runner. Political campaigner. Researcher. Disney expert. Travel blogger. Football and golf mom. Social media influencer. Career coach. Spokesperson. Fundraiser. Master scheduler. World traveler. Keynote speaker. Vice President. Mentor. Mother-in-law. Board member. Business developer. Frequent flyer. Grandmother.

Certainly, my life and my career have never resembled a straight line or a ladder typically thought of in plotting one’s vocation or in career mapping. Actually, if you laid out my path chronologically, it would look more like the childhood game of “Chutes and Ladders.”

Now, as I ready myself to speak at a women’s conference later this spring, I’m looking backwards and forwards in my career to find patterns and processes for others possibly to emulate.

But if I’m honest with myself, my course looks as confusing and as replicable as a plate of spaghetti!

Maybe it was the season of my life. Perhaps it was my priorities or those of my family. Maybe it was just the right role or opportunity to make a difference or to achieve a milestone.  Maybe it was simply some needed income or a welcomed distraction.

Sometimes, I took two steps forward or was called to the front of the line by someone else. At times, I stepped back or even got out of the game entirely because of choices my husband and I made together. I even turned the gameboard sideways and upside down to take positions or go into industries in which I never thought I would work. And on occasion, it was because I was quite intentional and worked hard to make it happen.

However you look at it, my path hasn’t been traditional or typical, but it’s been successful in the aggregate because I took calculated risks and pivoted when things simply didn’t go my way. I learned from mistakes and reinvented or reinvested in myself when it was appropriate or prudent. Each role has provided me with skills and experiences – no matter how mundane or seemingly unsuccessful they were at the time — which have knitted together my value beyond a predictable and procedural career journey.

It’s been employers, clients, colleagues, family and friends who recognize that unorthodox value in me and my life experiences and who have benefitted from my resulting confidence, diverse talents, and independence – just like the Barbie from my childhood and in the movie depicts.

Everyone doesn’t see or recognize my worth, and that’s okay. I have to expend my resources of time and energy on those who do. And I can’t waste any of it on the voices – internal or external.  (You know the ones.)

As a woman, your value also is intrinsically and inextricably tied to all of the roles you play in your life and all of the experiences you’ve encountered thus far. That’s why work-life integration versus work-life balance is more conducive to the female career path. (But that’s a blogpost for another occasion.)

Like the purpose of the Barbie doll and the theme of the Barbie movie, you are so much more than the sum of your parts or the collection of work experience on your resume. In a world where we’re told we’re nothing if we’re not extraordinary, I encourage you to look back and peer ahead in your life and in your career to find your unique value in everything you are, were, and will be.  Then, learn how to advocate for yourself and for others.

Yes, it’s difficult for everyone in business and in life, but it’s particularly hard for women who are expected to have it all but not be too much. The Barbie movie and particularly America Ferrara’s role of Gloria aptly expressed our collective sigh as women with, “I’m just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don’t even know.”

I don’t know either, but I’m going to keep trying everyday to make it better for my daughter, my granddaughter, and for you. Because isn’t that what I was made for?

Project Controls Manager Making Waves for Females in Construction

Project Controls Manager, Dr. Anusree Saseendran started her career with HPM as a Project Controls Intern in 2020. Today, she manages a $500 million budget, meticulously tracking and safeguarding the investments of her client. With a Ph.D. in Construction Management from Texas A&M University, Anu is uniquely equipped to position owners to realize their goals. To celebrate Women in Construction Week, we sat down with Anu to discuss her career journey.

What drew you to the industry? Did you have reservations about pursuing a career in construction as a woman?

My interest in the construction industry stemmed directly from my upbringing in the Middle East, where construction was unavoidable and ubiquitous. I was repeatedly cautioned against this because of the industry’s reputation for being unwelcoming toward women. Instead of deterring me, these warnings only fueled my determination to prove that I could succeed in it.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

In my role in Project Controls, I find immense satisfaction in working with numbers and spreadsheets. I gather data from various sources, process and analyze it in rows and columns, and piece it together like a puzzle to grasp the broader picture. This aspect of my work makes for a dynamic and engaging work environment where each day presents new and unique challenges — essentially, endless puzzles to solve! I also find great reward in the tangible, real-time impact of my efforts, such as streamlining processes and facilitating cost savings for the owner.

How have you overcome setbacks or stereotypes in a male-dominated industry?

One of the best pieces of advice that I have been given upon joining the construction workforce is ‘don’t be afraid to ask questions, but also educate yourself on the subject matter’. Oftentimes, there is a lot of focus on encouraging women to raise their hands more frequently and ask more questions. In my opinion, it is infinitely more important for each of us to be responsible for our continuous learning. It is up to us to stay curious and remain updated on the latest trends and best practices to remain competitive in our field. Asking questions is just one aspect of that. I have also found pursuing education and training opportunities offered both within HPM and externally to be immensely valuable.

Project Controls

What would you tell a young female considering a career in construction?

Be resilient: Recognize that the construction industry can be challenging at times, but don’t let setbacks or obstacles deter you from pursuing your goals. Give yourself permission to fail and learn from your mistakes.

Seek mentorship: Find mentors both within HPM and outside of it. This will help you learn about job opportunities, gain valuable insights, and expand your support system. Mentors can provide guidance, support, and advice as you navigate your career path.

Explore: The image that comes to mind when you think of a job in construction is that of a person wearing PPE on a jobsite. There is so much more to construction than sitework. Take the time to research different career paths within the industry. Find your passion and pursue opportunities that best fit your interests and skills.

What is your hope for the future of women in construction?

Working in construction has sometimes been an isolating experience for me as a woman. I hope that as more women pursue their careers in this field, and as the number of women in construction leadership positions increase, this issue becomes a thing of the past.

How are you uniquely able to make an impact on the industry as a female?

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I am able to serve as an advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity. By raising awareness of gender disparities and advocating for inclusive practices, I am helping to create a more equitable and welcoming industry for the future. Performing well and advancing in my career in construction enables me to inspire other women to follow in my path by challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about careers in construction.

HPM Celebrates 26th Annual Women in Construction Week

HPM is pleased to celebrate Women in Construction Week, an annual observance initiated by the National Association of Women in Construction March 3-9. The first Women in Construction Week was held in 1998. Awareness of the observance has increased exponentially over the past 26 years. Today, men and women in the construction industry recognize this week nationwide. This is an important time for construction companies of all shapes and sizes to show support for their female employees.

Women in Construction Week Events

The National Association of Women in Construction offers virtual events each day of the week, as well as events by region. This year’s topics of conversation include opportunities for tradeswomen, DE&I and leadership in the industry.

In addition to encouraging employees to attend NAWIC events, HPM is hosting an internal event curated for female employees. Women across the company’s footprint plan to participate in a virtual workshop Elevating Confidence and Building Leaders. The course is centered around navigating a male-dominated field as a woman. Emotional intelligence skills such as self-awareness, assertiveness and empathy are incorporated into the curriculum, as well as leadership skill building. HPM’s core values also inform the content.

Women in Construction Week

Building Women

The steering committee of HPM’s Building Women initiative is hosting the workshop. Building Women was created in early 2023 in effort to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace, where everyone feels welcome and valued. The group holds professional development, networking, and community service events throughout the year. HPM’s female employees enjoy a unique camaraderie as a result of the professional and relational opportunities Building Women provides.

The Forum

In October, HPM hosted the Inaugural Building Women Forum. Attendees found the opportunity to gather in one place with their female colleagues to be invaluable. Company leadership presented on various topics impacting females in the workforce, imparting wisdom, vision and inspiration, including self-advocacy in the workplace, work-life integration, strategic communication and more. HPM is committed to continuing this forum, providing an equitable platform to discuss challenges related to the ever-evolving corporate landscape and providing innovative solutions for advancing women within the company and beyond.

Women in Construction Week

Ready to discuss your next project?