Category: Municipalities

HPM Johnson Brings Holistic Program Management Services to Georgia

HPM and Atlanta-based Johnson Construction Services have announced a structured joint venture as HPM Johnson. The strategic partnership delivers holistic and integrated program management, flexible and scalable owner’s representation, and a range of services across the construction lifecycle for new and ongoing projects throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area, throughout Georgia and the Southeast.

Dedicated to all aspects of program management, HPM Johnson provides assessment, planning, contracting and procurement, design and construction management, project controls and move and transition coordination — through to audit, occupancy and closeout. Its approach to program management incorporates a cyclical pattern of assessment and planning to bring about a more effective and efficient program management plan, and ultimately save time and money for its clients.

“Both individually and collectively, the team behind HPM Johnson already possesses a proven track record of program management triumphs within the Atlanta market,” said Johnson Construction Services President and CEO Artis Johnson, an Atlanta native. “Our advantage now lies in our partnership’s ability to execute projects of any size or complexity, while offering access to management and leadership only a firm our size can offer.”


Johnson continued, “Relationships are the driving force behind our business, and our purpose is to represent the interests of owners and bring home success for our clients.”

HPM Johnson brings a combined 55 years of program management experience to Metro Atlanta, having worked with several high-profile clients in the market. Johnson Construction Services was founded in Atlanta in 1993, with a portfolio of projects ranging from education facilities to historic preservation projects. HPM originated out of an 80-year-old Hoar Construction and began our owner’s representation services more than 25 years ago, serving K-12, higher education, local and municipal entities, industrial and manufacturing, and additional sectors throughout the Southeast. After connecting and discovering similarities in each company’s core values and business approaches, HPM President Ryan Austin and Johnson decided to merge services in the Atlanta area and began pursuing partnership opportunities in early 2022.

Should You Consider a Specialist for Your Construction Audit?

By Vinson Chapman, Vice President, Audit & Contract Services

Auditing construction contracts can be complex. The expertise involved is significantly different than typical audits performed by CPAs and involves evaluating subjective estimates, identifying ambiguous terms of the contract, and noting contractual incentives where the owner’s and the general contractor’s interests may not be aligned. A construction audit also requires obtaining and evaluating all the appropriate evidence to support the audit findings. This is not legal work or work performed by an architect.

Vinson Chapman

A detailed analytical review of completed contracts and contracts in progress will provide meaningful information and focus on potential problem areas. Our Construction Audit and Contract Services combine the skills of owner’s advocate, owner’s representative, program manager, and construction auditor.

Case Study Example

In the case of one independent K-12 school district in northeast Texas, the review of an extension of time by the general contractor/CM and a general financial audit required the expertise of HPM’s hybrid Contract Services, which included both project management and audit expertise.

When the GC/CM fell behind on schedule, their default was to request additional time through weather delays in order to avoid liquidated damages and redirect attention to the reality of the problem areas.

The project management audit review of the contract language and the potential weather impact on the critical path of the schedule resulted in the following:

  1. The contractor did not provide the required documentation during construction for their intent to make a claim for more time per the contract.
  2. The contractor did not provide evidence that there were abnormal (greater than average rain days) periods of weather. This data is measurable and a typical required deliverable in a change order request by the GC/CM.
  3. The contractor’s critical path schedule was not affected by any claimed abnormal weather after review of the installation of work.

Project management issues were the reason behind a significant portion of the Contract Services Audit resulting in a credit back to the school district from the General Contractor/CM. Additional monies were recovered from the financial audit resulting in a total of over 5% of the construction contract value being returned to the district.

This example is somewhat typical of our standard audit findings of between 1% and 5% of the contract value. Obviously, savings of this type are well in excess of the fee to perform these hybrid services. The expertise for these services was not available from the district’s attorney or architect, and without the added HPM support, the district couldn’t defend the GC/CM’s requests. Our specialized knowledge and experience made it possible.

HPM provides peace of mind and confidence you paid the right price for your construction spend.

HPM’s audit service professionals offer expertise to secure fair negotiation and billing for client contracts. We perform comprehensive reviews of job costs that often lead to a substantial net savings of project costs. As always, if we can be of service, please do not hesitate to reach out. Click the button below to be directed to our page.

HPM Talks Webinar: Emerging Leaders

HPM’s Emerging Leaders Program offers undergraduate students a unique perspective of the planning, design, and construction process through hands-on experience at our projects across the country. Medora Gaddes oversees the program and, as a former HPM co-op herself, recognizes the immense value of experiential learning. During this HPM Talks webinar, Gaddes and co-ops Iriana Molusky and Ben Smith discuss their experience in the program and what they’ve learned along the way.

Webinar Details:

July 29, 2021 at 11AM CST


Medora Gaddes, Assistant Project Manager and Talent Development Coordinator at HPM
Medora is not only an Assistant Project Manager at HPM, but also our Talent Development Coordinator and heads up the Emerging Leaders Program. She herself was a co-op with HPM before becoming a full-time employee. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in civil engineering, she joined HPM as a project engineer and as a full-time HPM team member in the Huntsville office.

Q&A from Webinar

  1. We heard about precon and program management. What is field coordination like as a co-op?

Ben Smith: During the field rotation as a co-op, a day usually consists of walking with the Field Coordinator (FC) as he makes his rounds around the job site to track the progress of construction and look for items that might need to be addressed with the owner/general contractor. For me, this was a time to pick the brain of the FC and ask as many questions as possible about what is happening on the job site and why/how they are doing it. You can be given miscellaneous tasks that help the FC with his job. For instance, one of the tasks I was given was keeping track of the progression of concrete pours and ceiling paint in a large warehouse. The FC used this information to update the weekly report that was sent to the owner. Other things I experienced were on-site meetings with the general contractor and the owner, taking meeting minutes to send to the HPM team on your specific project, site walks with the general contractor and owner about issues that need resolving, and much more. The field rotation is a good way to get a feel for what a construction site looks like and how things are run during construction both from the Construction Management side and the General Contractor side of things.

2. My major is Architectural Engineering. I have learned that very few companies are hiring ArchEs or understand what ArchE is. Does HPM recruit ArchE’s and how are they used?

Medora Gaddes: HPM is less focused on your specific major and more focused on what you are interested in doing upon graduation. Obviously your major plays a role in that, but I’ll give you an example. I have a bachelor’s in civil engineering and if I wanted to do structural design as a career path, HPM would likely not be the best fit for my interests because HPM does not have engineers designing and stamping drawings. HPM has been a good fit for me since I was interested in the management of design and construction upon graduation. My civil engineering degree has supported my ability to manage, understand, and communicate the civil aspects of design and construction. So ask yourself if you want to work for a company that will utilize the technical skills of architectural engineering and likely the skills you’ve learned in school? Or do you see your architectural engineering degree as a foundation or launching pad into a different career path? I think every engineer can ask themselves this question and it will help you be intentional with your job search. Does HPM hire architectural engineers who are going to use their technical engineering skills? Not at this time. Does HPM hire architectural engineers interested in the management of design and construction? Absolutely!

Co-Ops Learn to Lead Through Summer Seminar

HPM’s Emerging Leaders program provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to explore a career in program management while gaining real world experience. As they work alongside industry experts, these students discover the business fundamentals needed to accelerate their careers. Last week, our co-ops gathered at our Birmingham office for the Emerging Leaders Summer Seminar, a two-day learning-to-lead workshop.

Assistant Project Manager Medora Gaddes oversees HPM’s talent recruiting process and the Emerging Leaders program. As a former co-op herself, Gaddes recognized that student employees are not only interested in their role or assignment, but in the company’s leadership and goals, as well.

Medora Gaddes

“When you go to work anywhere, there is always a learning curve of figuring out what a company does, who runs the company and how they run it, and figuring out how that aligns with you as an individual,” she said. “I want our Emerging Leaders to get ahead of this while they are still in school and completing their internship or co-op rotation with us. This is important as they navigate the big questions of what do I want to do and what type of company do I want to work for when I graduate.”

During the Summer Seminar, attendees gained invaluable insight from members of our leadership team and sharpened their own leadership skills through team activities and goal planning.

“I had a lot of takeaways from the Summer Seminar, but my biggest take away was the art of leadership,” said Ben Smith, an HPM co-op from the University of Alabama. “We were not only taught what it means to be a leader, but how we can be leaders in the workplace and in our everyday lives. This seminar taught us a lot about ourselves and how we can utilize our skills and personalities to lead in a way that puts our team and others ahead of ourselves.”

HPM has offices and projects across the country, so the seminar also provides the co-ops with an opportunity to network with students who might not be assigned to a project in their area.

“I would encourage all co-op students to attend the summer seminar as it is a professional development opportunity that is relevant to our co-op and our academic success,” said UA student Iriana Molusky. “Spending time with other co-ops was a one-time opportunity to meet and learn from each other.”

Gaddes hopes seminar attendees will continue to build on what they learned and use their new leadership skills no matter what career path they choose.

“I think we all can look back on our early leadership growth and identify both people that invested in us and skills that we wish we had developed earlier,” Gaddes said. “I hope that through the seminar, the Emerging Leaders start connecting with like-minded individuals, build relationships with leaders in the industry, and sharpen leadership skills that will kickstart their personal growth.”

Interested in HPM’s co-op and internship program? Learn more on our Emerging Leaders page.

Working Together to Get the Job Done

As program managers, we serve as the eyes and ears of the owner, ensuring that their best interests are at the heart of every decision. We manage all resources as if they were our own – which includes holding designers, suppliers, contractors, decision makers and ourselves accountable to the commitments made. Sometimes, other project partners involved come from previous experiences where working with a program management firm felt more like an additional layer of red tape.

This was the case for Carmon Construction Inc. (CCI), a construction company based in Albertville, Alabama, which had previously worked with firms that either forbid them from corresponding with the owner or architect or added a fee for doing so. When we partnered with CCI on the City of Albertville’s Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater, they found HPM to be quite different.

“To begin, HPM stayed on top of every problem or change requested by the owner, analyzed how it would affect the schedule and produced an independent cost breakdown with written analysis to the architect and owner,” said Carmon Smith, founder of CCI. “This proved to be very helpful. With this being a large project, site-wise, and with the owner choosing to contract with 10 or more separate contractors, orderly coordination of these was almost impossible. HPM did everything they possibly could to coordinate and get each contractor to do their part at the time it was needed.”

The Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater is a big deal in every sense of the word. The park includes five softball fields with one championship field, four baseball fields with one championship field and five multi-purpose fields, each with all-weather turf. It includes a 100,000 plus square foot recreation center with an indoor eight-lane competition pool, multiple basketball courts and an outdoor water park with a lazy river feature.

The park also features four miles of hiking trails, open grass areas, an RV Park and a 7,000+ seating capacity amphitheater equipped to host national touring acts and regional or community events. The 135-acre sports, leisure, wellness and entertainment venue is expected to create more than 1,200 jobs while generating an economic impact of $120 million annually.

No matter the size or scope of any project, clear communication among the various teams involved is a requisite of success. HPM furnished a complete table of contents for close out of the project in the first third of the project and CCI came to consider us as a partner in building the recreation center and amphitheater. The complex program schedule featured numerous logistical challenges ranging from complications due to the pandemic to one of the rainiest winters in North Alabama history, but our teams worked together to ensure that the program was a success.

“Carmon Construction was driving their work from day one,” said Caleb Camp, HPM project manager. “They had strong field leadership, obviously developed over a long career in the construction industry. Carmon Smith held his company to high standards and represented Albertville with class. The City of Albertville has a reputation and history of providing excellence to its citizens, and Carmon Construction delivered the facilities to continue this tradition.”

We strive to be the perfect partner, helping every group on every project achieve its goals. Together with CCI, we put the owner first and got the job done, delivering a remarkable recreation destination to a region that will enjoy its benefits for many years to come.

HPM to Serve as Official Program Management Partner of the World Games 2022

When Birmingham, Alabama, hosts The World Games in July 2022, the world will be watching. An anticipated 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries will participate in more than 30 different sports at unique venues across the Magic City, uniting global fans with the Birmingham community. With less than 500 days to go before competition officially begins, HPM is proud to announce that we will serve as the Official Program Management Partner of The Games

HPM has developed into a nationally recognized leader in program management, representing owners in managing more than a billion dollars in construction volume a year. HPM’s portfolio spans the country, including work on Protective Stadium and Legacy Arena in Birmingham, throughout the University of Alabama campus including the latest renovations to Bryant-Denny Stadium, within Major League Baseball for the spring training homes of the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals, the Houston Astros and the New York Mets, for sports facilities at Texas Christian University, and many high-profile projects for global clients throughout the U.S. such as Airbus and FedEx. In partnership with The World Games 2022, HPM will provide construction management services, with a focus on temporary fields of play for The Games such as beach handball courts, canopy piloting field of play, and boules courts.  

 “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for me personally and for our company as a whole,” said Ryan Austin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at HPM. “We’re thrilled to have the chance to contribute to a once-in-a-lifetime event for the Birmingham community, one that so many have already worked hard to make happen. We’re eager to get started and be part of the process.” 

In addition to the firm’s partnership, The World Games Committee announced today that Austin will serve on the board of directors, joining Brian Barr of Brasfield & Gorrie. The Birmingham-based construction firm has been named the Official Construction Partner of The Games.  

Originally from Oxford, Alabama,  Austin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Auburn University and is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Construction Auditor. He also serves on the boards for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama, Cornerstone School, and Ingram State.  

“Brasfield & Gorrie and HPM are world-class construction and program management firms, and their partnership with World Games 2022 is so valuable,” said The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers. “But even more valuable is the addition of Brian Barr and Ryan Austin to our board of directors. These two gentlemen are leaders in our community and state. Brian will serve as the Chair of our Construction Committee and Ryan serve as Vice Chair.” 


The World Games 2022 Birmingham will be an extraordinary Olympic-style sports experience where elite athletes from all over the world compete for gold in 34 unique, multi-disciplinary sports. Featuring 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries, the international event will unite global fans with the Birmingham community in 25+ unique venues around the greater metropolitan area. The World Games 2022 Birmingham, which marks the 40th anniversary of the event, will take place from July 7-17, 2022 and will generate an estimated $256 million in economic impact. The World Games was established by the International World Games Association, an organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee. For more information visit or on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter. 

HPM Serving as Owner’s Representative for Massive BJCC Expansion and Renovation Project

HPM is serving as the Owner’s Representative for the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority’s transformative sports and entertainment projects that are expected to play a leading role in the future of downtown Birmingham. 

Totaling $330 million, our firm is providing guidance and oversight for a building program that includes both the construction of a brand new 45,000-seat football stadium that will serve as the future home of the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) Blazers, as well as the comprehensive renovation and expansion of the 44-year-old Legacy Arena. Work is now underway on both projects, which are slated to deliver in Q4 2021. The project will position Birmingham as a top regional and national destination for meetings and conventions while also generating new opportunities to host a variety of top-tier sports and entertainment events. 

Protective Stadium project site

HPM was initially chosen as program manager to oversee the pre-construction phase of the Legacy Arena renovation before our overall scope of work was expanded. We are working with construction teams and project managers to serve as the eyes and ears for ownership on both initiatives, continuing our distinguished track record on high-profile capital projects across Alabama. HPM partnered with Steel City Services, a Birmingham firm specializing in project management services, to deliver the scope of services required for the projects. In addition to our assignment at BJCC, HPM is also overseeing ongoing renovations for Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama, and previously managed construction efforts for Regions Field in Birmingham. 

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with the BJCC Authority, which has been a trusted partner of ours for many years now,” said Mike Lanier, HPM president. “That history provides HPM with an integral understanding of the BJCC’s processes and overall vision for this campaign and allowed us to hit the ground running by developing a strategic plan that sets clear goals and benchmarks for all project partners. Our background in sports and public sector projects across Alabama made this assignment a natural fit, and we look forward to helping the BJCC and downtown Birmingham open a new chapter full of promise and possibility.”  

“The new stadium and modernized arena will be assets to the city of Birmingham for many years to come and we’re proud to work with a Birmingham-based company to see them through,” said Tad Snider, BJCC executive director and CEO since 2010. “These projects mean more opportunities for entertainment, sports, family entertainment, conventions and meetings, and the associated economic impact generated from these events that benefits the Magic City.” 

Originally opened in 1976, Legacy Arena is on track for a modernization initiative to ensure the facility will continue to serve the greater Birmingham area for the next generation. Renovations kicked off in the spring of 2020, with planned improvements including a new suite level, a new upper level club area, a variety of enhanced food and beverage options, new seating, a 360 degree ribbon board in the seating bowl and refurbished lobbies with state-of-the-art escalator and elevator systems. A modernized glass-and-steel façade will enhance the arena’s exterior appearance. The impact of the project was recently recognized with the NCAA awarding Birmingham and Legacy Arena the Men’s Basketball Division One first and second round dates for 2023 and the Division One Women’s Southern Regionals in 2025.  

Progress is also being made on Protective Stadium, a $174 million next-generation complex jointly funded by the BJCC Authority, City of Birmingham, Jefferson County, UAB and the Birmingham corporate community. Site work began in fall 2019, with construction work commencing in January. Its impressive main entrance will open onto a large open event plaza leading to a variety of retail and restaurant offerings that serve as an extension of the Uptown entertainment district. In addition to hosting Blazers home games, the stadium will also serve as a home for the AHSAA high school football state championship games on a rotating basis, the Ticketsmarter Birmingham Bowl, concerts and more. 

While construction for both Legacy Arena and Protective Stadium are on aggressive schedules, our team will work with all parties to ensure target deadlines and milestones stay on schedule. We are proud to be part of this project, which marks the first ground-up football stadium that HPM has worked on and our largest arena renovation contract to date. 

HPM’s work ethic leads to saved money, seen value, and sincere gratitude for St. Lucie County

When a company decides to hire HPM, you’re entrusting your project to us. We manage each step of our projects with honesty, transparency, and clear goals and are confident that our expertise will save you time, money, and resources. Our expert program managers have decades of combined experience, and we have a solid track record and portfolio to back up our promises to deliver. To ensure we are adding value to your project, we create a Value Add Log for each project that we manage. This record does what the name implies – lists how HPM’s management of a project has added value to the project and company as a whole.

For our client St. Lucie County, the project of renovating First Data Field provided a prestigious opportunity for HPM. First Data Field, the spring training home of the New York Mets, located in Port St. Lucie, Florida, needed facility renovations and improvements. St. Lucie County hired HPM to manage the construction of $55 million in renovations and improvements. The facility renovations included a walkway connector around the outfield, a 50-room players’ academy, and three little league baseball and softball fields for tournaments and public use.     

HPM worked diligently to save St. Lucie County money in the facility renovations. Since HPM was hired by St. Lucie County and not the Mets team, HPM operated with the county’s best interest in mind. A significant way that HPM added value to the project was by taking time to negotiate with the Mets, who had set the scope of the project at $67 million, to achieve the county’s budget of $55 million.

When HPM sent the original add log to St. Lucie County for approval, they ended up sending it back with a note: They believed and had calculated that HPM had added more value than we had reported. After walking through some of their additional items, senior program manager Alan Butler was pleasantly taken aback.

“The items that St. Lucie County had wanted to add to the add log were things that we at HPM just did, almost like second nature. We didn’t intentionally leave items out. In our eyes, the things St. Lucie had listed were just part of our culture and who we are at HPM. It was amazing to see a client recognize that value, and then want to quantify and add those examples to the report.”

HPM’s work was able to stand on its own with the full and esteemed Value Add Log for this project. When clients see the value that you didn’t know to recognize, that’s when you know you’ve hit it out of the park.

Alan Butler stated, “It’s not common to see a client want to recognize you for more than what you report. So when that happens, it’s something to take notice of in our company. The Value Add Log tells a greater story than we would have even known. Our clients for this project left with gratitude for HPM and said they wouldn’t begin projects in the future without reaching out to us.”

Through the addition of the items listed in the Value Add log, HPM saved St. Lucie County over 1 million dollars.

Soaring to New Heights with a Preconstruction Veteran

Del Buck

In an effort to maximize the company’s effectiveness and efficiency in its preconstruction services, HPM recently hired Del Buck as the Vice President of Preconstruction. In this position, Del is responsible for overseeing the preconstruction services of all HPM program management assignments.

Del has an extensive history of more than 30 years in the AEC industry, including both national and international leadership in preconstruction. His construction experience reaches to Africa, South America, Europe, Nepal, China, South Korea, New Zealand, and the Middle East. As a result of his work experience and attendance at both the American Institute of Estimating and the FMI Leadership Program, Del possesses the expertise to lead HPM in its preconstruction services.   

Buck’s extensive history in preconstruction services includes involvement in multiple real estate sectors. In his preconstruction experience, he has managed an annual project bid volume totaling more than $3 billion for assignments in sectors such as retail, higher education, industrial, multifamily, K-12, medical, and government.

“Del’s problem- solving skills, attention to detail, and organizational skills make him a fit leader in HPM’s preconstruction services,” stated Greg Ellis, Vice President of Program Development. Del stated, “The duties of my position match up well with the experience I gained throughout my career as a general contractor, and the ability to leverage that with HPM’s vast database of pricing technology will allow us to offer custom-produced services tailored for each owner’s budget and scheduling requirements.”

One of HPM’s core values is that each team member strives to be good stewards in terms of time, energy, and resources invested in projects. “Del’s breadth of knowledge and experience in the industry allows HPM to continue to strive to meet this goal in order to efficiently serve the company’s clients. His goal of relentless improvement and efficiency in preconstruction services will contribute to the company’s exceptional performance in program management,” stated Greg.  

“HPM considers Del to be an asset to the company, in terms of its growth and success. We believe Del’s ability to see through the GC lens combined with the advanced estimating technology and pricing databases at HPM will give us a competitive edge that cannot be replicated anywhere else.”

Mike Lanier, HPM President

HPM’s Beginnings: A History Built on Standing in the Gap (Part Two)

By Mike Lanier, President

Welcome back as we turn back time with our founding president reminding us in this two-part series about how HPM was founded and how it continues to grow. You can read Part One of this series posted earlier on our blog.

In 2013, HPM took to the skies and provided the much-needed boots on the ground in the US for the global aerospace company, Airbus. Our expert staff members embedded themselves within Airbus and became the client’s eyes and ears during the design and construction of their first US manufacturing facility, which has led us to other clients in the aerospace and aviation industry.

Along the time that HPM began making its impression in several industries signaled the time for the company to be organized into its own entity, and HPM was officially structured into an LLC, branded itself apart from the construction company, and offered services separate from industry norms.

Regions Field

A few years ago, HPM represented the City of Birmingham by managing the design and construction of a new minor league baseball stadium right in the middle of downtown which sparked a revitalization of the area. Now, we have lead the building of several new major and minor league baseball stadiums across the Southeast as well as numerous collegiate sports venues across the US.

As a part of our growth strategy, HPM acquired a construction audit and contracting firm which serves an impressive list of clients including Google, Caesar’s Entertainment, Southwest Airlines, Facebook and Landry’s.  The team criss-crosses the country involving themselves in clients’ contract negotiations; conducting interim and final audits to determine reimbursable costs, fees, savings and savings allocations; reviewing pay applications; calculating scheduled damages; and managing claims analysis and defense. We like to say that our audit and contract services provide clients with confidence knowing you paid the right price on your construction spend.

Today, HPMers serve global clients across the US from offices and project sites dotted throughout the country. Our clients continue to work with us on new projects because we have created deep, long-lasting relationships, and we continue to attract innovative and passionate talent because our work and our teams are meaningful, interesting and fun!

HPM was founded by leaders for leaders who lead at every level. We strive to be the perfect partner in every way so that our clients’ organizations achieve success.

My talented colleagues come from all walks of life and expertise – engineers, builders, estimators and designers work alongside accountants, business managers, communications professionals and administrative experts.  Every role is important in HPM’s success and our clients’ success.

I believe HPM employees are relationship-driven, problem solvers, and good stewards. We strive to have purpose in our lives and do the right things for our clients and our community. My colleagues take the time to truly get to know our clients and their businesses to provide that ultimate form of servant leadership – the trusted advisor.

Ready to discuss your next project?