Pablo Bonnin is a Project Engineer at Bulley & Andrews, LLC. He is also the Co-founder & Principal of MAR Development Group, a privately held business dedicated to providing high quality project management and customized mobile solutions for the real estate and construction industries. Pablo has both a Master of Architecture and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Illinois. You can find Pablo on Linkedin here and Twitter here.
1. Most job postings cite “X” years of relevant work experience and specific education criteria as requirements to be considered for the position. With this in mind, what prior work experiences and degrees/certifications/training helped prepare you for your current role?
I don’t believe relevant [work] experience starts the day you begin your first job; there are many life experiences during adolescence and early adulthood that can shape your character to navigate this world effectively – professional environment included. I studied architecture and business administration but have always maintained strong interest in many subjects. Internships in architecture and real estate and a couple of years working “professionally” have led me to my current role as a project engineer for a general contractor in Chicago.
1B. What (if any) additional knowledge or skills that you don’t currently have would make you even better at your job?
I suppose more hands on experience in construction at the ground level would allow me to perform better in project management – so that’s exactly what I’m working towards.
2. Some jobs require the incumbent to be very analytical. Others require one to be a strong communicator, and others still require traits like patience, the ability to multitask, self-directedness, comfort with ambiguity, and exceptional attention to detail. Are there any behaviors and/or attributes that you would say are essential to performing the work that you do?
Can I say all? Serving as a project manager or construction manager requires one to be very detail oriented, understand the task at hand from every trade group, be able to relate it to the bigger picture (and know how it may affect the budget/schedule months down the road), manage contracts, keep meticulous records, and above all communicate effectively with all parties involved; architect, owner’s rep, subs…etc. In the end, you are responsible for the entire construction effort – from precon to occupancy.
3. Jobs guru Lou Adler says there are only 4 job types of jobs in the world (producers, improvers, builders, and thinkers). Which type of job are you in?
Builders – I know I’m here because I wouldn’t feel fulfilled unless I was truly creating something. And in part a thinker, because everything we build has to tie into the urban fabric in a positive way and improve people’s lives.
4. Does your job involve either directly or indirectly supervising or managing people? If so, how many direct (or indirect) reports do you have?
Sure, it includes overseeing the efforts of dozens of trade groups (steel erectors, stone masons, carpenters…etc.) and potentially hundreds of people – managing thousands of moving pieces and culminating at the completion of a building for the owner’s benefit.
5. How does what you do impact the business? Think complexity (different types of impacts) and scale (degree of impact). Put another way: Who and what would be impacted if your job wasn’t being done well, and why would it matter that they were impacted?
Currently, I assist the senior project manager in doing his job better. With large projects, there is simply too much for one person to handle. That’s where I come in and help alleviate workload while providing a second perspective.
6. Is your job safe? Rate its safety on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “seated all day in an air conditioned vault” and 10 being “I’m an astronaut going into space”. If your job isn’t safe, what working conditions (specifically) make it hazardous?
I spend my time in the office and out on the field, and certainly the field can be dangerous. I took safety training courses at the beginning to learn best and safe practices. If someone gets hurt on the job site, I’m responsible. With so many moving pieces [literally too], working in changing weather conditions, and having to expect the unexpected, one cannot get too comfortable. You have to be sharp.
7. Is there anything I missed that people should know about your job? Is there anything else you want to say about what you do?
It’s fun to work with people, and I learn best through conversation and practice. In the end, I can see my project come to life and be proud of the work I did.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.