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Vu Nguyen

Relentless Ally

Lighting the Path for a Diverse and Inclusive Industry

Vu Nguyen is a senior project manager for Howard S. Wright (HSW), a Balfour Beatty company, but he’s simultaneously so much more – a thoughtful mentor and a passionate advocate for creating a diverse, thriving community of construction professionals that reflect the communities where we live and work.

Throughout his sixteen-year career, Vu has found a calling not only as a leader within HSW but also as an advocate for his Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) peers within Balfour Beatty and the construction industry as a whole. The AAPI community still represents a disproportionate minority in construction, but Vu knows what a rewarding and exciting path it can be.

Vu is lighting that path, clearing the way for younger generations and building future success for both Balfour Beatty and his community.

A Passion for Education

Vu never planned to find his calling in construction. In 1994, his family emigrated from Vietnam as political refugees with the dream of providing Vu and his siblings with exceptional educational opportunities. Pursuing his own higher education was as much a privilege as it was an expectation.

“My siblings and I grew up with the mentality that because we had the opportunity to go to school, we were going to go to school,” Vu recalls. “Our parents were always drivers and supporters of our continuing education.”

Vu attended the University of Washington (UW) with sights set on engineering. It seemed like a natural fit – he had always loved building, designing and understanding complex systems. Soon, Vu discovered his passion for building design and pursued a dual degree in architecture and construction management.

He joined HSW as a project engineer shortly after graduating in 2007. Vu has been part of the Balfour Beatty team ever since, but his education left a lasting impact—one he hopes to share with future generations of construction professionals.

Giving Back as a Community Educator

At the start of his career with HSW, he knew few other Asian American professionals in the industry and even fewer in the company. According to a Build California study, AAPI representation in construction is disproportionately low – around 1.5% of the industry workforce despite comprising 5.7% of the U.S. population.

“I think it’s an issue of perspective in Asian American communities and not understanding the opportunities in construction,” Vu says. “Growing up, I thought of construction as the person swinging a hammer or digging dirt. That’s an important part of the industry, but just a fraction of much more.”

With that in mind, Vu has dedicated his personal time to speaking with and mentoring students in the Pacific Northwest and exposing them to opportunities in construction they might not have otherwise encountered.

“There are so many successful paths in construction,” Vu says. “You can be a designer. You can be an engineer. You can manage people, finances, planning and processes. These are rewarding careers that students often don’t know about.”

Vu volunteers with a mentorship program at UW where he is paired with undergraduate students who meet with him regularly to learn from his industry experience and seek education and career advice—all invaluable resources Vu wishes he had as a student.

He also volunteers as a construction industry panelist and attends events at his alma mater, where he can already see the industry changing for the better. Today, industry events and graduating classes display a greater diversity of genders and ethnicities, better representing the communities they will soon serve.

Growing into Leadership

Over his career, Vu has contributed to a wide range of major and special projects as well as others for the HSW Service Department in Seattle. That variety was a conscious effort to cultivate well-rounded construction experience.

Still, when considering his favorite past projects, he gravitates toward the most unique and challenging. And the projects often fit a distinct pattern: each presented opportunities for Vu to step up, assume new and unfamiliar aspects of leadership and learn new management strategies.

“One of my favorite projects is the UW Husky Stadium renovation,” Vu says. “We built the players’ locker rooms, the training facilities, the coaching offices – it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime projects that you feel privileged to have taken part in.”

Although Vu was a project engineer at the time, the project gave him ample opportunity to take on more advanced responsibilities.

A similar opportunity arose on the Seattle University Vi Hilbert Hall Student Housing project that further solidified Vu’s career growth. He had the opportunity to step up and assume new leadership responsibilities midway through the project, and he rose to the occasion. Although the project was challenging on all fronts, Vu led a team of young project engineers to deliver a beautiful new student residence in his community.

Vu also participated in Balfour Beatty’s 2022 Propel Leadership Program, where he and other West Coast peers spent a year learning valuable leadership skills. In addition, HSW leadership selected Vu as a Legacy Award recipient for 2022, signifying his lasting impact on HSW and his community.

Building a Stronger, More Inclusive Industry

Vu’s natural leadership also lends itself to his role as an AAPI leader and one of the founders of Balfour Beatty’s company-wide AAPI employee affinity group, REGAL (Reinforcing, Educating and Guiding Asian Leaders). As a leader within REGAL, Vu hopes to expand on work he’s doing in the Seattle community to reach students of color, particularly those within the AAPI community.

Vu is poised to play a key role in creating a more diverse industry for all, a robust pipeline of exceptional talent and strong representation and opportunities for Balfour Beatty’s AAPI teammates. 

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Alex Ramos

Relentless Ally

Striving for Safety

When thinking of construction safety, images of hard hats, protective glasses and neon vests come to mind. But safety encompasses so much more than personal protective equipment—every choice counts, and a split-second decision on a jobsite can change a life forever.

Alex Ramos, a safety, environmental and health manager for our civils operations in the Southeast, is passionate about making safety personal, constantly seeking to enhance his safety expertise and ensuring that all of his teammates, when faced with difficult decisions, are equipped to make the right choices.

Managing Across Miles

Balfour Beatty’s industry-leading commitment to safety was the primary factor that drew Alex to pursue a career with Balfour Beatty. Before joining our team, he worked for a safety consulting firm, but Balfour Beatty’s steadfast dedication to Zero Harm stood out from the pack and led him to join the business in 2017.

Today, Alex travels throughout the Southeast conducting safety audits, offering safety management guidance and providing ongoing training for our teammates and trade partners. Whether he is at our Harkers Island Bridge Replacement project in Harkers Island, North Carolina, the Effingham Parkway project in Rincon, Georgia, or any of the large-scale infrastructure projects on which he oversees safety, Alex can always be found with his sleeves rolled up, working tirelessly to ensure our teams and surrounding communities stay safe.

On any given day, Alex is responsible for managing safety across 10 or more jobsites in multiple states. Unlike a high-rise development in which workers remain within a relatively small geographic radius, crews on civil infrastructure projects are often spread out across many miles. This might make the task of managing safety daunting to some, but Alex has honed his training and audit practices to ensure no safety issue is overlooked. Many of Balfour Beatty’s safety requirements exceed those of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and Alex believes in his teammates’ leadership to maintain safe jobsites.

“Safety is more than just an aspect of what we do, it’s deeply woven into the culture at Balfour Beatty,” says Alex. “When it comes to keeping our jobsites safe, the key is teamwork. Just as it takes a team to complete a construction project, it takes a team to make sure each and every person on our jobsite and in the surrounding community stays safe.”

Alex is a firm believer that communication is the foundation to safety. Although Alex regularly visits the jobsites he manages, he can’t be everywhere at once. Because of this, he relies heavily on personal touchpoints with his teammates. Alex ensures that everyone on-site is empowered to contact him with questions or concerns but also trusts project engineers, project managers, superintendents and forepeople to effectively monitor safety.

While it is easy to get caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day operations, Alex encourages his teammates to regularly step back and look at the bigger picture of safety. Through a three-question call-and-response at the beginning of every meeting, Alex helps keep his teammates focused on safety fundamentals.

Question: Whose job is safety?
Answer: Mine.

Question: Are you committed to “Zero Harm”?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Who has the authority to stop work because of a safety concern?
Answer: I do.

“Keeping those three questions at the forefront of everyone’s mind ensures that we are all on the same page,” says Alex. “Whether I am on-site or not, our teams make sure that safety is always effectively communicated.”

Making Safety Inclusive

One of the most important steps to getting on the same page is ensuring everyone on our jobsites understands safety materials. According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly one in three construction workers identify as Hispanic/Latinx, and approximately half of construction laborers identify as Hispanic/Latinx. Translations of these essential materials allow our teams and partners to make informed, safe choices when faced with split-second decisions.

Alex, who is fluent in Spanish, has also gone above and beyond his day-to-day responsibilities by helping translate company-wide safety materials such as Toolbox Talks, training materials, jobsite signage and more. His efforts ensure we communicate with precision and accuracy to our diverse project teams and trade partners across our entire U.S. operations.

“These materials are vital to the success and safety of our projects. We can’t afford for anyone to miss this information,” Alex says. “Our teams need to be able to read and understand the information. Translating them is one way to make sure that’s possible.”

The Spanish translations of safety materials have been successful in maintaining greater cohesion and consistency for Balfour Beatty teams across the nation. Alex’s previous role as a safety consultant gave him an understanding of unique demographic and dialect needs across different regions, and he hopes to see safety materials translated into more languages in the future.

Continuing Safety Education

Alex’s passion for safety and desire to continue learning have inspired him to advance his education. Most recently, Alex earned his Associate Safety Professional (ASP) certification, a prerequisite of which was earning his associate degree in construction. The degree and certification processes were not easy; Alex studied and took classes on his own time, learning valuable lessons he brings with him each day to our jobsites.

“Ongoing safety training is crucial to our goal of achieving Zero Harm,” says Eric Yates, regional safety, environmental and health manager. “Alex’s initiative in pursuing and achieving the ASP certification demonstrates his continued commitment to improving both himself and our overall safety performance.”

Though proud to have achieved his ASP certification, Alex is far from finished. “I never dreamed I would get my degree or certification, but now that I know I can do it, why would I stop here?” He is excited to tackle his next endeavor: earning his Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification. The first step? Completing his bachelor’s degree.

An inclusive safety leader who is continuously raising the bar in our pursuit of Zero Harm, Alex Ramos knows first-hand that choices made in a split-second can save a life. And on his watch, those choices are sure to be safe ones.

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Michael Hite

Relentless Ally

Changing Skylines and Building Landmarks

Michael Hite will be the first to tell you that he’s not a musician.

Nevertheless, Michael conducts his own opera of sorts on each of his large-scale hospitality projects, skillfully coordinating client relationships, choreographing interactions between hundreds of trade partners and implementing a philosophy of start-to-finish operational excellence to deliver iconic hotels and convention centers.

As a former superintendent and now as a Field Operations Director, Michael has served Balfour Beatty’s hospitality clients in many markets across the U.S. No matter their location, these projects require the decades of experience, deep industry networks and trusted leadership that Michael brings to every development.

From Designer to Builder

When his collegiate education as an architect was already well underway, Michael realized the rise of digital design signaled a major change in the industry. Computers were a useful and efficient tool, but the artistry lost some of its magic for Michael when he couldn’t put pencil to paper.

He quickly changed course, realizing he wanted to build structures instead of designing them. After attending construction trade school for four years, he soon found himself working for a mechanical contractor in Florida on the Miami Beach Convention Center project.

“That was my first exposure to big jobs, strategic planning, the implications of large-scale projects and the choreography of it all,” Michael recalls. “I didn’t yet understand that I was on the precipice of my career, but I was amazed and intrigued by it.”

Michael began cultivating his expertise in large hospitality construction by intentionally seeking out mentorship opportunities to learn the unique complexities of this market. This soon led to a brush with destiny on Balfour Beatty’s Broward County Arena project—and a life-changing job opportunity soon thereafter.

The Best Experts in Any Geography

Nearly 30 years later, Michael is one of our leading national experts in hospitality construction and has led projects that have become household names in their communities such as the two-million-square-foot Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. The project brought his family to their now permanent home in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and remains one of the most iconic hospitality centers in the region, encompassing 460,000 square feet of convention space and 1,814 guest rooms.

Balfour Beatty identified a team of hospitality experts from across Florida and Texas to lead the project, each group contributing unique talents and perspectives but united by a common mission.

“The merging of our talent enabled us to deliver the best final product for our client,” Michael says. “Our strong, unifying culture makes it possible to send the right people to the right places for the right jobs.”

The “Mints on Pillows” Approach to Excellence

Michael’s impact on the North Texas hospitality market was only just beginning on the Gaylord Texas. More recently, he served as superintendent for the Omni Dallas Convention Center and Hotel, a $331 million design-build project completed in 2011 for developer Matthews Southwest.

Michael still counts Omni Dallas among his top three “greatest hits.” Early in pursuit, the team committed to a fast-paced 30-month schedule. Shortly after the groundbreaking, Michael—with the buy-in of the entire project team and trade partners—committed to further expediting the already compressed schedule by an additional two months. They ultimately exceeded expectations and delivered the 1.1-million-square-foot complex in just under 26 months.

“The Omni Dallas was an incredibly high-quality project in all the ways we measure success – financially, structurally and architecturally,” Michael recalls. “We had everything from mints on pillows to locally commissioned artwork installed throughout the facility. We had it all.”

The project also completed with more than 2.5 million total hours worked without a single lost time incident. Keeping jobsites safe is Michael’s deeply personal responsibility to his teammates, clients and communities, and he’s proud to lead projects that exemplify Balfour Beatty’s Zero Harm commitment.

On the Road Again

Michael recently returned to his Florida construction roots on the Broward County Convention Center and Omni Hotel Expansion project in Fort Lauderdale, another Matthews Southwest partnership.

Michael views the nearly $1 billion project as another incredible opportunity to build a lasting community and tourism hub. Most importantly, it’s another chance to join Balfour Beatty teams in different regions and foster trade relationships that share our values.

“You have to be willing to engage your teams and partners with daily conversation, clear communication and fair and honest treatment,” Michael says. “That sometimes requires tough conversations and tough calls, but when your heart’s in the right place, it works out for the betterment of the project itself and for everyone involved.”

Building lasting relationships with like-minded trade partners pays dividends. In every market where Michael has worked, he knows he can count on trusted trade partners to fully engage with Balfour Beatty’s most important goals: safety, quality, innovation and accountability.

Lasting Community Impact

Even if given the opportunity, Michael wouldn’t change any step in his storied career—but he still has work to do.

As he looks ahead to the future, no matter the location, Michael is proud to say how much Balfour Beatty’s projects impact communities where our teams live and work. He and his teams deliver incredible facilities, but their art lives on for decades more as thriving centers for employment,

hospitality and community events – as Michael realized on a visit to the Gaylord Texan years after its grand opening.

“I was able to sit and observe this facility that employs over 2,000 workers and enables so many other vendors and services to exist,” Michael recalls. “I realized that we make so much of an impact in the community and the trajectories of so many families. What we do makes a difference, and it matters.”

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Richard Ryan

Senior Vice President, National Safety

Relentless Ally since 2001

Richard is a 40-year construction industry veteran who began his career as a chartered quantity surveyor for several construction companies in England and Ireland before relocating to the U.S.

In his critical role as senior vice president of national safety for Balfour Beatty’s US Buildings and Civils operations, Richard’s mission is to ensure Balfour Beatty continuously improves safety and sustainability practices across the company by creating safe and environmentally responsible workplaces for our teammates, industry partners and the public. He is responsible for leading efforts that reduce workplace injuries with the goal of achieving Zero Harm and enhance our impact on the environment by working with supply chain partners, clients and communities.

Throughout his career and tenure at Balfour Beatty, Richard has attained an unsurpassed understanding of how to successfully manage and deliver large-scale, complex and progressive delivery-model projects while being an outstanding champion for safety. He is known for his executive leadership and oversight of some of the company’s largest federal and healthcare sector projects to date, including Penn Medicine’s new Pavilion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center expansion and renovation as well as the National Institutes of Health – Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Keenan Arnold

Relentless Ally

Investing in Education

Keenan Arnold never expected to become an expert in the estimating, pursuits and preconstruction of educational facilities. However, after proving his aptitude, the Atlanta-based senior preconstruction manager has fallen into the role naturally, leading preconstruction efforts and training others to do the same in the education market and beyond. Keenan’s work doesn’t stop when construction begins; he’s investing in the communities he helped build and paving the way for a more inclusive industry.

Keenan’s interest in construction began at a young age. At eight years old, while attending a “Bring Your Child to Work” day with his mother, he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. To Keenan’s surprise, his mother insisted he tell the group he wanted to become an architect.

“I don’t think I really knew what an architect was at the time,” he laughs. “But I was creative and loved to draw, and she knew I would be well-suited for this industry. She saw something in me and knew this was the path for me.”

That moment planted a seed in Keenan, and he carried an interest in architecture through to college. After two years, he decided to broaden his horizons and switched his major to construction. And he’s never looked back. Keenan began his career estimating for a concrete formwork contractor before making his way to Balfour Beatty.

Expanding Expertise

In his first few years with Balfour Beatty, Keenan worked on a wide range of projects across diverse market sectors. One of the first markets on which he honed his skillset was in adaptive reuse. The knowledge and skills he took away from these projects would benefit the business over the next years in unexpected ways. 

During the early days of the pandemic, Keenan found himself filling in gaps and assisting with preconstruction efforts on existing projects he had not previously worked on. Many of these were K-12 projects, which encompassed both renovations and additions. Through his experience with adaptive reuse, Keenan unexpectedly found himself operating within a new market that took advantage of his expertise.

Using what he learned on past projects, he quickly became adept at leading the preconstruction effort for K-12 projects. Balfour Beatty’s industry-leading and comprehensive preconstruction services are a differentiator for our clients, and Keenan plays a major role in not only helping win many projects, but he also ensures that they our project teams are equipped with the proper budgets and subcontractor input needed to successfully build the project.

In addition to his work on K-12 education projects, Keenan brings his expertise to a variety of market sectors. Keenan has made his mark on Atlanta by leading preconstruction efforts on major projects such as the Hotel Row Adaptive Reuse Project, Atlanta Mission’s Restoration House, Novel Midtown Residential Tower and The Krog District.

“Keenan understands the preconstruction process thoroughly and he is invaluable to our team,” says Amar Vel, senior vice president of preconstruction in Atlanta. “We can count on him to provide insightful guidance on every aspect of a project, whether for marketing, operations, scheduling or estimating. He has built an excellent rapport with both internal and external clients, and we are truly fortunate to have him as a leader in the business.”

Investing in His Community

An Atlanta native, Keenan takes great pride in Balfour Beatty’s impact on his local community. He enjoys pointing out Balfour Beatty projects when driving through the streets of Atlanta with friends and relishes building in his hometown.

“One of the things I really like about this industry is that what we’re doing today could have an impact for decades to come,” he says. “We’re building projects that will last for a lifetime.”

Keenan has also had the unique opportunity to work in spaces he was familiar with as a child, including some of the very same educational facilities he once attended. He even led preconstruction on a project at his former high school. “I got very nostalgic walking through the hallways of my old high school,” he says. “It means a lot to get the chance to build in these spaces that built me.”

While some may be content to move on from a project after its completion, Keenan and his teammates have identified opportunities to continue investing in the communities they’ve built.

Keenan has returned to schools our teams built to discuss the construction industry with students, introducing them to a potential career path they may not have otherwise discovered. Thus far, Keenan and his teammates have participated in career days and arranged informal class visits with several schools. He hopes to start a formal program that will bring this message to more schools in the Atlanta area, allowing children to explore all aspects of construction such as architecture, engineering, project management and design.

“Construction is a vital industry but one that a lot of kids might not know much about,” Keenan explains. “We want to get them interested in what we do and let them know that there is a lot of opportunity out there for them in the construction industry.”

A NOBLE Pursuit

In addition to having a heart for our younger generations, Keenan also leads the Atlanta chapter of Balfour Beatty’s Network of Black Leaders and Executives (NOBLE) employee affinity group. The group advocates for African American representation across the company and into our communities. He has been a member of the group since its inception in 2021 and is now in his second year of leading the local chapter.

Recruiting diverse talent is one of the group’s primary focuses. Through his work with NOBLE, Keenan has had the opportunity to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to attend career fairs and hiring events to discover future industry talent and ensure students know what opportunities are available to them.

The group has also forged meaningful relationships with local minority and women owned business enterprises (MWBE) that open the door for future partnering opportunities. Keenan recently organized a MWBE outreach event that brought together 50 attendees from a diverse pool of local subcontractors.

“We want to make MWBE participation part of our industry fabric,” Keenan says. “Our goal is to expand the pool of subcontractors we’re choosing from and make sure everyone has a fair shot.”

Whether he is putting together a project bid, organizing outreach events or advocating for the advancement of diverse construction professionals, Keenan lives out Balfour Beatty’s people-first culture in all his endeavors, creating an industry where everyone can learn, grow and thrive.
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Luis Torres

Relentless Ally

The Responsibility of Protecting Your Team

Every workplace has its unique cast of characters, mainstays that feel as much a part of the company’s culture and structure as the company leadership. Not every workplace, however, can say their company veterans are in the business of saving lives every day. That’s exactly what Balfour Beatty safety professionals like Luis Torres do on jobsites across the country, combining expertise, pride in their work and relationship building to keep workers safe.

Industry-Leading Safety Leadership

Luis is a jobsite safety carpenter, but he’s not just any carpenter. His tenure with Balfour Beatty spans nearly three decades, and in that time, he’s carefully honed his skills as a carpenter and his knack for developing innovative safety solutions. He’s a known quantity on every job – someone so trusted that his teammates have affectionally given him the title “Safety Luis.”

A well-earned title it is. Luis’s handiwork caught the attention of a Balfour Beatty safety leader, on a recent visit to the Alfond Inn project in Winter Park, Florida. On the jobsite, a sprawling 75,000-square-foot addition to the boutique hotel, Luis had constructed a set of temporary elevator guardrails.

The quality of the installation was evident at first sight. Each had clearly been constructed by a professional who deeply cared about their work and the impact it would have on worker safety.

In this case, the elevator enclosure went above and beyond the standards mandated by OSHA, Balfour Beatty and our construction elevator trade partner in Florida. While providing essential safety protections, it also featured removable sections and stowable netting, allowing different parts of the enclosure to be temporarily moved to suit different loads over the course of the job. On top of that, the entire guardrail structure was both modular and removable, so Luis’s hard work can be re-used on a future elevator thereby creating greater workflow efficiencies and reducing waste.

Luis’s responsibilities as a construction safety carpenter and the responsibilities of his peers on other jobsites don’t end with elevator guardrails and enclosures, of course. Safety carpenters build walkways, guardrails, work platforms, scaffolding and much more, all essential components of making jobsites safer for Balfour Beatty teammates, trade partners and any visitors. Alongside personal protective equipment (PPE) and established safety rules and standards, their work is on the frontlines of construction safety.

Tenured and Trusted

In his decades on construction sites, “Safety Luis” has established himself as someone our workers and trade partners can trust, as evidenced by his tenure, his demand on jobsites and his role which has grown to encompass mentoring Balfour Beatty safety carpenters across the country.

“He’s easily worked on at least a hundred different projects over the years, and his work is truly first-class,” says Jonathan Pearch, project executive. “When Luis is on the job, we know he’s going to anticipate safety needs others may not see, often going above and beyond to provide the safest possible working environment for everyone on the site. He always has the ‘what’ covered and can build anything you ask him to, but when given a task, he thinks about the ‘why’ and finds creative, safe solutions to meet the need.”

It’s only fitting that Luis has also taken his safety sixth sense outside his usual southeast region, guiding and teaching safety carpenters as far afield as jobsites in Texas. On every job, Luis truly cares about the safety of his teammates – he knows what he’s there to do and he takes pride in executing that job with excellence.

Across a career so vast, in terms of both projects and years worked, construction safety standards have naturally changed immensely and for the better, but that accumulation of knowledge is one of Luis’s greatest assets.

“He may have been able to do his job in sneakers and shorts back in the day,” Jonathan jokes, “but there’s no doubt the industry absolutely has changed. Luis has adapted to those changes and, in many ways, pushed us even further toward safer jobsites.”

The vital expertise of Luis and Balfour Beatty safety carpenters everywhere exemplifies Balfour Beatty’s commitment to leading the construction industry in safety. 

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Megan Cook-Eichelberger

Relentless Ally

Foundations of Trust

Whether she is anticipating the needs of trade partners, advocating for marginalized communities or lending a guiding hand to new teammates, Megan Cook-Eichelberger is building relationships to last.

At Balfour Beatty, our people-first culture is engrained in everything we do. From our decision-making to the ways in which we collaborate, we believe that the relationships we form with our clients, industry partners and fellow team members are paramount to everyone’s success. For Megan Cook-Eichelberger, a project manager in Portland, Oregon, relationship building is the key to consistently meeting project goals, producing meaningful results and ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table.   

Megan began her career in general contracting eight years ago as a traveling field engineer, but her experience in the industry goes back much further than that. Her father owned a drywall finishing business, so Megan was introduced to jobsite environments at a young age.

While working at her father’s business after high school, Megan not only developed a strong work ethic but also learned the importance of creating a workplace culture grounded in the values of respect and collaboration. “It’s not just the people on your own team,” she says. “Everyone you interact with, from your design team to your clients to your trade partners, plays such an important role in how you show up to work every day.” 

Since joining Howard S. Wright (HSW), a Balfour Beatty company, in 2019, Megan has found that building strong relationships allows her to collaborate with her teammates and partners more effectively and navigate conflicts when they inevitably arise. When teams have already established a foundation of trust, she maintains, they feel empowered to bring difficult topics to the table and identify the best solutions for the team and project.

Advocating for Trade Partners 

Through these experiences, Megan has developed a deeply personal understanding of the challenges trade partners experience and has become a staunch advocate and ally for their growth and development. She doesn’t consider a project successful unless everyone involved—the project team, clients and trade partners—is satisfied with the results. 

Megan is also committed to championing small and local businesses. Through collaborating with minority, women and emerging small businesses (MWESB), she and her teammates help remove barriers to success. The Block 216 project, on which Megan serves as project manager, has presented a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for some local MWESB businesses. 

Projects of this size are rare in Portland; the building will total 1.1 million square-feet and construction is slated to span more than four years. Many small and emerging businesses may not have the experience or personnel to successfully execute scopes of this magnitude or complexity. Megan and the team implemented a right-size system to simultaneously meet our diversity, equity and inclusion goals along with the client’s: rather than issuing contracts to a single subcontractor for an entire scope package, the project team asks the partners what scope of work they can take on and allocates portions of the project accordingly. By applying this approach, the Block 216 project team is also stimulating the local economy by providing more jobs to local residents. 

Cultivating Inclusion

In addition to mentoring small businesses, Megan gives back to the women of Balfour Beatty and the greater Portland community. She currently leads her local chapter of the company’s Connecting Women employee affinity group, a role that has allowed her to partner with organizations such as Oregon Tradeswomen and Dress for Success that empower women in the construction industry and beyond.

Throughout her years in the industry, Megan has witnessed changing cultural dynamics that have resulted in a positive trend toward acceptance and inclusion. She considers herself fortunate that during her entire tenure with HSW, she’s always been able to bring her authentic self to the workplace. Megan prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives in hopes that everyone is afforded the same opportunity. 

 “I’ve learned so much just by showing up,” she maintains. “By listening first, you start to understand what a community needs and how to implement change in a way that is equitable and sustainable over the long-term.” 

Developing Within

In addition to building a stronger, more inclusive construction industry, Megan seeks out opportunities to nurture the growth and development of her own teammates. She shares her experiences and lessons she’s learned throughout her career but stresses the importance of innovation. 

“Every project has milestones to meet, but I try to remind the team that there are lots of ways to deliver for our client,” Megan asserts. “We always want to look for new solutions and ways to achieve our goals more with greater efficiency and value. It’s important to me that my teammates know that we encourage creative problem-solving.” 

Megan’s extensive industry experience helps her mentor fellow teammates, but perhaps her greatest strength is her ability to put herself in others’ shoes. Whether she is anticipating the needs of trade partners, advocating for marginalized communities or lending a guiding hand to new teammates, Megan’s empathy makes her a great champion for others and allows her to lay a strong foundation of trust on which she is building relationships to last.