Going the Distance
If any line of work applies to the proverb “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” it’s surely infrastructure construction. But Denis Moffett is just fine with that. In fact, the project manager, who’s currently overseeing our $16.9 million expansion of the Broad Run Water Reclamation Facility in Loudoun County, Virginia, has pretty remarkable endurance. He’s even got the medals to prove it. A collegiate track star turned four-time ironman (that’s 140.6 miles in a single! race for anyone counting), Denis applies the same principles to executing large-scale civils projects as he does triathlon training.
If those descriptors didn’t adequately convey the point, Denis loves a good challenge. Thanks to his uncle, an engineer by trade, Denis knew from an early age that the AEC industry would provide that in spades. While most high schoolers sprinted through homework assignments to spend a few precious moments with their PlayStations, Denis practiced drafting in AutoCAD.
Upon graduation from Clemson University, Denis was convinced he’d apply his structural engineering degree to the design side of the business. That was, until, he went on two very different job interviews. One opportunity would have turned him into the stereotypical cubicle warrior (cue scenes from Office Space). The other was working on a water treatment plant. He recalls the electrifying energy of the jobsite like it was yesterday. “There were cranes in the air, pumps going and 200 people moving around six structures. It seemed like pure chaos until I wrapped my mind around the biology of the system.” Denis. Was. Hooked.
And he still is. Over the years, Denis—who became part of the Balfour Beatty family in 2014—has cemented his reputation a wastewater expert, amassing a portfolio that includes over $600 million in treatment plant facilities across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Though Denis certainly took the road less traveled when it comes to construction specialties, he couldn’t imagine charting a different path.
“Society functions as a result of infrastructure,” attests Denis. “The projects I’ve designed and built will be part of these communities for the next hundred years.” That competitive streak of his? It’s alive and well. “I still get a rush from devising a plan to beat the schedule or budget,” affirms Denis. “I’ve never had a boring day in my career.”
Denis brought his characteristic enthusiasm to a groundbreaking initiative called the “BBII Project Lifecycle,” which debuted across the Balfour Beatty Infrastructure business in 2016. A web-based platform that empowers teams to improve the safety, quality and profitability of their jobs, the Project Lifecycle was created using the collaborative input and best practices of leaders like Denis. Broad Run was one of the first civils projects nationwide to apply this tool from its inception, and Denis says it’s been invaluable. “Using the templates contained in this system, we were able to begin examining our close-out docs right from the get-go,” he praises.
But as much as Denis plans for his projects to cross the finish line without a hitch, he’s learned to expect the unexpected. “You can train the whole year to have the perfect race, but the chain on your bike could break. The same goes in construction. It’s all about adjusting your strategy and moving forward with resolve,” compares Denis.
If you’re wondering how Denis manages to carve out time for such rigorous training while pursuing a demanding career, add this to the mix: Denis is a father to a 21-month-old son and newborn daughter. A passionate champion of safety, Denis transformed his home into a baby-proofed Zero Harm zone.
Both on and off the jobsite, this iron builder always goes the extra mile.