The night before the designer interviews I couldn’t sleep. I had put myself in the designer’s shoes and couldn’t shake them off. Years ago, when I was a structural engineer on the design team, I remember the desperate feeling of “we’ve got to win.” The reason was pretty simple; we needed the revenue.
At some point, I was able to take the designer’s shoes off and envision the next day. Tomorrow I would spend the day being part traffic cop, part mom, and part detective. Acting as a traffic cop, I would welcome teams to the interview room and then politely kick them out at the end of their allotted time. During the interview I would focus on the presenter, silently encouraging them to do their best, and listen for clues as to why their team is the right team for the job while writing down constructive criticism for their debrief. At the same time, I’d glance at the key client stakeholders to see if they were connecting with the presenter. It made me tired thinking about it. I would have to be “on” all day; right now I needed to get some rest. Continue reading →
Happy New Year everyone! I’m starting the year 2017 off describing the process that we used for shortlisting designers for the bond project. On all projects we typically receive 10 – 20 submittal packages from interested designers. Since we cannot interview all the teams that submit, we will shortlist up to six teams. Below I will describe the shortlisting process that we went through to determine which designers to interview on the bond project. Continue reading →
The designer selection process has begun! For the owner’s project manager, this is one, if not the most important step in the project journey. The decision we make at this point will shape the entire project moving forward. Over the past two years, I’ve worked with design teams that show true dedication to the project and are constantly moving the project forward like a shepherd dog that nips at the heels of stakeholders, helping to get decisions made and moving the flock safely and quickly across the mountaintop. I’ve also worked with design teams that have a lack of standard of care, and couldn’t “project manage” themselves out of their sleeping bag at base camp. Okay I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point, I want to make sure we recommend a good team to the Board of Trustees. I will discuss the steps that we’ve completed to date in the designer selection process in this post. Continue reading →
My work on the Connect NC bond project at UNC Chapel Hill has officially started and I plan on documenting it until the very end (whew that’s a five year commitment). I will post on a regular basis about the process of taking a bond project through the UNC System and all the behind the scenes navigating that you may not be aware of. Let’s get started. Continue reading →
The pre-meeting materials for the Board of Governors meeting last Friday are posted. Projects in the UNC system that are up for approval are listed. Look under Committee on Budget and Finance item 5. Please note that all projects may not have been approved
March 14, 2016 – Not long before an early-voting site in Raleigh closed Saturday, two blind women made their way, white canes in hand, to vote in the primary election and the Connect NC bond referendum. One was young, one was elderly. One white, one black. If they can do it, so can you. Don’t… READ MORE
The pre-meeting materials for the Board of Governors meeting last Friday are posted. Projects in the UNC system that are up for approval are listed. Look under Committee on Budget and Finance item 8. Please note that all projects may not have been approved
The pre-meeting materials for the Board of Governors meeting last Friday are posted. Projects in the UNC system that are up for approval are listed. Look under Committee on Budget and Finance item 4. Please note that all projects may not have been approved
“It took about one hundred conversations to negotiate the deal,” said Gordon Merklein, the executive director for real estate at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He compared negotiating this deal and other deals to dating. “If the ‘first date’ goes well then you progress to a ‘second date’ and if that goes well then there are many more, sometimes hundreds,” he said. During the “dates”, they worked through issues like who would pay for the “town square” in the middle of the development because by not building on this part of the site, the developer would lose leasable area, but Gordon’s team felt it was necessary for the quality of the development. Like dates, he explained, some meetings were jovial, some meetings were tense, some dramatic, and I sure quite a few were boring, but in the end they negotiated a deal that benefited both parties.
The deal described above is for the “pseudo” public-private partnership (PPP) Carolina Square development. I say “psuedo” because the “public” part of the partnership is the Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Foundation Inc., which is funded by private funds, but is considered public since they represent the interests of UNC. Continue reading →
Please Note: This post is not about project management.
There are a few things that I loathe in life and one of them is to stop and put gas in my car. It’s trivial. I know. It only takes me four minutes, but I’m impatient and I like to go from point A to point B without stopping. On my way to work a few weeks ago, I was sitting at a red light. I looked over at the corner gas station and noticed that there was a man sitting in a wheelchair putting gas in his minivan. Of course it gave me pause. I thought about him the rest of the way to work. How does he get from his vehicle to the chair? What a pain – how long must it take him to get gas? I bet he is grumpier than I am when he has to stop and get gas. Continue reading →