Sherrill & Co. ... Construction Program Management  &  Architecture




A simple description of this complex issue is a contradiction. However, starting with important concepts summarizing my twenty-two years of experience:



Professional support for building investment supports long-term operations.


Building with confidence requires professional services that are NOT generic.



Quality is a harmonious balance of energy, leadership, and education for proper results.


Quality creates positive synergy to "get the job" and continues to "do the job" properly.


Professional value must be understood in terms of schedule, quality, and cost.



Starting young, I learned construction from my father and grandfather, both owners of private construction companies. These basic performance principles apply to single and multiple projects.



Also, this early education in comprehensive management applies to work as program manager, owner�s representative, architect, and construction manager. Leadership, professional marketing, sales, and teamwork are interrelated and not easily separated. I consider marketing as generating "prospects" and "sales" as defining with "prospects" our mutual goals. 



Leadership is the overall skill reflecting knowledge and experience to accomplish work effectively.  Two complementary skills are required ... 1st: "to get the job"; and 2nd: to "do the job properly".  To "get the job," develop thorough rapport with the sponsor to understand what is to be done, then demonstrate the capacity to deliver. To "do the job properly," describe what�s appropriate for those doing specialized work with their qualities, timeliness, and capabilities. 



Then, profitability is determined by effectively matching all of these requirements with the respective capabilities.


Confidence, Knowledge, Communication, Leadership & Synergy

Confidence, success, and leadership create synergy to gain confidence with new and existing sponsors. Gaining confidence of a new sponsor is the first step to continuing professional service.  Demonstrating knowledge of the combined technical, managerial, personnel, and financial "tools" required for success further supports confidence as "program manager."  Professional education and registration for broad understanding and knowledge develops meaningful and continual dialog with different project participants.



For sales, a "rainmaker�s" success begins with understanding the sponsor�s organization.  Matching services with a sponsor�s need is a natural supplement to project leadership. Diverse effort to reach critically important project decisions requires tremendous energy. Success on one project leads to a more credible "sales effort" on the next project.



My success as architect and comprehensive owner�s representative is represented by over 100 large and small, commercial and government projects nationwide. Some of this work is summarized below. Success in both corporate and government environments enhances professional skills providing a well-rounded professional with complementary and supplementary knowledge and tools to more effectively deliver projects.


The Corporate Environment

My experiences in the Del Taco, Service Merchandise, and Mellon Bank programs provided large-scale, private sector, comprehensive program management, leadership skills, with "internal" sales experience. Requirements for quick service, systematic processes, and "high volume" provided an outstanding environment to develop in-depth construction program and "sales" skill.



For example, with Del Taco and my work on 85 stores in Georgia alone provided a uniquely effective "selling" environment working with different contractors, vendors, and corporate operations to gain credibility and provide timely, cost-effective service.  Service Merchandise, with approximately 15 projects, required learning the variables of quickly changing merchandising and store construction in different parts of the country.  Mellon Bank, with approximately 30 projects, required understanding of a slowly evolving consumer banking and credit card strategy, which, in turn, was dependent upon Federal deregulation & Mellon�s overall business strategy.


The Federal Government 

Contrasting to the corporate environments, as one example of a large AND successful Federal project, the following provides valuable, in-depth lessons. This balances comprehensive and thorough construction program management, and can be readily applied to future private and public sector projects.


National Water Quality Laboratory, Denver Federal Center

From preliminary research and design management through construction & occupancy, I maintained a primary and comprehensive focus with GSA on the planning, design, procurement, budget balancing, and construction management of the $30 million National Water Quality Laboratory on the Denver Federal Center. This technically demanding project was the first new building constructed on the DFC in 25 years. In 1999, it was completed on schedule and on budget. The successful planning, design, construction, and quick move-in were considerable team efforts, given the very tight budget and the extensive Federal and congressional procurement requirements.


Unique Work of Laboratories 


Internal "selling" to successfully create the National Water Quality Laboratory required solid decision-making with a demanding level of thought and continual effort to keep government, laboratory, and contract personnel effective and construction cost acceptable. Few people are thoroughly experienced in the required levels of effort for a successful Federal project, much less in the details for successful construction of a safe laboratory. Briefly, management and analysis services included, but were not limited to:



Comprehensive planning for operations, maintenance and effective procurement


Technical analysis for lab operations and building systems for cost-effective results.


Comprehensive design including operations support


"Design Excellence"


Cost estimating and comprehensive proposal presentation


Efficient procurement of materials, subcontractor work, and systems


Construction partnering


On-site quality assurance


On-schedule production


Successful move-in/ commissioning


Successful casework/ equipment/ finishes


Post construction follow-up



God is in the Details

Every laboratory is unique. Planning for complete, thorough understanding of the many business and technical issues, with mastery of unique operational details cannot be readily learned "overnight."  These requirements are much more demanding than those found in more common building projects such as office buildings.  For example, people in labs often work with dangerous chemicals, therefore cost-effective and safe handling and storage of hazardous materials requires special attention and facility support.  We developed analyses to address complex business and technical issues with sensitivity to many complexities and have a strong passion for making the best decisions to assure successful results.





not Backwards

Independent of unique technical requirements on specific projects, we should examine general project qualities and effective methods. "Selling" forward- looking qualities for success requires a meaningful presentation of experiences and ideas. However, to consider general managerial issues for project, team, and program planning:



A proposed project may require a highly motivated, focused, efficient, effective, and technically skillful team. Holding concept discussions to confirm complementary experiences with clients and prospective team members to identify major issues helps assure a coordinated effort. I believe outstanding performance requires a balance of effort, appeal, engineering, and business leadership. Typically, proven, highly motivated, and technically sophisticated resources provide the best service.



A "perfect" construction team that flawlessly moves from one major construction project to another is rare. However, proper teams should be experienced and rely upon coordinated teamwork. New, complementary and experienced team members are added with thought and care. Preliminary outlines of responsibilities help assure compatibility, quality and timely working team environment.



Excellent experience planning and implementing partnering programs supports team efforts. A well-known example is from NWQL - our partnering program was one of the best ever. Our partnering facilitator, Norma Barr, PhD, was overwhelmed with the quality results of our partnering effort.



Marketing and sales (i.e. the art and science of creating & maintaining the client's interest) of successful, professional, construction program management services requires a thorough and comprehensive balance of personnel, technical, managerial, financial, and interpersonal skills.



Selling ideas is at the heart of it all ! ... ver. 1.2--  03 Mar 2002

last modified: 04.08.2002 ; (c) 2001 Sherrill & Co.; email:;