Mike Walters – Senior Construction Project Manager
How long have you worked for Iconica?
Almost 7 years
What was your first position here?
Construction Project Manager 1/ Administrative
What do you do now?
I am a Senior Construction Project Manager. My responsibilities include managing budget; schedule multiple projects and acting as the conduit for correspondence with clients, subcontractors, foremen, and superintendents. The construction PM position is complicated and touches on insurance, accounting, risk assessment, and contracts for projects. It is an exciting and fluid position that changes and challenges daily.
What led you to the construction field?
I worked for a residential contractor throughout high school, and built fences in Montana while in college. Eventually I was drawn into engineering and graduated with a degree in construction engineering technology. It was a natural fit with school and work.
What would you say to someone in high school looking at a career in construction?
There are so many different jobs within the engineering and construction industry. It’s a great profession, I’d advise anyone interested to look into trade school. The trades are numerous and you can make a really good living with not too many years of experience. You can succeed with a good route, not too much debt from school, and with ample room for opportunities.
Whiskey Ginger or a Crown Old Fashioned Press
What are some ways construction changed since you started?
The labor market really changed after the recession. We now have a depleted labor force with not a lot of trade internship programs. The training is not there and skilled labor and new staff are in demand.
What are some of your favorite projects?
Pacific Cycle was my first major project – a large warehouse addition
2500 Rimrock – an apartment and retail project
Steinhafels Warehouse – a major addition to their central Waukesha facility
Sauk Trails Plaza II – the scale of this project is hard to beat. There are not many opportunities in our market to work on projects of this size.
Most glamorous part of your job?
I get to network with clients and their staff. I enjoy meeting our trades too. It’s what makes part of my job so interesting.
Dealing with the big issues at inconvenient or unplanned times. Things can happen on a Friday at 6 pm and you have to adapt and deal with them.
Are you a morning or evening person?
What is something you look forward to every day at work?
Improving myself and proving myself as an employee. I also love to problem solve.
What are some of the benefits of Iconica integrated team atmosphere?
I have the resources 20 ft. from my desk to get an answer and address an issue at a moment’s notice, instead of going through an RFI process, or a more standard process to get a question answered. It’s all at my fingertips: mechanical, electrical, contracting, or an architect. I am a better CPM because of that interaction with my team members.
What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?
Everything starts with communication
Value relationships, internal and external
Strong work ethic
Be open to change
What music/radio station do you listen to in the car?
Portugal, The Man, LJ, Tribe called Quest
How does Iconica support you in your career?
They have put me in a position to accelerate and grow within the company. I have had opportunities to work with engineers, architects, accountants, insurance agents, and attorneys, to grow my knowledge. I’ve had the chance to work on larger scale projects and challenge methods and processes.
A River Runs Through It, Snatch, Lucky Number 7, Boondocks Saints, and Braveheart
Do you have a mentor?
Aaron Gibbons, a former Construction Manager at Iconica had a big impact on where I am today.
How do you encourage the development in people you supervise?
I like to put them outside of their comfort zone. Allow them to take on more responsibilities maybe more than they think they are capable of. Delegate. Remain positive.
How do you cope with the stress of tight deadlines?
Sports and social interaction, I can temporarily detach and focus on something else.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Sports, go up to my parent’s lake house, fly fishing, projects around the house, and golf.
What would you tell your younger self the first day of work at Iconica?
This is a more complicated business than you have any idea, be prepared to learn and enjoy the awesome ride.
What would you say to anyone considering working with Iconica?
You would be lucky to join the Iconica team.