3 Invaluable Lessons from Gregory Mantz

  1. There’s a continuous dialogue that needs to happen between designer and contractor.
  2. It isn’t about the number of people you have or the budget you have, it’s how the team works together that makes a project successful.
  3. Find time to take your Architect out for lunch – learning what has motivated them, understanding their background, etc., changes people’s attitude around a project.

This week, host Sue Dyer speaks with Gregory Mantz about the interface between design and construction and how they can work together smoothly. Greg also talks about DPR Construction’s Design Management Academy and the success it continues to see.

About Guest Gregory Mantz

Gregory Mantz is the Project Executive at DPR Construction. DPR is always doing innovative things and Greg talks about the projects he’s championed and what DPR is up to right now.

Greg’s Journey to Becoming the Project Executive at DPR Construction (3:23)

  1. Greg joined DPR about 9 years ago but comes from about 35 years in the design business.
  2. Greg is a registered Architect in California and has worked with some of the recognizable firms in the Bay Area
  3. Greg’s journey with DPR goes back about 28 years – Greg worked with many of the principles of DPR as an Architect on the projects they were building
  4. Greg discovered that a design management role was important to project management and lifecycle

Gregory’s Greatest Strengths as a Leader (6:18)

Greg’s role and greatest strength is his ability to rally the troops, focus on the mission, and trying to deliver effectively.  Greg gets excited to bring people together and get them motivated to succeed.

Greg’s Tricks for Rallying People (7:20)

  1. Be open in your communication
  2. Get everyone to understand the drivers and key success factors on a job
  3. Get everyone to contribute to developing a mission statement for any particular project
  4. Be open and transparent and get everyone moving in the same direction

About Design Management and the Design Management Academy (8:37)

It is often the communication link between designers and contractors that breaks down and one of Greg’s fundamental role in the design management position is to be able to break down those barriers and communicate with an architect.  Bringing his experience and 35 years to the table helps to put the architects at ease.  Knowing someone has been there and done that helps set the stage for successful design management.

In the last three or four years, DPR realized that the issues surrounding design management go beyond their design/build projects, it is on every project they have. Regardless of the contract methodology there is a continuous dialogue between the designer and the contractor.

What DPR is trying to do with the Design Management Academy is to bring exposure of the functions of design management to a wider variety of people internally (i.e., project engineers, project managers, etc.).  People who don’t necessarily have any exposure to design but are interfacing with designers on a daily basis.

The objective of the academy is to understand how to most effectively work with architectural partners.

Why Greg Decided to Create the Design Academy Now (15:30)

  1. DPR is a large firm that needs to be mobilized quickly
  2. The integrated structure of DPR’s projects necessitated the academy
  3. “Cluster Leaders” are playing a design management role and they need to have information

The Results and Lessons Learned from the Academy (17:00)

The focus is to get better and more predictable outcomes on projects and minimize DPR’s risks.  Greg uses the Fee Erosions metrics and has discovered that 50% of contractor’s fee erosions tend to happen in the design process. It’s all about mitigating risks early on.

What is the Future of the Design Academy (22:25)

  1. The academy modules are now online as a reverse classroom program
  2. The group gets together once a month to revisiting information
  3. There are a number of “captains” around the country taking responsibility for modules

Will Trade Partners Ever Be a Part of the Design Academy? (25:30)

Trade partners have helped develop some of the content for the Academy and will continue to play a role in the future.

More About DPR and its Innovations (26:40)

Internally DPR has been a firm that’s always focused on “ever forward.” They have a team that focuses purely on innovation and casts a wide net within the company.  They have an operation called ViewOpps that takes data from the design/construction process and appropriately documents it to make it useful. They’ve implemented a sister firm called DBC (Digital Building Components) that works on pre-fabrication.

The Biggest Challenge Greg Has Ever Faced in His Career (30:33)

Any time you end up with a client that’s unsatisfied it’s disappointing. There was a job in the last few years at DPR which had a fantastic A+ team that was going full-tilt. The one problem was the client who could not make decisions and the whole project blew up because the client couldn’t get out of his own way.

The Best Advice Greg Has Ever Gotten (33:40)

If your boss ever asks you out for a drink, you go. The best conversations will be had off hours and not in the work environment.

Resources for Listeners

Contact Greg

DPR Construction: https://www.dpr.com/

Connect with Greg on LinkedIn

Greg’s Parting Advice (38:21)

Find time to take your Architect out for lunch. Socializing with partners and learning what has motivated them, understanding their background, etc. changes people’s attitude around a project.

Are you ever surprised by what is happening on your projects? We use a tool called Construction Scorecard – it is a very accurate measure what is happening on your project.  This tool allows you to see what is happening on your project so you can catch things that are going wrong before they get too far.

We are beta-testing the Scorecard on other projects.  We are having a special for the next 90 days (between now and September 17th) sign up for the Scorecard program and see how it works for your project.  Email SueDyer@orgmet.com if you are interested.

Visit ConstructionDreamTeam.com/Resources for to access all of the resources each of our guests has shared in their episode.

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