Careers in Construction Month - Assistant Project Manager Jackson Kimbrell
To celebrate Careers in Construction Month we sat down with a few Landis team members to discuss their own experiences in construction. First up, Assistant Project Manager Jackson Kimbrell who is currently working on the Jefferson Parish Bacteriological and Wet Chemistry Lab:
Q: Tell me about your life leading up to your construction career?
A: I didn’t originally go to college for a degree in Construction. I have a degree in French and History. I did a year of Law School and decided that it wasn’t the right fit for me.
I became a Commissioned Engineer Officer in the US Army and have been in the National Guard for over 13 years and this is where I originally began my career in construction. I was deployed in the Middle East for a year and came back to the US and went to Louisiana State University and got my master’s in construction management.
Q: What do you find most rewarding in construction?
A: The most rewarding part about working in the construction industry to me is that you create something that is very tangible. You can be driving down the street and see a building you’ve renovated and say, “Hey I did that!”. Construction is unique in that way. It’s hard working in the construction industry. It’s always a moving target and you are always trying to problem solve, and that is the biggest challenge.
Q: What has been your biggest learning experience?
A: I’ve had this experience both working for Landis and the army as well: there is always someone who knows more than you. Having to work through those interpersonal relationships and using them as a resource is important. You may be the person making the decisions on the site, but not everyone will see them as the right decisions. So, you must learn to be respectful, and problem solve together.
Q: What is your role like as an Assistant Project Manager?
A: As an APM I am basically attached at the hip with the superintendent. We are the field leaders for Landis, managing day-to-day most of the construction process that goes on. We interact face-to-face with our trade partners, and then problem solve to longer-range planning. Though a big part is getting RFIs answered. An RFI (Request for Information) is a fancy way of saying “I have construction question.” It can be anything about the project but mostly has to do with the blueprints or specifications. There are often things that come up not on a print/specification, that we must get clarification on so that we can continue our work.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone looking to start a career in construction?
A: I’ve benefited immensely from working in the field. I’ve done some work in the office doing quality control and that was very useful, but you learn so much more being out in the field using your hands and your brain to figure the specific problems out. Even if you are coming into this industry with no technical skills, start out as a laborer or apprentice for a trade just get out there and do it. Having a degree coming in, like a CM degree or an Engineering degree, is useful. There’s a lot they teach you and you become a good resource bank. But using that knowledge in a field environment is just next level and it really prepares you to think about the projects critically.