Chuck’s title, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Manager is, as he describes, a fancy way of saying he coordinates various building systems with design teams and subcontractors using computer modeling. His primary aim is to create solutions to problems before they cause schedule delays.
Chuck strives to bridge the gap between what the design team seeks to achieve and what the field team interprets. His experience in both the design and construction aspects of the job allow him to better facilitate communication on projects. “My goal is always to help complete projects correctly, on schedule, and at the best value, and I feel like I have every opportunity to do that at AP.”
AP has helped him achieve those goals by offering continuing education, industry organization memberships and certifications. He also finds inspiration from working on community-focused projects with quality owners and design teams that push him to continuously improve his skills.
Building future VDC professionals
VDC is a relatively new process in the construction industry. Over the past eight years, Chuck has created standard processes for VDC services, hoping in future years to train and develop the next generation on how these services can help AP provide better value to its clients.
His advice to up-and-coming AP employees is simple: “Take the initiative to push forward ideas you believe are important,” he says. “There are many opportunities to take the lead at AP.”
Natasha Hopkins began working full-time right out of high school, longing for a company that believed in her abilities as a professional. She starting working for AP in 2015 and transitioned responsibilities and departments to eventually land on the accounting team.
Natasha believes in a collaborative approach with all AP departments. Throughout the organizational changes on the accounting team during her tenure, she has been able to step up, provide coverage and assist with workload by offering assistance whenever needed. “AP has provided a number of training opportunities that have strengthened my confidence and abilities to provide exceptional leadership in my department and to my teammates within Operations. They are truly a family that looks out for their employees. Even through tough times and hard conversations we work together to resolve any issues.”
Natasha was an obvious candidate recently for a promotion to staff accountant. Her new position allows her to take on a larger management role within the accounting department, now responsible for all aspects of accounting including job cost and revenue processing, tracking and review. Natasha now ensures financial operations of the region are compliant with company expectations, and partners with the regional operations team by providing financial audits, project forecasting and analyses. “AP helps guide you in the right direction for your career, and truly wants the best for you in every outcome. They have encouraged me to enroll in college and I am now working towards my degree.”
Finding His Inspiration
Ross started his career as a carpenter which he did for 12 years. “It was love the first time I picked up a hammer,” said Ross. Slowly realizing his body was taking a beating he made the difficult decision to change careers. Ross moved into sales, it paid the bills, but it wasn’t his passion and he realized he needed a change. One day on his drive home Ross saw a tower crane in the distance, it was that moment when he realized it was time to go back to school, return to his roots and get a construction management degree.
Experience of a Lifetime
“The University of Minnesota Main Energy Plant was my first project as an intern and will always be one of the most interesting projects I have had the pleasure to be a part of. I was working for this fantastic company on this one of a kind project plus I was going to school at the University of Minnesota; it felt like it was meant to be. The MEP aspect facinated me, the large equipment, the variety of cranes, everything needed to move and place the specialized equipment in the power plant was unique and provided great opportunities for learning. The number of specialized trades, subcontractors and experts that were involved in making this project successful was just remarkable. I could not have asked for a better first project; it was an experience of a lifetime.”