Through the Lens: ESA St. Elizabeth's East Campus Project by Cole Harper

“Let me start by saying that working on this project has been one of the most rewarding, informative and unique experiences of my professional career. Being able to watch the progression of a building from conceptualization to realization allowed me to gain experience from so many different perspectives and professions that I can’t help but notice my own growth over the past 30 months. Added on to that the fast-track nature of the project, with the whole project being programmed, designed, negotiated, built and turned over in less than three years, I truly feel as though I had the rare opportunity to obtain a wealth of knowledge in a fraction of the time with some of the best in the business.

While ADC-MS was contracted to provide program management services as a subcontractor to the prime (Brailsford & Dunlavey), the project demanded nothing short of our best and forced us to evolve to meet its needs. When I first joined the project, I approached my tasks as primarily support-based in order to complement B&D’s goals and methodologies. In doing so, I learned more in the first six months than I ever could have on any other project. Over time through B&D’s guidance and expertise, my responsibilities gradually shifted towards operating more independently as the project’s demands grew and the Labor Day 2018 completion date drew nearer. Although I had some prior experience (albeit limited) with analyzing aspects of construction projects from my time in Houston, TX, I found myself learning so much more about deciphering architectural drawings, interpreting contractual documents, creating and managing multi-faceted budget documentation, navigating DC regulatory agencies and government entities, negotiating high-level topics between separate by related projects and tracking an evolving and ever-changing construction schedule. I look forward to being able to apply what I’ve learned here to future ADC endeavors with our team!

This project was definitely challenging. There were times when I had ESA-on-the-brain from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep. I would go weeks at a time where I didn’t see or speak to my own boss or colleagues at the ADC-MS corporate office. There were times where I thought I was in over my head and had to ask for help or research how to solve a problem. There were even times when I thought I’d made huge mistakes that would cripple the project (though that never ended up being the case, thank God). But there were also times where I took pride in providing a solution to an issue. Or times when I, with the help of my colleagues, produced a document that continually helped keep everything organized. Or when a plan went exactly as intended without any hindrance. Or when I was able to fully take on an issue and our client was able to rest easy knowing that ADC had it handled. This project both tempered my professional abilities as well as helped ADC-MS forge connections with people and companies that hopefully will continue on after completion. The past 30 months had its challenges, but everyone was able to work together to overcome them and build this spectacular facility in Ward 8. I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride on behalf of myself and ADC-MS as a whole for having a hand in this achievement!”

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