The Roadmap to the Future of the Industry feat. Colleen Martindale

January 3, 2023

Utility strikes, Labor shortages, and costly redesigns are all issues Colleen Martindale has to deal with on a day to day as a Senior Pre-construction Director for the Heavy Civil group in McCarthy’s Southern Region. Our guest this week provides us with insight into a topic overlooked in the engineering and construction industry.

Colleen leads the civil engineering department, where work is priced and procured in the transportation and heavy civil markets. Colleen has a strong background in civil estimating with 10 years of experience with McCarthy and more than 14 years of experience in the industry.

She began her career with McCarthy in 2007 as an intern in San Antonio and was hired full-time upon graduation with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.  Colleen is focused on expanding opportunities to deliver civil projects collaboratively both at McCarthy and in the larger marketplace.

Colleen manages the McCarthy Partnership for Women in the Southern Region, an employee resource group, focused on removing barriers to success for women in the construction industry. Outside of work, Colleen is the lead guitarist in an all-female 80’s rock cover band and enjoys dancing flamenco, traveling, and learning a new language.

During this episode, we will also be discussing various design methods such as design-build, and how a more involved design process by all stakeholders helps mitigate the risk of utility strikes due to joint cooperation.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Key Takeaways

McCarthy’s program for women

At the time we had five main priorities. It was personal and professional development, networking, internal and external networking, communication and awareness, and recruiting, The reason that we decided it was important was we have a labor shortage and you cannot go anywhere without hearing about that.

The number one challenge of the industry, at all levels of management, is women are making up 51% of the population and close to 50% of the workplace in general. Ignoring half of a potential workforce is a great way to make sure you continue to have a labor shortage. So we thought that was a place we could make an immediate impact.

The relationship with utility owners

Some of these agencies is easier to deal with than others. Um, sometimes it depends on who you're talking to. Sometimes it's just the agency and they move at the speed that they do, and you don't have a lot of control over that. Sometimes it's a 90 days response

Very early project delays

There were overhead power lines crossing at three or four different locations that didn't get moved, so we had to stop the construction of the bridge.

That caused a lot of delays for that project that wasn’t cheap. It's all just utilities in the way that weren’t either coordinated properly or just couldn't get out of the way in time. That affected our subcontractors that were underground utilities that were in the way too.

Tight deadlines don’t allow for thorough utility investigation

Sometimes you get a really quick hard bid project, and you might have three weeks to get it done. We'll go out and walk the site and just try to understand what's what. Obviously, you don't have enough time to really do a full thorough exploration at that point.

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