In January of 2020, I moved from my hometown of Vancouver, WA to Pullman, WA, home of Washington State University. If you haven't heard of Pullman, there isn't much to it. There are the Wazzu Cougs, and that is about it. If you aren't in college, you would be hard pressed to find much else to do besides the usual college town shenanigans in the middle of the Palouse. However, I found myself moving there without any intention or desire to be back in college.
I moved to Pullman to work for Ginno Construction, a commercial contractor, who was currently building the newest frat house on campus for the Sigma Chi Fraternity. This project on its own is very unique, and was exciting to be a part of from a construction experience aspect. The external factors made this decision even more exciting; two of my best friends from high school were currently in their 3rd year at Wazzu, and one of them was actually a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. I now had the opportunity to live in a college town with my best friends, building one of the new landmark houses in Pullman, and I actually was making money while they were sitting in classrooms.
Up until this point, all of my construction experience has revolved around residential building / remodeling, so stepping foot onto a commercial jobsite was new territory for me. In unique fashion, this project combined the size and logistics of a commercial project while also essentially being a very large house, so I could naturally plug myself in and find ways to add value. Ginno Construction was in charge of running this project, so when I was brought on, I worked alongside the project superintendent and his foreman, starting out as general labor. They gave me simple labor tasks to start, and over time, they were able to provide me with more responsibility given my background in framing and residential construction.
This frat house build gave me my first insight into the efficiency with which commercial projects are able to operate, given they are run by a talented company like Ginno. On single family houses, I had seen one way of building, which usually meant one vendor on site at a time; concrete, then framers, then plumbing, then electrical, so on and so forth. On this frat house, I got to see 4 different vendors all working on site at the same time, and this naturally clicked in my head as the best way to run a build. Granted, this house was massive, so there was abundant space for vendors to work without even interacting with others, but the principle of efficiency stuck with me.
When I left Pullman and Ginno, I was certain that any jobsite I would personally run would be planned, coordinated, and executed as efficiently as possible. Rather than one vendor on site at a time, I would find ways to incorporate multiple vendors without causing too much friction with vendors running into each other as they tried to work in smaller spaces. Without the experience working for a commercial contractor, I wouldn't have the introduction to how construction can run much more efficiently, and now I am able to incorporate their systems into my own residential construction philosophy.
Residential construction has very basic minimal standards, known as 'Building to Code'. That was never my intention when getting into residential construction. I want to build award-winning homes, in the most efficient manner, with talented, respectful, and professional vendors, who take pride in their craft. Every company I've worked for, every jobsite I've set foot on, and every new experience provides me with takeaways to improve the quality of service and value I am able to provide. This is a never-ending journey to improve, and I believe that is a principle every business should adopt.