December 2021 Staff Spotlight: Michael Guarasci, Project Management
With more than three decades of construction experience, Michael Guarasci brings a sharp eye for detail and outstanding organizational skills to his role at Eastman Cooke. He successfully coordinates team members and subcontractors to make sure project schedules are met in a timely manner. Michael’s extensive skills and expertise have contributed to the success of many Eastman Cooke projects, including a new build ground-up of an 80,000 sq. ft. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) dealership in Glen Cove, New York, and a large-scale office renovation for one of Long Island’s leading nonprofits, Family & Children’s Association (FCA). He has also worked on several major healthcare construction projects across the New York area. Together with his Eastman Cooke colleagues, Michael remains dedicated to meeting the needs of our clients throughout every phase of a project.
-As a project manager, what are some of the most important elements of bringing a construction project to life?
A key element is working closely with the estimating department to ensure all scopes are correct. Pre-construction meetings with subcontractors allow team members to review any obstacles ahead and develop a game plan to overcome them prior to construction.
–How do you help to ensure that a project continues to run smoothly?
Consistently updating submittal and request for information (RFI) logs to ensure the project remains on schedule is essential. Continually coordinating with subcontractors to maintain the project schedule is also important, and helps to ensure that any conflicts get resolved prior to installation.
-One of the major factors that have contributed to Eastman Cooke’s success is the firm’s Work Smart System. Can you give an example of how this innovative system has fueled successful outcomes for your clients?
Going through the Work Smart System with the team helps to identify possible conflicts, such as with lead times of materials. Together, the team is able to come up with an effective solution to eliminate any potential roadblocks.
-What Eastman Cooke projects are you most proud of and why?
I’m really proud of our JLR Glen Cove project. Working in an occupied building while constructing a building out of the ground poses some challenges for coordination, which we’ve been able to successfully tackle. We’ve also enjoyed an increased use of drones to capture photos and videos, which helps to further assess the progress of the job. Watching this exciting project come to fruition is extremely satisfying, especially knowing that we’re constructing the first Jaguar Land Rover dealership on Long Island’s North Shore.
-What are some of the major takeaways from your 30+ years in construction and how have they helped to shape your current position?
During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to manage projects across a range of sectors, budgets, and timelines. Each job has helped me cement my relationship-building skills with clients, owners, superintendents, architects, engineers, subcontractors, and other team members. My 30+ years in construction has taught me the importance of successful collaboration to complete a project and generate repeat business with your clients.
–What significant changes have you seen in the industry, and how has technology helped to enhance workflow and productivity?
Technology has made it easier and faster to get items approved, which shortens schedules in the long run. You’re able to review documents and other materials on the go, which has greatly enhanced accessibility and productivity. Drones (mentioned above) have also helped to evaluate jobs from a visual perspective, capturing bird’s-eye views to enhance project planning, and to monitor progress at a jobsite.
-For someone entering this field, what are some of the most important traits to have in order to thrive?
Responsibility – taking ownership of your job is an important step toward achieving success and earning the respect of your team members. Honesty and loyalty are also key traits to have; both help to strengthen the collaborative process, leading to excellent outcomes for your clients.
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