Aschelle Ferdinand, ECA Junior Project Manager
As one of Eastman Cooke’s top junior project managers, Aschelle Ferdinand brings nearly 20 years of construction experience to the table. From pre-construction and design review to field supervision, project turnover and closeout, her work has had a positive impact in every facet of this industry, and she consistently goes the extra mile to make sure we exceed client expectations and that our project teams have all the support and resources they need. Aschelle has also played a crucial role at Eastman Cooke in helping to build and maintain strong relationships with our clients and architects. Her project list for ECA is long and includes Audi of Queens, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) , multiple CarMax dealerships, and multiple medical facilities for leading healthcare providers, among others. Aschelle holds a BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.
As a tribute to her character, Aschelle brings the same level of passion and dedication to the community as she does to her work. When Hurricane Maria brought devastation in 2017 to Dominica and other Caribbean islands, Aschelle organized a large relief effort to assist the hurricane victims. She also contributes regularly to local food pantries and shelters that are helping the underserved in the community.
As a project manager, what are some of the most important elements of bringing a construction project to life?
Getting familiarized with the scope/drawings and overall intent of the project is a(n essential good starting point. Other factors include the specifics like securing permits, identifying special inspections, budget, schedule and getting trades on board. Setting safety goals at the onset will ensure the importance is understood early in the project.
How do you help to ensure that a project continues to run smoothly?
Open and constant communication is key; any issues need to be brought up and addressed promptly. Monitoring the schedule and tracking progress using shorter timelines like two-week look-aheads keep the focus on small tasks and avoid misinformation and anything falling through the cracks.
What Eastman Cooke projects are you most proud of and why?
Audi was my first involvement with ECA on a ground-up project that brought my civil engineering knowledge into play, that was fulfilling. The just-completed CarMax project is definitely on this list as I was given greater responsibilities and stepped up to the task.
What are some of the major takeaways from your many years in construction, and how have they helped to shape your current position?
Learning to adapt in varying situations, from dealing with the lack of modern technology and equipment working in St Lucia at the start of my career, to now understanding that the basics make the difference – being thorough in analyzing every situation using your basic knowledge combined with experience is what gets a job well done.
What significant changes have you seen in the industry, and how has technology helped to enhance workflow and productivity?
The use of technology has definitely progressed with respect to how information is shared. Fast digital transfer of information, using cloud-based construction management software like Procore, as ECA does, has foremen getting sketches and updates faster than ever on their phones and iPads. This to me is definitely a game changer. Prompt and efficient transfer of information reduces delays and misinformation.
For someone entering this field, what are some of the most important traits to have in order to thrive?
Being detail-oriented is key. Being time-sensitive and having some level of construction knowledge, whether work experience, formal education, or both. Be aware it can be stressful yet equally gratifying – there’s a physical end product to admire!
What types of activities or volunteering/community initiatives do you enjoy outside the office?
I have volunteered with a food bank in my area and distributed food in the Hempstead area, and make donations regularly to various charitable organizations
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