Eastman Insights: Paul Weiss
September 2021 Staff Spotlight
Before joining Eastman Cooke, Paul Weiss worked for his family’s business gaining many years of experience in residential construction and carpentry. Now part of the Eastman Cooke family, Paul has been instrumental to the success of numerous healthcare and specialty retail projects. As a Project Superintendent, he exhibits exceptional leadership and communication skills while coordinating laborers and subcontractors, and helps to ensure that our projects continuously remain on target. Paul’s passion for technology has helped to fuel increased innovation at our jobsites, and his strong knowledge of safety regulations helps us to meet and exceed every requirement while keeping our teams safe.
What are the most important skills and traits to have as a construction superintendent, and the keys to running a safe jobsite?
A good super needs to be observant, organized, and work well under pressure. Having the necessary skill set to perform physical tasks is particularly helpful when it comes to problem solving and navigating any construction issues that arise. Knowing how to build and being able to build are two different things.
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 helped you and your team to continuously maintain an effective workflow, and to keep projects running smoothly?
Using the Work Smart System helps in heading off any small problems before they escalate. On a weekly basis, we compare our two-week look-ahead schedule with our total project schedule. If we see that the two schedules are not lining up, we determine what the issue is and how to correct it ASAP to steer everything back on track. At the end of the project, we conduct our post-job review. We assess the challenges and successes of that particular project and apply the takeaways to the next one. Incorporating these key learnings helps to enhance projects moving forward, resulting in a seamless project delivery for our clients.
What Eastman Cooke projects are you most proud of and why?
Going on five years with ECA this January, I have to say that the project that I am most proud of is Audi of Queens. It had a little bit of everything, including a dynamic office space and showroom, as well as a mechanic garage with multiple lifts and a heated concrete ramp up to the second level where the showroom was located. The finished building was more like a work of art and remains one of Eastman Cooke’s signature projects.
While working as the Assistant Super on that project alongside Art Schumann, a Senior Superintendent with ECA, I learned a lot – from the construction of the building to the site work, to the expert coordination that brought different utilities into the site and building. It was a great learning experience, which helped forge the path to my promotion to Superintendent.
What significant factors do you rely on when it comes to building strong relationships with your project teams, subcontractors, and clients?
The biggest factors are communication and honesty. An open dialogue with your team, subs, and the client(s) – whether it is about the project or something on a personal level – goes a long way in gaining their trust and confidence. Honesty, well, that should need no explanation…you can’t build a strong and trusting relationship without it.
Prior to joining Eastman Cooke, you worked in residential construction. What were some of the ways in which you achieved a successful transition to commercial work?
Shifting from residential construction to commercial was a big change. There are more moving parts, different code requirements, materials, and techniques in commercial. With the help of the ECA team, the transition was easier and less stressful. Working alongside other ECA supers in the very beginning of my ECA career was definitely a big contributing factor to getting where I am today. Any time I need help or advice, I can always call on them.
How have advancements in technology helped to enhance productivity in construction?
With the use of programs like Procore, we are able to track the progress of projects, which helps to keep them on schedule and on budget. This information is accessible to anyone on your team from anywhere at any time. The need for dozens of binders and folders on a jobsite is now not necessary. This reduces the clutter and helps to enhance organization and productivity.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the construction field?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no one has all the answers. You can learn a lot from your seasoned co-workers. Always remember that you are a team and your team is there to help you get the job done. Be aware that this is a field that is constantly changing. Staying on top of updated code requirements, new building materials, and other new developments will only benefit you and your project.
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