Eastman Insights: Ray Ruggiano
In this month’s Staff Spotlight, we’re up close and personal with Eastman Cooke’s Superintendent Ray Ruggiano. Ray is kicking off this exciting new feature, which showcases the exceptional work of our ECA team and the important ingredients our staff brings to the table that help keep Eastman Cooke at the leading edge of New York’s construction industry.
What are some of the most important skills and traits to have as a construction superintendent?
My background skill set revolves around carpentry. While working as a carpenter for many years prior to my current role at Eastman Cooke, I learned that you need to be aware of all of your surrounding trades. It’s important to know what will be needed during the “rough-in” stage of your projects when mechanical, electrical, and plumbing lines (MEP’s) are brought in. This helps tremendously when you’re building any project of any size.
What are the keys to ensuring a safe jobsite and to keep projects running smoothly?
Safety always remains our top priority on any project. Eastman Cooke is committed to maintaining the highest level of safety at all times.
One key factor is to ensure that everyone on your crew cleans up after themselves each day. A clean jobsite not only sets the tone for a productive day, it will eliminate many potential hazards. This will also keep DOB inspectors very pleased!
Communication is also extremely important. It is the key to our success, and makes up the first tenet of the ECA Work Smart System. The Pre-Job Planning (PJP) tenet is designed to obtain as much information from the estimator as possible so our field team doesn’t break stride. This momentum helps to set the tone and morale for the project, and our successful project development helps to save money for our clients. Planning meetings are held during every phase of a job to further facilitate winning outcomes for our clients.
What are some of the ways in which you and your team continuously maintain an effective workflow and strong productivity?
Working in construction, you have to be prepared for the fact that sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Therefore, you must learn to be resourceful.
While some might view a situation as a problem, Eastman Cooke welcomes any challenge that crosses our path. Instead of seeing hurdles, we see solutions. We echo that same philosophy during the preconstruction phase. That’s why we implemented our successful ECA Work Smart System mentioned earlier. Work Smart’s step-by-step process enables us to resolve issues on a project before construction begins, as well as during and after, to make us better learn from projects so we can continue to succeed. With all my years of construction experience, not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. The ECA Work Smart System is a big contributor to that. Most importantly, Work Smart allows for crucial collaboration between ECA’s executive management, field staff, estimators, project managers, and consultants – this helps to prevent costly delays and keeps projects on track.
What Eastman Cooke projects are you most proud of and why?
I’m proud of all of them. Big or small, every project I have overseen has my name on it. I’m also proud of the amazing teamwork that I witness every day. Together, we’re helping to build, enhance, and transform large spaces across New York. We’re making an impact on the city’s construction scene and we’re helping our clients grow in many different fields. It’s a great feeling.
What significant factors do you rely on when it comes to building strong relationships with your project teams, subcontractors, and clients?
Meeting new people and building relationships is paramount in our business. To build a successful relationship, you need a good team to support you. In my work, I rely on my Project Manager, Assistant Project Manager, and Eastman Cooke’s senior management team. Consistent communication and collaboration helps us to remain on the same page and keep teammates and clients in the loop every step of the way.
How have advancements in technology helped to enhance productivity in construction?
Eliminating snail mail has been the biggest factor. Being able to email and send an entire set of plans within seconds helps to keep projects moving in a timely manner.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the construction field?
Do it because you love it.
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