November 2021 Staff Spotlight: Jonathan Gonzalez, Project Superintendent
Jonathan Gonzalez joined Eastman Cooke as an Assistant Superintendent with a decade of outstanding construction experience – from residential to commercial. While exhibiting extensive skills and a careful attention to detail, he was quickly promoted to Project Superintendent. Jonathan’s exceptional field coordination, communication, and planning have helped to produce several successful outcomes for our clients. Among the many demolition, renovation, and ground-up construction projects Jonathan has worked on at Eastman Cooke are Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), 75 Spring Street, and multiple outpatient medical facilities for a leading healthcare client. His strong knowledge of safety procedures and building codes ensures that workers, jobsites, and the public remain safe at all times. Jonathan champions collaboration and values the opportunity to work closely with other team members to “get the job done right and always on time.”
-What are the most important skills and traits to have as a construction superintendent, and the keys to running a safe jobsite?
When you’re leading your team, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude to motivate others, and to use that energy to navigate a successful project outcome. Coordination skills are equally important, since superintendents must effectively manage different trades, while overseeing schedules, materials deliveries, and much more.
When it comes to safety, having a keen awareness is everything. Always inspect your jobsite on a regular basis to make sure codes and regulations are being properly followed, and that all working conditions achieve maximum safety.
These key factors – awareness, attitude, and coordination – are showcased daily on any jobsite.
-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?
The Work Smart System is essential for running a safe site throughout the day, and it allows us to manage critical details of a job with step-by-step protocols. Sign-in sheets and contractor PPE logs are important factors for managing safety. Daily huddles and weekly toolbox talks help us to maintain effective communication, collaboration, and enhanced safety. We also meet regularly to assess project schedules, and to make sure we reach the highest level of productivity to complete our projects on time and on budget. Tracking challenges and successes provides us with key takeaways that we bring to the next project, so that we can continue to produce winning outcomes for our clients.
-What Eastman Cooke projects are you most proud of and why?
Every project evokes a memory in some way. The amount of time and effort put in is crucial for a successful turnaround. The project that I am most proud of is the 25,000 sq. ft. corporate office renovation that we completed for Family & Children’s Association (FCA) on Long Island. The work entailed an open interior floor plan, new kitchens and pantries, new flooring and lighting, and upgrades to the building’s mechanical, electrical, and ventilation systems. Together, our terrific team was able to turn the project around on a tight schedule, using ECA’s Work Smart System and a 3D scan that provided precise measurements for maximum accuracy. Our amazing teamwork was made more special knowing that we were working with a nonprofit client that is dedicated to helping individuals and families who are struggling in today’s society.
-What significant factors do you rely on when it comes to successful collaboration and building strong relationships with your project teams, subcontractors, and clients?
Communication and a solid commitment to excellence are essential for building strong relationships. When we’re building on a tight schedule and working within a particular budget, we rely on returning contractors to carry out different projects. Consistency is key.
Weekly meetings with our clients help to keep everyone informed and involved every step of the way. These meetings are also a great resource for obtaining valuable feedback as the work is being completed.
-How has your experience in industrial and residential construction helped to fuel exceptional outcomes in commercial construction projects?
Industrial and residential construction can be very different when it comes to specifics on material and building codes. Having experience in each of these fields is a plus for commercial construction, since you can find elements of both in the commercial field (along with the same types of expectations from clients and the design teams).
-How have advancements in technology helped to enhance productivity in construction?
Technology has propelled the construction industry toward bigger and better ideas, and it has enhanced coordination among different trades. Challenges and setbacks can now be addressed via livestreams, photos, or emails. Questions can be answered sooner rather than later, increasing productivity and communication for field teams. Saving valuable time is crucial when you’re working on a budget.
-What advice would you give to someone starting out in the construction field?
Study, plan, and keep a record of everything. Conversations and verbal agreements are great to get things turned around quickly in the field. However, if the information isn’t tracked properly, this can prove to be costly and can cause other issues moving forward.
Maintaining a strong commitment to safety is also important. Safety is a practice to take very seriously. In construction, an accident can happen at any time or place. Be aware of every person on your site, and always stay up-to-date on the latest safety regulations.
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