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#Duckumentary - Louis Dowd

Today we speak with Project Manager, Louis Dowd.

What did you do before your time at EDA?

Prior to working at EDA, I worked for another ACM fabrication and install company in New Jersey. I initially started operating the CNC machine, then quickly moved into panel design, and eventually project management for a few years before I was approached by EDA to join the team here.

What brought you to the construction industry?

I had attended NJIT out of high school for Mechanical Engineering while working part time for my previous company. I quickly realized that while I grasped the material, the pace was too slow for me to stay motivated, and I was concurrently growing into my previous role and enjoying the challenges that brought. I then made the decision to forego finishing college and commit to garnering as much experience as possible in this niche construction field of ACM and metal panel façade systems. I grow bored very easily and the unique daily challenges of different construction projects keep me motivated and intrigued, so it was a perfect fit.

Can you briefly explain what you do at EDA?

I am a Project Manager in our North Jersey/NY division, focusing mainly on ACM, metal panel, and architectural façade systems. That entails overseeing all aspects of the project once the project is handed over from our Estimating team. We first review the contract, scope of work, specifications, and contract drawings to get a firm understanding of what we own, the materials, and design intent, and any concerning item within these. Once that is complete the rest of the project is basically putting a large puzzle together, except you have to find all the pieces first. The pieces include specific materials, shop drawings, coordination with other trades, and most importantly effective communication between our office and field teams to ensure a smooth operation.

What are some things that most people don't know about you?

I’m an avid reader that enjoys almost all types of books. If I’m ever lost staring at my phone, you can assume I’m consumed by a new book on the Kindle app I use. In 2020 I gave a presentation to the company after reading Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and framing it from a construction perspective, which can still be found somewhere on our extensive servers. I’m always open to new book recommendations so feel free to send them over.

If you weren’t in the construction industry, where would you be today?

That’s a difficult question as I try to live in the present as much as possible. I started in this industry at a young age and for the most part find fulfillment and enjoyment in what I do. I do have a good number of hobbies and I assume I would’ve tried to pursue the monetization of one of those at some point, the possibilities today are endless with technology and media.

If you could work in any other trade or department here at EDA, where would you be?

I wouldn’t change anything really. Project management suits my personality and I enjoy the challenges it brings. As a project manager I’m also involved with most other departments in some aspect which helps understand the different difficulties and challenges they face in their respective roles.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in work? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced to date would be the LaGuardia Airport project we just completed. This was the first project I was given at EDA over two years ago and the previous team had already completed 1 of 5 phases, so I was late to the party. It was a massive undertaking, with two separate contracts and GC teams who handled things completely differently, and a schedule that should’ve been impossible. This was an Aluminum Plate Panel project where all panels were fabricated and delivered before the structure was even built, so coordination was extensive to ensure a perfect fit. Our team was able to successfully complete this project by focusing on effective communication both internal and external, detailed logistical planning, redesigning, or engineering things to expedite construction, and utilizing up to 7 60’ Mec Titan working platforms at one time. Our field staff and crews went above and beyond to make this possible, at one point working 58+ hours weeks for multiple months. I’d also like to credit our Foreman Dan Staudinger with this success for his incredible leadership on site.

What has been the best part about your experience working with EDA?

My favorite part of working at EDA is the variety of projects and scopes I get to dive into. Every project is different and unique which keeps things interesting. It also requires open collaboration between colleagues with varying experiences which is an area where EDA excels.

What is your favorite EDA value, and why?

The EDA value I most align with is Strive to Improve. I consistently strive to increase my knowledge and experience in our niche field, while also sharing the things I’ve learned with our greener team members. Consistent improvements can’t be made without bringing up the people around you at the same time.