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#Duckumentary - Mike Coar

Today we speak with Director of Project Management, Mike Coar!

What did you do before your time at EDA?

Before my time with EDA, I spent nearly 10 years working as an estimator for one of EDA’s competitors in New Jersey. We worked on union installed metal panels and louvers in the Philadelphia metro area.

What brought you to the construction industry?

What brought me to the construction industry was bad luck. I should be retiring from the NHL this year! I am not sure what happened... I really put in the work. All the strength training, the skill development, studying the game. I guess the timing was bad and the NHL forgot to invite me to camp. So, I did what any rational, overlooked collegiate athlete from small town America would do: I decided that I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. After learning that my eyesight and hearing would prevent me from being considered, I was pretty bummed out. At that point, I guess you could say that my alarm clock went off and I woke up and realized that it may be best to do something with these engineering degrees that they gave me for playing hockey… haha.

Can you briefly explain what you do at EDA?

I am the Director of Project Management for the NJ/NY Division. I manage the PMs and APMs that work up north. I am responsible for developing our Project Managers and leading our team towards success by ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our teammates as well as our customers in a manner that develops strong relationships built on trust, reliability, and quality.

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

My wife and I have an 8-year-old son who is rather deep on the autism spectrum amongst other challenges, including separation and transition anxiety, ADHD, and an acute fear of the weather (storms). As such, we live an extremely simple life and are restricted from so many things. I struggle to find the words to articulate what this is like for us. I have tried to explain it so many times, but no one seems to understand. I don’t blame them… it is something that you have to experience. It has cost me my friends and even some family. It’s a hard reality to experience. Every morning, I wake up and choose not to give into my feelings but rather to do my best. Some days are harder than others. I start over every single day. It reminds me very much of videos that circulate on social media about what it means to ask a man “how are you?”, only to hear the usual response “I’m alright”. All the while, that man is struggling and fighting demons that no one else knows about. I think there are so many men that can relate to this. I want them to know that “I’m alright” too. If anyone ever needs to talk, I got you. Please give me a call. I will understand. I care.

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

If I wasn’t in the construction industry… this is a great question. I haven’t given it much thought for the past 20 years. I would have to say wherever the good Lord leads me.

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

If I could work in any other trade or department at EDA, I would like to work in our Legal Department. I think that I have certain attributes that would pair well with the challenges that our Legal team engages daily.

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

I have faced many challenges over the past 20+ years in this industry. If I had to summarize the common root cause of the most challenging issue, it would have to be people. You will engage with so many different personalities and agendas in construction. Eventually, you will be faced with someone who may be extremely difficult to deal with. Emotional intelligence is the key. Know your triggers and avoid responding in a negative manner. Learn the other person’s triggers and stay clear from activating them. Listen to them with the intent to understand their needs and reinforce the things that you can do for them. Keep it positive. Empathize with what they are dealing with and appeal to their humanity. When all else fails, keep your word.

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

EDA has granted me the freedom, flexibility, and opportunity to venture into different roles and challenges that have helped me grow not only professionally but personally. I really value EDA’s Leadership Classes, Small Group sessions, and Culture. This transcends EDA beyond the common construction workplace. I feel that I have gained so much from these experiences. They have taught me emotional intelligence, perspective, and leadership skills that have helped me stay grounded in this challenging environment.

What is your favorite EDA value, and why?

My favorite EDA value is Build Trust. I believe that building trust is the foundation to positive and long-lasting relationships that our business is built on. Whether it be inter-departmental, vendors, or with our customers, building trust is the key to being successful together.