If you’re like most construction veterans, you’ve seen the industry change significantly over recent years. From an influx of megaprojects, new emerging technology and an evolving workforce, construction has come a long way over the last several decades.
As part of our “Behind the Build” blog series, we’re chatting with a variety of workers in the industry to understand their perspective. From green newcomers to experienced pros, we want to get to know the people at the heart of our vibrant industry.
This week, we speak with Rick Wood who has seen his fair share of jobsites during his over 30-year career in the industry. Currently, he works as a superintendent for J&J Acoustics, a metal framing and drywall subcontracting firm based in Santa Clara, CA. Below, he discusses how he turned a summer job into a profession and how he embraces every challenge as an opportunity to excel.
What first got you into construction?
I started out as a laborer on a construction site for a summer job, and it turned into becoming a lather. From there I learned to do metal stud framing and hang drywall from some great teachers (foreman/journeyman). This then led to becoming a foreman and eventually a superintendent for J&J Acoustics.
Why do you continue to build today?
I really enjoy working with our team of employees from the office to our field.
The projects have become more complex, and with the new technology, it makes building actually enjoyable.
What do you love most about the industry?
I’ve been working in the construction industry since 1986 – so 32 years! I love the daily challenges each project brings and working side by side with the GC, other subs and our team.
Which projects are you most proud of?
When I was in the field, the last project I ran was the San Jose City Council Wing; it had multiple finishes and very complicated exterior and interior framing.
Our most recent project was for NVIDIA; we built a building inside of another building. This will win awards!
What do you spend the most time doing at work?
I spend the most time working with our PM’s and our field foreman. I provide tech support, problem solve, as well as support safety efforts. With all the new technology that comes out, I also work with the field to see how we can get the most from it.
What’s the most frustrating part of working in construction?
Negativity; there will always be challenges so why not embrace them and see “how we can make it work”!
Any thoughts you want to share with the next generation of builders?
Be open to everyone for advice; you may think your way is the best but there could be a great idea just waiting for you to embrace.
How has technology changed the way you work in construction?
Technology has made information available in real time on the jobsite. It helps reduce mistakes and improve production.
Issues that took weeks to get answered can be done in hours.
How do benefit the most from PlanGrid?
We have been using PlanGrid since 2014; it started as just a quick way to look at drawings if you weren’t near the blueprints. Now we use it for everything!
I have all our projects on PlanGrid (typically 25-30 jobs) as I walk onto the jobsite I have access to all our documents and reports. Within an hour of being on the jobs I can help make punchlists; generate RFI’s even send out a safety report.
What’s your favorite PlanGrid feature?
Emailing PDF packets with snapshots and photos; this allows info to be sent immediately. If we have an engineering or design issue, we can provide location a picture and within minutes we are discussing this with the GC, engineer or architect. A solution can be made, and production keeps going.
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