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jeff shaw chick-fil-a construction manager atlanta fast-food

How This Atlanta Fast-Food Giant Builds Better with Data

Interview with Jeff Shaw, Construction Manager at Chick-fil-A

Across the U.S., many Americans rely on fast food chains for quick, reliable and affordable meals. While everything about the fast-food experience for customers is easy, there’s much more than meets the eye, especially when it comes to building, maintaining and remodeling these restaurants. Jeff Shaw, Construction Manager at Chick-fil-A, knows first hand the complexities it takes to build the establishments providing Americans with a quick meal. 

On October 1, Jeff will be speaking at the Atlanta Roadshow at the Georgia Aquarium in a breakout session called “Creating a Competitive Technology Advantage.” In his session, he’ll be sharing how the Atlanta fast-food chain utilizes technology and data to empower high performing construction teams. 

Recently, we sat down to speak with Jeff to learn more about what he’ll be discussing at the Atlanta Roadshow, as well as how he got his start in the construction industry. Read on to hear Jeff’s story. 

If you’re a construction professional based in the South East, you don’t want to miss out on the Atlanta Roadshow. Deepen your technology expertise with standout breakout sessions from speakers like Jeff and top electrical contractors, engaging panel discussions, an optional training session and more. Register today–but hurry, space is limited! 

Register NOW

How did you get your start in the construction industry? 

If we go back to the beginning, the first project that I ever constructed was with my younger brother. We were working at the beach over summer after we had just finished high school. We built this large two-story deck for a family member. We had the best experience coming together as brothers and creating something that hadn’t been there the summer before. After that, I discovered I had an appreciation and passion for taking things that normally don’t fit together and combining them in a way that was useful and meaningful to us as a family. Of course, we had challenges along the way, but we worked together to overcome them.

In college, I found that there was a construction program at the university I was attending. It felt like the right path for my journey and career. But it all started with that beach project.

What makes the Atlanta construction industry unique? 

If you think about it, there are a lot of the educational programs in the Atlanta area like Southern Polytech (now Kennesaw State), Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern that are all avenues to provide an educational foundation for young people entering the construction industry. Even the surrounding areas and states like South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida all have these wonderful education programs for construction. I’m grateful that all of these organizations exist to help young people find their path in the industry. 

As a result, I think that has positioned Atlanta to be the epicenter of construction, especially in the South East. In Atlanta, there’s a huge pool of high-quality professionals that are capable of building things at a high level. It’s the people that are the infrastructure that helps that industry thrive here. 

Tell us more about your upcoming presentation at the Atlanta Roadshow.

In our session, we’ll be exploring why data is important in construction. We’ll take a look at how it informs our judgments and decisions on projects. The biggest thing that I would like attendees to take away is how they can use data to measure their performance in a way that helps them do better tomorrow. If we can use data in a way that gives us insight into where we’ve been in the past and helps us make better decisions moving forward, we can all perform at a higher level.

How has PlanGrid helped your company build better?

PlanGrid is a lightning rod that gives us the ability and opportunity to connect better with folks in the field.

Anytime that you have a lot of projects in remote locations with a diverse staff, team members and partners, you can’t spend face time with as many people as you’d like to on a daily basis. What you can do is stay connected with them through technology and make them feel less isolated and part of a team. The more connected your team feels, the better chance they’re going to be high performing. 

PlanGrid gives us an opportunity to do that better than we have in the past. The functionalities like RFIs, submittals and drawings are great but if you really boil it all down, it’s about making people feel connected. That’s an important part of building a high functioning and hardworking team.


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