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Kimberly Hanson Baptist Health

Behind the Build: Interview with Kimberly Hansen, PE, System Director of Construction, Baptist Health

Kimberly Hansen has served as System Director of Design and Construction at Baptist Health the last nearly four years and has overseen multiple projects totally more than $600 million constructed in that time. She got an early start in the construction industry. At 17, she was already learning AutoCAD and working as a full-time draftsperson for her father. Since then, a lot has changed, especially when it comes to technology. Today, Kimberly’s team now employs a sophisticated toolkit of solutions that enables her company to meet its growing needs.

In this edition of Behind the Build, we speak to Kimberly to learn how she balances her passion for service with her career, in addition to common challenges of the healthcare construction industry. Read on to learn her story.

What does Baptist Health specialize in as an organization?

Baptist Health is the only mission-driven, faith-based, and locally governed health system in North Florida. We were founded by the community to serve the health needs of the community, and that means we must be comprehensive in the services we provide and in the access we create to quality care. We started as a single hospital in downtown Jacksonville – my hometown – and now we have more than 200 access points in 8 counties, and growing.

Today, we have five hospitals, including the only children’s hospital in the region, and four freestanding emergency departments. The first one of those was built in Clay County on Fleming Island, and we are about to add a 6-story hospital to that campus. We also expanded outpatient surgery there. Then we, of course, have hundreds of primary care offices and 13 urgent care centers in partnership with CareSpot.

In September 2018, we opened the Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, which was $180 million facility build. Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center combines the clinical breakthroughs of the number one cancer center in America and the full resources of North Florida’s largest and most preferred health system.

Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center

Tell us more about your career journey.

My father was a role model for me in my career. He went to school to become an architect, and after he graduated, he started working in the field. Then he felt called into the ministry, which he also pursued. I grew up seeing that it was possible to balance my two passions, a professional career and ministry.

My father owned two small businesses that I started working with him in. For an architect, he was an early adopter of AutoCAD. I think he started using it in 1983. As a result, I started learning AutoCAD as a teenager.

I was a full-time draftsperson at 17 for him. I worked all through my college career drafting in the old release world.

Rather than having the creative mind of an architect, I was much more math driven. That’s how I ended up pursuing and getting my degree in civil engineering. After college, I worked for a local civil engineer in town and got registered. I ended up returning to school for my master’s in construction management because, as a young engineer, I was getting calls from the contractor and thinking, “Why am I answering these questions? I don’t have a clear idea of how it all comes together in the field.”

After that, I went to work for Haskell, which is America’s design-build leader, and it’s how I got into the design-build world. During my time at the company, I had the opportunity to be involved in a very large project for Baptist Health – the Heart Hospital and Helipad and parking deck that exists on this downtown campus today. I spent about two and a half years on that project and fell in love with the people and culture here at Baptist. Ten years later, I had the opportunity to interview for my current position, and everything seemed to align just right.

How has Baptist Health supported your passions outside of your career?

The other half of my life involves a commitment to service and community. Just like my father has instilled in me, I have always felt the importance of serving those that have not had the blessings and opportunities afforded to me.

My daughter was in second grade with a boy whose mom ran a ministry called Sidewalk Funday School, which serves children in low-income communities in Jacksonville. I felt like I should expose my daughter to opportunities for service. So I started volunteering there a couple of hours a week.

About a year after I joined, unfortunately, the founder was diagnosed with lung and pancreatic cancer. Before she passed, she asked me to ensure that the ministry carried on. I now say I inherited a ministry, as it wasn’t anything I intended to do. I thought I was just signing up for a couple of hours a week. That said, it’s a role I love, take very seriously, and consider it as a sacred trust.

This all happened before I started at Baptist. When interviewing with the system, I let them know, “Hey, I have this ministry. It takes a lot of my time, and I need to make sure the organization will be supportive of my work here.”

Actually, my boss, Keith Tickell and the COO, John Wilbanks, who I interviewed with, told me, “That’s fantastic. We want you to get involved in the community. You already have your passion, go do that.” Overall, they have been extremely supportive of my work in the community.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in healthcare construction?

One of the challenges, which I shared a little bit about recently at the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) conference, is that I walked into a department with no construction control systems. Baptist Health has grown immensely over the last 20-25 years. One of the first things that I was able to implement was a project management information system to track everything, instead of Excel spreadsheets that were previously used.

Another challenge is getting existing conditions information for our facilities. For instance, the main tower on the Jacksonville campus was built in the mid ’50s, and with multiple additional buildings added through the years we now have over 3 million square feet on the downtown campus alone. We are currently building a brand new 210,000 critical care tower, which is going to be a wonderful addition to our community and region. It will offer 120 suites, 75 NICU beds and 50 PICU beds where the families can room-in with their children. However, we had to demo a garage that was built in 1955 in order to begin the new tower, which will connect to four existing buildings and will create a new front door for the campus. It has been an extraordinary project that BIM has been heavily needed and relied upon. We are using extensive 3D modeling to find existing utilities, run the scans, incorporate the as-builts, and get all the trade models as well as the architectural, the structural and MEP models, to figure out what is what and where deep foundations can be placed and still avoid existing utilities that all run across the site from our existing Central Energy Plant.

NICU tower Baptist Health

That’s probably the most significant challenge, project wise. We have so much work going on as we have significant projects happening at all of our campuses. We have a lot of good contractors, but we’ve probably maxed out the qualified construction labor pool!

How do you use construction technology on the jobsite today?

We are using PlanGrid extensively. We have several contractors that use PlanGrid for every project. I love how easy it is to use to tap on a thumbnail of a sheet, dig in and then go to the section cuts. From there, I can mark up a drawing, attach a photo, and more, all which I think is fantastic.

We use BIM 360 and BIM 360 Glue on many of our larger projects. For instance, with the cancer center, we did our punch list with BIM 360 and tracked all field issues along the way. Our team is also using it on the NICU tower project.

I’m very excited that Baptist has just recently hired a system-wide architect, Matt Bode, to oversee our master planning and design. He is accelerating our use of BIM modeling and Assemble, so I know there are some exciting ways we will be using even more construction technology in the near future.

Any advice for the next generation of men and women thinking of going into the construction industry?

Please consider a career in construction – we need you. We currently have a labor shortage.

I chaired the local Architecture, Construction, Engineering (ACE) mentor program for several years, which is active in local high schools to encourage students to consider a career in construction management, engineering and other fields. While I gave up my chair once I inherited Sidewalk Funday School, I am still on the advisory board. I am always helpful in terms of recruiting mentors, letting students come and do field trips and ask any questions. I have a real passion to get the next generation involved and interested in the construction industry.

My hope is that my experiences will be combined to aid the next generation growing up in Jacksonville.

For instance, right now I have two high school freshmen that I’ve had relationships with for several years through Sidewalk Funday School One is planning to join the ACE Mentor program which is offered at his high school, the other wants to be a nurse. I can help them both pursue their career paths! I truly feel that God has blessed me to be at Baptist Health in Construction at this time, my prayer is that becomes a blessing for the next generation as I work with them and for their future and that they grow up and become productive citizens in our community and learn the importance of service and of giving back themselves.


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