Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Alexander’s Mobility Services' monthly “Sales Spotlight” program highlights a sales team member and uncovers what makes them-- and the services they sell—so unique. The Sales Spotlight will feature our teams’ best moving tips, favorite on-the-job stories, and interesting facts about the many services that we offer.
This month we sat down with Mark Slater, a project manager for Alexander’s Baltimore office who has worked on some of the company’s larges projects in recent years. Mark has been a member of the Alexander’s team since 2010 and recently transitioned from his role as project manager to operations manager. A Brigham Young University and University of Utah graduate, Mark brings a level of attention to detail that is highly coveted in the moving, storage, and project management industry.
How did you get into project management as opposed to a more traditional sales role?
My experience in Project Management began in facilities refreshment. I helped plan and manage the refreshment of about 80 single-owner facilities (buildings) in Colorado. Prior to my Project Management experience, over a 12 year span I successfully fulfilled a variety of positions in moving and storage. Alexander’s called on me to oversee the BRAC projects in Baltimore.
What is your favorite or best on-the-job memory from any of the large projects you have managed?
One of our larger BRAC-related projects included the consolidation of the BUREAU OF NAVAL MEDICAL COMMAND (BUMED). This element of the realignment was far and away the most visible and emotional of any of the elements. The existing site was anchored deep with Navy Medicine sentiment where they had occupied 12 historical buildings in downtown Washington DC, for approximately 100 years. Decommissioning this facility, overlooking the Potomac River, then leaving it behind made this a high stakes issue for the Navy. Our crews were the last people they wanted to see or cooperate with since emotions were running so high. Notwithstanding, our team quickly went to work attending to each request of the executive command.
In short order we gained their confidence and trust. On the final day of the move, before our trucks loaded their last links to the BUMED facility, the Base Commander called for an encore raising of our country’s flag, marking an end to an important era of Naval medical history. To our surprise and honor, Alexander’s personnel were invited to participate in the ceremony. We all stood respectfully at attention, shoulder to shoulder with the sailors and medical personnel who preserve their lives, as The Star Spangled Banner echoed through the early morning air and the magnificent stars and stripes were raised one final time at BUMED.
What is the biggest challenge you face when managing large-scale projects?
Understanding the high level objective, segmenting the objective into manageable pieces, aligning the proper resources, then leading a cooperative, single-minded effort.
Since you are a main point of contact on a jobsite for clients, crews, management, and subcontractors, what steps would you take to prevent a breakdown in communication?
Our entire project management team was on the ground with the client every step of the way on each of our projects. Long before execution, during the planning segments, our management team attends numerous pre-project meetings with the client. We come to understand their intent with every task prior to starting work, which enabled us to make decisions in the absence of the client that were consistent with their objectives. Our team met daily to review the move sequences, rehearse operational processes, and refine our processes before . We did not wait until day of execution to test this processes.
From a client’s perspective, what is the most important thing to look for when looking for someone to manage a large scale project like the ones you managed?
I believe that clients look for competent partners, competency that shows in every vein of our performance: sales, planning, execution, accounting, appearance, communication, etc.
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