It’s #CareersInConstructionMonth! To celebrate, R&H is sharing a sneak-peek into some of the career paths available in our industry. From crunching numbers on estimates with Preconstruction to crafting unique spaces as Carpenter, we look forward to sharing a new Q&A each week in October. To kick off the series, meet Chet, a Preconstruction Manager at R&H.

Chet, Preconstruction Manager


Q: What was your path to into the A/E/C industry and Preconstruction?

A: Before college and internships, I would work construction jobs in the summer. Both of my folks were also in the AEC industry – my mom was on the contractor side and my step-dad is on the engineering side. Based on these connections, I wanted to try and pursue something outside of construction and I tried to keep my options open by studying finance and accounting at Oregon State. After a few summer internships as a financial analyst, I realized finance didn’t seem to invigorate me and I figured I would give the construction industry a try after graduation. Enjoying numbers, working in excel, summers spent on the jobsite, and physically being a part of the construction; preconstruction ended up being a natural fit for me and something I truly enjoy doing.

Q: What are the key duties of a Preconstruction Manager? 

A: There are several but here are some of our main tasks:

  • Giving budgeting advice
  • Creating high-level rough order of magnitude
  • Bidding projects
  • Engaging subcontactors for MEP design-build projects
  • Value engineering advice
  • Working with architects and engineers to meet stakeholder goals
  • Client relationship development

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your position?

A: I enjoy the challenge of preconstruction, helping clients meet their goals and making the most desirable decisions for the projects.  There are many challenges we are currently facing in preconstruction: overburdened workforce, a lack of personnel in the trades, unprecedented escalation, supply chain issues and increased lead times on a plethora of goods. One of the exciting opportunities we have as preconstruction managers is to strategize to mitigate these risks and create a path forward for the team prior to even mobilizing on site.

Jack, Superintendent


Q: What was your path to into the A/E/C industry and becoming a Superintendent?

A:  I worked odd construction jobs throughout high school and college. I went to Colorado Mesa University and graduated with a degree in construction management. Right out of college I started working with a general contractor as a Project Engineer. After that, I moved to Oregon and got a job as a Project Engineer here at R&H and worked my way up to a Superintendent. Since I’ve been at R&H, I’ve worked on a mix of large-scale projects like The Village at Mary’s Woods, to mixed-use projects like The Canyons, Saltwood South, and Central Lofts.

Q: What are the key duties of a Superintendent? 

A: I’m currently working on Central Lofts, a mixed-use multifamily apartment complex in Portland’s St. John’s neighborhood. There are several duties when overseeing a project, and some unique ones when building with cross-laminated timber (CLT), but a few of them are:

  • Managing the project schedule
  • Overseeing all site activities
  • Managing owner expectations and communication
  • Subcontractor coordination and task planning
  • Responsible for maintaining a clean, safe and productive jobsite
  • Quality control

Q: What was the most unique project you’ve worked on so far?

A: The Canyons was the most unique job I have been apart of, as it involved using Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). As Project Engineer, I handled all the BIM modeling to pre-drill all the Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Sprinkler penetrations through the CLT slabs. The CLT remained exposed in the finished units, so it was important that each penetration was in its precise location. That was a nerve-wracking task, but everything worked out like it was supposed to.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your position?

A: I enjoy that no day is ever the same on site. You are always dealing with new challenges, and finding ways to overcome them. Seeing the project come together makes it all worth it!

Kim, Project Engineer


Q: What was your path to into the A/E/C industry and becoming a Project Engineer?

A: I have been in  the construction field for 27 years, and all of that has been with R&H.  I started out as a Laborer, then moved on to Apprentice, finally working my way up to Journey-level Carpenter,  Foreman and to then to Superintendent. After 25 years in the field,  I decided to come into the office to see the other side of the building process. I am now a Project Engineer working towards becoming a Project Manager.

Q: What project are you working on, and what are your key duties? 

A: I’m currently working on Consolidated Community Credit Union in Hood River, which is just getting started. I’m working on the submittal process, which is where you see all the components of the project before it gets put together. I also talk to all the subcontractors involved and gather their input and knowledge on the project. So I am part of the building process before and after construction begins.  There are several key duties of a Project Engineer, but a few of them are:

  • Coordinating jobsite documentation (RFI’s & Submittals)
  • Coordinating neighborhood outreach and relations
  • Plan reviews
  • Cost analysis
  • Managing subcontractor bids

Q: Has working in the field helped you in your current position? 

A: Absolutely! Having the inside knowledge of how things are built helps with the submittal process, because I can look through documents and estimates and see what may be missing or what is still needed to finish the scope. Getting this taken care of in the beginning has helped to eliminate delays in the future.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your position?

A: I enjoy being a team player, and working with several parties involved in the process. I think that everyone working as a team is the best way to have a positive building experience for everyone involved.

Daniel, Journey-level Carpenter


Q: What was your path to into the A/E/C industry and becoming a Journey-level carpenter?

A: I started construction framing when I was 18 years-old, pretty much right out of High School. Ever since, I’ve been doing construction, heavy haul construction, and worked on a processing fishing boat. I’ve always been doing hands-on work outside in the elements. I got more involved in finishing and cabinetry work around 26 years-old. From there I took off into the career that I’m working towards now. I put value into what I do, and I enjoy getting feedback (whether good or constructive) and working with my team.

Q: What are the key duties of a Journey-level carpenter? 

A: I’m currently working on the Reserves at Pilot Butte, an 82-unit multifamily apartment complex in Bend. The tasks we do differ depending on the state of construction, but we’re on the last stage right now. I pretty much tackle everything to make sure the job is at the final stage to turn it over. Right down to the nitty gritty things like changing doors and window screens.  Some of the main duties are:

  • Operating construction tools and equipment
  • Completing safety pre-task plans
  • Reading and interpreting building plans/drawings/specifications
  • Accurately measuring and performing layout according to plans/specs
  • Leading small teams and directing the work of carpenters, apprentice carpenters and carpenter helpers
  • Performing framing and interior finish carpentry

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your position?

A:  I enjoy learning new things every day as they come. Definitely catching up with the Project Engineer, Superintendent, and the rest of the team. When we get together, it feels like you’re being appreciated and the job is getting to where it needs to be–and that’s cool to see.

Q: What advice would you give someone starting out as a carpenter?

A: Work as a team, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know something, don’t try to make it up yourself. Try to kick the bad habits out as much as you can! And make sure you enjoy what you do.