We are proud to announce the promotion of Ben Naylor to Senior Construction Manager. Ben has been with us since 2016 and has continued to impress us with his dedication, hard work and professionalism.
Most recently Ben has been leading the construction management efforts for the new Moorhead Area Public Schools High School which just finished construction on Phase I. Ben’s professionalism, dedication and ability to successfully maneuver his team through complex builds, extreme weather, and material and labor shortages has led to minimal setbacks in the project’s timeline, allowing Phase I to be completed in time for students and staff to move into the building at the start of 2024. Ben will continue to lead the new high school through Phase II, which is scheduled to be completed by 2026.
As a Senior Construction Manager Ben will serve as a liaison between his clients, the design team and construction team, making sure that they’re on the same page and are kept up to date with construction progress. Ben enjoys working with all types of people and getting to know everyone on the jobsite, relishing the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills. We’re confident that Ben will shine in his new role and are excited to watch him take on all new challenges with grace and confidence.
We sat down with Ben to talk about his new role and the journey he took to get here.
What initially drew you into construction management? What made you realize that you had chosen the right career path?
I couldn’t see myself working at a “normal” job and sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day. I love meeting new people, building relationships and staying active. I realized that this was the right fit when I never stopped loving coming into work each day. After my first few projects, I thought the charm would wear off, but every time I come into work, I’m excited for my day and ready to get onto the jobsite and start work!
What is your favorite part of being a Senior Construction Manager?
I love all the relationships that I get to build with contractors and the design team. Creating cohesion with a project team is very rewarding and important to the overall success of a project. There’s truly no better feeling than a well-oiled team navigating their way through problems together!
What were your thoughts when you first got on the new Moorhead high school project? Did you think it was going to be as watched by the community as it has been?
I was excited and up for the challenge! I knew that I needed to be an expert on all aspects of each phase of the building to run it successfully. I knew it would be an important project for the community, it is the only high school in Moorhead and holds a lot of importance to past, current and future families.
What was the most satisfying obstacle you overcame on the high school so far?
Managing an active jobsite a mere seven feet from the existing high school was a tough challenge but it was very satisfying to see all the methods and project organization work throughout the school year without disrupting classes or contractors throughout the day. Finishing Phase I at the end of 2023 was also a very meaningful moment for me, it was exciting to get the seniors into the new building and let them experience the space before they graduate.
How has your time working on the new high school shaped your approach to construction management?
It made me realize that I need to take a few steps back from a project and look at the overall picture when making decisions and curating plans. This project is taking place over multiple phases over the course of five years, looking at the whole picture and dissecting it is important when approaching each new phase. It helped me to see how important preplanning in advance is but also how necessary it is to stay flexible and change the roadmap as challenges and changes arise to make the project a success.
Besides the high school, what other GCS projects have been impactful for you? Why?
The Linden at Eventide on 8th Street was a tricky one for me. It took place over COVID and came with many obstacles to success. Finishing that project meant a lot to me and proved that I can succeed at this job. My first project ever at GCS was the First Assembly of God addition and remodel. That project proved that this was the right career path for me and that GCS was a perfect match.
What are your favorite memories working at GCS?
The best memories here always revolve around people. I love collaborating and interacting with my coworkers, building friendships with subcontractors and being able to work with and learn about our client’s missions and goals.
Gehrtz Construction Services focused on “building the future together”, what does that mean to you?
It means working with and listening to our clients, coworkers and contractors to build a stronger future through the success of our projects and their impact on clients.
What advice would you give to someone interested in construction management?
If you’re passionate, willing to learn, love problem solving and aren’t afraid of hard work, this is an amazing career path that will encourage, teach and excite you every step of the way.