STORY BY JANIE ROSMAN
While New York City’s streets buzzed with pre-holiday excitement, another energy filled the room where a prominent speaker discussed a $3.9 billion project less than an hour away.
To say Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson’s presentation was riveting would be an understatement.
“Our members were so engaged,” PMI New York City (PMI NYC) Program Manager Holly Ripley said of the more than 200 attendees. “His presentation was rich with data and easy to follow.”
“It is always a pleasure to meet with local professional organizations like Project Management Institute,” Sanderson said. “These gatherings allow us to connect with other construction managers who deal with similar issues on their projects, share ideas, and explain the dynamics of running a complex mega-project like the New NY Bridge.” — Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson
The topic was also timely: Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) soon begins its third year on the clock, Governor Cuomo recently announced new appointments, and three top executives at the Thruway resigned within weeks.
“We try to bring in a speaker to talk on a mega project,” Ripley said of the annual meetings, which are larger than chapter meetings. “The previous year we had someone from Jones Lang LaSalle talking about the Empire State Building, and the year before that we had MTA Capital Construction talking about the Second Avenue Subway.”
Her takeaway was learning the bridge would be decommissioned when the new bridge opens, and realizing the incredible amount of work involved.
“We didn’t see much of the infrastructure early on, and now we’re seeing pillars in the water,” she said. “With a building it’s different because you can see the construction, and the progress is more apparent.”
Another discovery was the methodology: the bridge is scientifically planned and executed to provide support and modern structure. “That was a bit of news, too,” she said, “and learning about the political drivers was interesting for our members.”
Chapter members who attend meetings are professionals in their own industries, and hearing about project management for the bridge “was a whole new world for many of us,” Ripley said. “He (Sanderson) offered us a view of the complexity of a project that will be used by millions of people.”
“Many struggle with delivering a successful quality project safely, on or ahead of schedule and on budget — but it can be done. It will take a collaborative effort working with the design-build team from design refinement through detailed engineering until the final stages of construction.” — Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson
More than six years after joining the chapter Ripley — Director, Project Management – Worldwide for Omnicom Media Group — will become PMI NYC’s president next January. In 2013, she attended the international convention in Turkey, and this year she’ll head to its Global Congress in London.
“Annual regional and international conferences help members within chapters to network and collaborate with one another to gain critical information,” she said. “It’s important to have a network of professionals within your field, especially when you’re seeking certifications.”
They include PMP (Project Management Professional)®, PgMP (Program Management Professional)® and CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management). Members who are working toward certification are encouraged to participate in the chapter’s study groups.
“The most well-known (credential) is Project Management Professional (which demonstrates that someone has the experience, education and competency to lead and direct projects),” she said. “It means you understand how projects are delivered and managed locally and internationally.”
Nearly 3,000 strong, PMI NYC is part of Project Management Institute, the world’s largest not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Philadelphia, PMI has more than 200,000 members in 150 countries worldwide.