The world’s largest medical complex sits just west of Texas State Highway 288, in south-central Houston. It is a two-square-mile district teeming with life, housing more than 60 medical institutions employing upwards of 106,000 people. Amid this densely occupied healthcare hive, Self-Perform Work (SPW) Assistant Superintendent Andres Martinez is putting to use one of the most valuable benefits SPW brings to each project: the ability to better control project schedules.
Hospital construction projects are inherently complex, with challenges amplified by occupied structures that continue to function during construction. Andres’s commitent to planning, with robust communication both internally between trades and externally with customers, helps make his projects successful.
Q: What is your role at DPR and describe the path you took to get there?
Martinez: I’m an assistant superintendent for SPW drywall. I started as a carpenter three years ago, when a previous boss asked me to come to DPR to work with him. After about six months, I became a foreman. A year after that, they gave me the opportunity to train to be an assistant superintendent, and I’m still here! It’s a big challenge, but I’ve learned a lot.
Q: How have you grown since you started here?
Martinez: I’ve gotten to do a lot of new things because we get a lot of opportunities. If you want to learn something new, DPR gives you the chance. I always ask for training so I can do something more for the company, and for myself and my family. I have a wife and two kids, with one more on the way in two months! In the future, I hope to become a superintendent. There are always opportunities to learn more and more.
Q: Over the course of your career, what is the most important thing you have learned?
Martinez: Learning how to work on computers. Before I came to DPR, I never worked much with them. Here I get to learn different building software that makes our work so much easier. That’s what I like.
Q: What’s the most technical part of the job you’re working on now?
Martinez: Right now, we’re doing a tenant improvement project at a hospital tower. We’re re-doing floors seven through ten on the east side of the tower, which is phase one. It’s a bit different for me because it’s a remodel. The work itself is the same, but we’re really working with the occupants to make sure we don’t disrupt them or the hospital. We’re doing ceilings, doors, restrooms, nurses’ stations—we’re building in sections and being really careful to accommodate the work and schedules of the employees and the patients.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge?
Martinez: Scheduling is the biggest challenge, but we’ll put in as much work as we need to get it done on time. We work nights if we need to. We communicate with each other and with the customer to make it work. It’s important to make a good plan of who needs to go in and when because the space is a bit tight and won’t accommodate everyone at the same time. That’s the toughest part.
Q: What do you love about construction/your job?
Martinez: Pretty much everything. I love what I do. I’m learning every day—always learning something different. I started in the field and now I’m working more in planning, working on the computer. But to be honest, I really like all the people here. I love DPR, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable going somewhere else.
Q: What are you most proud of?
Martinez: I feel proud every time we finish a job! That’s when I feel excited to move on to the next project. It’s a feeling of accomplishment. When we finish, we relax and say, “Ahh… we’re done!” And SPW brings more quality to every job, so that makes me proud.
Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?
Martinez: I think experience is the most important thing. It’s important to work a bit in the field so you know what you’re talking about. Also, listen to people’s concerns and help resolve them. Respect the people and take care of them.
Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?
Martinez: Work in the field as much as you can. You can do a lot on the computer and it makes building a lot easier, but if you know nothing about the field you don’t have the whole picture. And learn as much as you can about all the trades and everything that goes into building.
When Martinez says goodbye to his family in the morning, he takes pride in knowing he is part of an organization that helps create opportunities not only for him, but for the community around him. He is proud to be part of an organization that enables him to grow as a builder as he continues to build great things for his community.