Seattle builder Jeremy Scollard never shies away from a challenge. They might make him uncomfortable, but he knows working through them helps him grow—as a person and as a builder. In an industry where challenges are the norm, he stresses this viewpoint to his team members in an effort to help not only build great things, but to also build great people.
Q: What is your role at DPR and describe the path you took to get there?
Scollard: I’m a drywall foreman. Right now, I’m working on a 22,000-sq.-ft.tenant improvement project for a life sciences company here in Seattle. About 70% of it is office space, and the rest is lab space. I moved to DPR after spending most of my career working for subcontractors. There’s a vast difference being on the GC side. There are a ton of positives for me.
Q: What are some interesting aspects about the project you’re working on right now?
Scollard: On this project, we’re self-performing framing, drywall, acoustical ceilings and specialty baffles, Haworth office glass fronts, and doors, frames and hardware. Because we’re self-performing those, we’ve been able to better manage the schedule, safety and quality. Having different craft teams that can go from one scope to another gives us maximum efficiency in flow, even with delays in permits or missing information. If there were four or five different subcontractors on this same job rather than DPR self-perform teams, it might not have been such a smooth process with communication and schedule. There most likely would have been a different outcome for us.
Q: Why do you think being a self-performing general contractor makes a difference on a project?
Scollard: First off, we can better control the schedule to deliver the project on time. We can communicate easier and quicker. We have more control over quality. At the end of the day, that’s our main goal, to deliver a quality project. That’s a big reason I like being a part of DPR’s SPW team. It’s an easier process for us to make schedule adjustments and recommendations that then get incorporated quicker. On this project, we worked through permit delays, and the construction schedule was faster than the design schedule, but we still pushed for answers and held to our schedule.
Q: What is your proudest moment at DPR?
Scollard: As a superintendent, the better I can build the people on my team, the better they’ll be able to build a job for DPR and for the client. Rather than be a builder of things, now I’m a builder of people. That’s what I’ve learned over the years. I’m still learning and trying to get good at it. That’s also the most challenging part because I’m not used to it, just like this interview—this is challenging for me. But when you succeed at it and when it all comes together, it’s very rewarding. When you spend some time working with people that you’ve known over the years, and watched them grow and succeed and become better, and feel like you might have had a part in that—that’s the rewarding part.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Scollard: I think getting out of your comfort zone is always a challenge. But it’s important to do it because it allows you to grow and advance in your career. Plus, seeing that you’ve accomplished something that was a challenge is really rewarding. It gives you a personal sense of accomplishment.
Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?
Scollard: I guess my dad really instilled a work ethic in me. With a good work ethic, you become proud of what you do and then start to love what you do. Reliability is important—showing up. We can teach you how to work. I can teach you all the skills you need to know, but it’s hard to teach somebody gumption—just the “want” to show up. That’s what you need, the “want” to be a part of a team. If you want to be part of the team, we’ll make you part of the team and teach you what you need to know to be successful.
Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?
Scollard: It’s important not to be afraid to try new things, to learn new skills, and put yourself into uncomfortable situations because without that, you can’t grow. That’s what I’m doing right now. Don’t be afraid to put yourself into a situation that’s uncomfortable. You’ll most likely grow from it.