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I read with interest the article "Project Delivery is Still Evolving" (ENR 6/16 p. 38). I was in the engineering and construction businesses for 28 years, and my biggest problem in providing those services was a consistent lack of adequate and qualified owner representation, or Program Management, as it is now called.
So three years ago, when my general contracting business was sold, I founded a new company to exclusively represent owners. One of our main responsibilities is pre-qualifying, hiring, and managing the design and construction firms for each project.
Interestingly, we have little competition except from architectural, engineering, and construction companies who have ventured into the business on a part-time basis. Regarding your own list of the "Top 20 Program Management Firms," the question arisesjust how objective can these firms be in this situation? And how many times do they also end up providing design or construction services on the same projects where they are the Program Manager? Does the term "conflict of interest" come to mind?
Professional Program Management is drastically needed in the industry. The increase in firms providing this service reflects this need. However, if it is truly to be a "profession," those providing the service need to decide where their loyalties really are and stick to one side of the street or the other.
Case of Semantics
I was amused by the "tech-speak" from Daniel Hitchings, U.S Army Corps of Engineers liaison for the Iraqi Ministry of Housing and Construction, in your recent interview (ENR 6/30 p. 50).
You asked if the domestic Iraqi industry can meet the demand for reconstruction contractors. Mr. Hitchings responded: "I dont believe they can. Theyll need technology transfer. There will be a lot of outreach opportunities."
He merely meant: "They dont have the goods or know-how; theyll need outside help." Sometimes it is very easy to pick out the federally employed engineers from the rest of the pack.
August 18, 2003