Colleen Cahill is an experienced Mechanical Subcontractor and APM. She is currrently the Construction Coordinator at Fieldwire.
Like many others, when I entered construction, I didn’t ask questions about the software or tools that we used day-to-day. Instead, I spent a year quietly using a 1997 version of a product because I thought that was the norm. All of my friends who worked in construction had the same experience, so I had no reason to think there was a more efficient way to do work.
Working in construction
I used three, sometimes four, monitors while referencing files from four different programs just to complete a submittal or send an RFI. Opening a remote desktop to create and access those documents was an everyday task, often causing my laptop to crash multiple times throughout the process. I even recall having to create the same submittal three times when working on the Sequoia restaurant project in Georgetown, D.C. (pictured below). I was so frustrated by this processes but had no option but to keep using the tool I was provided with, until one day my project manager pulled me aside to test out some shiny new software.
Understanding construction technology
As winter came and my projects slowed, I began spending my days learning how to use this new software, and I really was in awe of it. I felt like I had suddenly, or should I say finally, been transported into the 21st century. I couldn’t let my colleagues turn down the opportunity to bring the whole company to that point.
So, a few months later, we settled on the software and began rolling it out company-wide. I sat in on all of the training sessions since I had been working with the product longer than most project teams, and got so much joy out of teaching people how to use a tool that made their jobs more organized, efficient, and automated. I loved watching the faces of my superintendents light up when they saw how easy it was to create a markup with their fingertips and easily delete or adjust it, rather than scribbling over something and ultimately having to order a new set of drawings. It was a similar feeling to the day you hand over the keys to a new restaurant, office space, or hotel. I knew I wanted to incorporate that into my next role, and that’s one of the reasons I became a Construction Coordinator at Fieldwire.
Working at Fieldwire
As project engineers, APMs, PMs, or supers, you all solve complex issues where there are so many moving parts and people affected. Here on the construction team at Fieldwire, I do the same, only on a computer rather than a jobsite. Customers come to us with a problem, and it’s up to us to troubleshoot the issue, find the cause, give the solution, and ensure that we protect other areas that may be affected. Some of the other reasons I love construction technology is that I get to work with like-minded people who’ve also worked in the field (both on my team and the clients I work with), I’m challenged to solve complex issues, and I get to show people out in the field how exciting it is to have the kind of organization and streamlined communication that Fieldwire has to offer.
“I’m finally able to transport construction workers into the 21st century where modern software exists to streamline and simplify daily processes.”
If you’re interested in helping craftspeople embrace construction technology, I’d love to hear from you! We’re actively seeking people with industry backgrounds to join our Construction team (but also have open roles across all other teams). Apply online and make the switch today.