PCCA Project Manager Academy Launch A Success

June 2014, Vol. 69, No. 6

PCCA held its first Project Manager Academy (PMA) Jan. 13-16, in Atlanta, and by all accounts, it was wildly successful as participants, instructors and the association came away enlightened, enriched and energized.

The first PCCA PMA class included 19 construction professionals from seven different companies around the country.

The PCCA Academy is based on FMI's highly successful PMA program. FMI is a leading provider of management consulting, investment banking and research to the engineering and construction industry. FMI worked with a group of PCCA contractor and associate members to tailor the program specifically to the telecom/electric contractor industry.

The PMA has four basic elements: coursework in the techniques of managing projects, hands-on projects as part of a team, personal feedback with personality survey tools, and personal action plans for applying the knowledge and skills gained to actual work situations.

FMI has years of experience teaching this program and admits that the techniques of managing projects are well known. Training in scheduling, budgeting and cost tracking is available from many sources. But to graduate to the next level, project staff must learn to think and act like business owners. When projects break down, they have to feel like they are bleeding their own money. When customers are dissatisfied, managers and staff must take it personally. When jobs are running smoothly, they must remain vigilant.

Topics covered in Atlanta included management and leadership; project start-up; project planning; customer-focused construction; time management; billings, cash flow and closeout; field productivity, profitability and financial management; change order management; standards and best practices; and ethics and integrity in project management.

After completing the course, one participant noted: "I will highly recommend this academy to our organization to send more managers. It was four days of high-level information but explained in simple terms. It allows you to better understand how the business is looked at by owners and the importance of the things they discuss about job closeouts, receivables, production and planning."

The three main FMI facilitators at the Atlanta PMA – Andy Patron, Ethan Cowles and Rick Reese – were enthusiastic and engaging instructors. On the program evaluations, participants raved about the instructors' knowledge and their ability to hold the group's attention. "This is the first training where I never looked at the clock and was ready to leave," said one participant.

Mysterious team projects