Meet Dave Davis, our Construction Administration Coordinator! After years of working in the architectural and construction sides of the industry, Dave joined Gray & Fick in 2010 to take on the unique challenges that structural engineering has to offer. Since then, he has used his wealth of knowledge to coordinate the construction administration of many large scale long-term care homes, and more. Read below to learn more about Dave's journey at Gray & Fick, and to hear the pearls of wisdom he has to offer to the generations entering the industry.
What is your current role at G&F?
Currently, I coordinate the Construction Administration.
Why did structural engineering interest you?
I had a number of areas that I could have applied for, but the Engineering side was one that appeared challenging. I had worked mostly with the Architectural or construction side, but when the offer presented itself, the Engineering side was appealing. If you know me, I am ALWAYS up for a challenge!
What were your first few years like?
The first few years were learning, whether it involved design or construction. I had extensive experience with construction and other aspects, but it never fully involved the engineering of a project. It has definitely been a growing process that continues every day.
What has changed since then?
Since I started here, so much has changed. The quantity of work, the size of the projects, and the technology. In fact, when I started, I had a drafting table for sketching and laying out drawings. Today, that drafting table would be used for napping. Since I was unsuccessful at negotiating a napping policy, the table is now gone!
What is your favourite project?
I work primarily on large scale Long Term Care homes, and there have been many of them over the years. Which is my favourite? It would be the one that has presented the fewest problems. Each project is a different animal and has its own challenges. Asking which one is your favourite is like asking "Which tiger would you like to get eaten by first"?!
What was one of the first big projects you worked on at G&F?
'The Village at St. Clair' in Windsor.
What is a small thing about G&F that you like?
I like that Gray and Fick doesn't micromanage. There is unquestionably some real sharp young talent here, each with their own specialty bringing something unique to the table. Management thrives on staff interaction as a learning tool. Our current staff is a living, breathing team that grows every day, leaving little need to look over anyone's shoulder. It is comforting to know that when you walk into the field, you have a competent team behind you!
If you could be anything other than a Construction Administration Coordinator, what would you be?
If there was another field I had to choose from, I think Real Estate development would be a solid choice. If I had to choose from my current field, I truly believe that the industry is in need of more experience. With a generation of "old school" experience retiring, I believe the best thing I could do, at this stage, would be to teach or pass on the 38 years of experience to a new generation. Gray and Fick is very aware of this and is incorporating this as a standard. I'm excited to see this evolve!
What skills are you looking to improve next?
I'd like to improve on my people skills. There is ALWAYS room for improvement when it comes to dealing with people!
What is one piece of advice you would give someone interested in getting into the engineering/construction world?
One piece of advice? I spent a lot of time planning and improving my education. I prepared (to a fault) what I thought was important. What I found out was that "I learned more in the first six months in the field than I did the entire time spent at school". Sometimes, you just have to have faith and jump in with both feet. No amount of education will ever prepare you like the experience of hands-on! Just get out and DO IT! We learn by our mistakes. I know, I've made a lot of them!
Do you have a favourite quote? What is it?
"Your external circumstances are a direct reflection of your internal thoughts!"
What's your superpower?
I've always been energetic. However, I went to a trampoline park on the weekend with my 3 year old Grandson ....and ouch! I'm definitely gonna need a NEW superpower!
What are your favourite things to do outside of work?
I enjoy yard work, antiques, and renovating.
Where in the world would you travel if you could go anywhere? Lately? Nowhere. I'll play it safe and travel in Canada! There is beautiful scenery in our own backyard!
Why did you join Gray & Fick?
I've had the privilege of working with some of the most reputable contractors, Architects, and Engineering firms over the years. The mentors I've had have been incredible and I thank them all! Initially, structural engineering was simply another challenge. However, the atmosphere and personal friendships made while employed here have been a pinnacle in my career. Although we take our positions seriously, there have been days that I went home with tears in my eyes and a sore gut from laughing so hard. I look forward to coming into the office, the humor, the friendships. Gray and Fick may have drawn me into a different career direction, but it was the people I work with every day that kept me here. For that, I'm beyond thankful!