Jason Fitzgerald, Construction Superintendent, JT Magen
Employer J.T. Magen (New York)
Education Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Construction Management & Engineering 2017
Tell us about your current job and what it involves day to day?
Currently, I am in charge of a 65,000sqft floor on a project which has seven construction floors and is over 320,000sqft.
Preparation for each day’s work starts at least 24 hours before, with the coordination of the subcontractors, building management and the other supers.
Each day, we start work at 7am and usually finish around 5pm. At the beginning of each day, we go straight to our construction floors to deal with any concerns or issues that have risen and to start planning for the following day. On a busy day there are at least 50 workers on my floor including H-vac, sprinkler, carpenters and plumbers. Each day has its challenges and lessons to be learned.
How did you get your job and how did your degree help?
I got my job through WIT's internship programme. JT Magen takes on third year interns for a 6 month period each year. My internship went well and I was delighted to be asked to return once I was qualified. I finished up college in May 2017 and began working for the company in July of that year.
The subjects and projects that I covered while college really prepared me for the construction industry and would highly recommend the BSc Hons degree in Construction Management & Engineering in Waterford Institute of Technology.
What's the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your job?
The biggest challenge I have faced so far is the coordination of services. I find the better the coordination the more responsive the subcontractors become. Coming from an Irish construction background, I’m very new to the above ceiling services such as H-vac and sprinkler, and coordinating these services has proven to be the biggest challenge that I regularly face.
What skills are in demand in your sector and how would you advise students to prepare?
Communication is a major skill that always needs to be worked on. For students this needs to start in the classroom and be improved upon a daily basis. I have found communication to be essential in improving the coordination of different subcontractors on a project.
On a technical side, learning the basics of sprinkler and H-vac systems will also help students when they are entering the work place, particularly abroad, as these are two major components of construction in NYC.
Problem solving, working under pressure and organisational skills are all needed in this industry. Students will often find that they have used these skills as part of college life and everyday life.