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The successful expansion and renovations of the University of Florida’s student union gave Mironack insights into several key elements of project management. One insight involved understanding the importance of his role in the overall effort.
“I served as the owner’s representative during the project,” he says. “I was involved in the ESCO contract review, project planning, and project oversight. As the owner, I learned very quickly to speak up and be demanding. Yes, there were a lot of disruptions to operation, so my job was to minimize those impacts while at the same time enabling the contractors to get in there and do the work that they needed.
“It was important to strike that balance — being firm with the contractor to say, ‘Yes you can, or no you can’t do this at this time’ — while also communicating to clients.” Effective communication also proved to essential in the project’s success.
“We had weekly coordination meetings between projects,” Mironack says. “Everyone was at the same table, even though we had different contractors and contracts, they understood they were interdependent.
‘We had one challenge. We actually required that the ESCO project use the same engineer that was doing the renovation expansion, thinking that one oversight would be great. The problem was that we didn’t have a good engineer. So the team that you pull together is very critical. We were fortunate that we had a lot of good folks.”
As for his goal of minimizing disruptions to the building’s operations and activities, Mironack credits effective communication with success in that area, too.
“I was amazed at how resilient people were in terms of noise, dust, etc.,” he says. “With the renovation expansion, we did so much jackhammering of 40-year-old concrete. It was just constant, and it was inside the building. But people understood because we put the message out there that this is going to be something good down the road, and it will be worth the hassle.”
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