Jeff Gruhn: Construction executive, Mortenson Construction

    What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
    “In the past year, our firm has embraced the expertise of each of our team members and shifted into market sector focused teams. For example, the majority of my career has been focused on health care construction and understanding the critical components of these projects. I now serve as the healthcare market sector leader. With specific market sector teams, we have the ability to provide industry-specific construction services that are best suited to serve our customers.”

    What’s new at your company?
    “To increase collaboration and efficiency on our projects, our team members designed and developed Mortenson’s ProjectConnect, a web-based tool that provides all project team members (owner, design, and construction teams) with secure, real-time access to project information through a standardized interface. This intuitive, web-based collaboration tool is a single ‘source of truth’ for project information from start to finish. Team members have immediate access to plans, contact information, specifications, BIM models, schedules, cost information, meeting minutes, webcams, etc. ProjectConnect is transforming how we inform and communicate with our customers and partners, which in turn helps reduce the time and cost of construction.”

    Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
    “Mortenson is focused on retaining high-caliber team members and continually invests in each of us. They provide us with the right tools to do our jobs as well as comprehensive training in things like safety and quality. Every day, the company empowers us to find innovative solutions that contribute to building better facilities for our customers – that may be in the form of new team members or new technology.”

    What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
    “Helping our customers meet their business objectives. Oftentimes people think our focus as a construction firm is on project-related goals such as schedule or budget, or facility/building-related goals such as LEED, energy efficiency, space optimization, etc. These are table stakes and the things our customers expect on every project. At Mortenson, we take things a step further. We serve as a true partner to help our customers achieve their business goals such as increased revenue, employee satisfaction, better productivity, better patient outcomes etc.”

    What is the hottest trend in your industry?
    “We are finding ourselves working with our customers on projects focused around efficiency and end-user satisfaction. Many of our customers are facing times with decreasing reimbursement and significant pressure to reduce costs. Our focus is to understand their business and assist them in implementing efficiency-related projects that allow them to better meet their operational goals. In addition, another trend specifically in health care includes combining construction of new facilities with new data centers to offer the latest in technology and accommodate an explosion in applications and patient data—not just documents, but images and videos.”

    Do you have a business mantra?

    “Two. First, be genuine. Second, hard work will pay dividends.”

    From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
    “I look up to a number of professionals, but the one who sticks out in my mind was a construction executive I worked with when I first started in my career. The knowledge he had in his little finger is the knowledge I hope to achieve in my entire career.”

    What was the best advice you ever received?
    “Do not be afraid to hire people that are smarter and more talented than you are. I have the luxury of working with and leading teams of some very talented individuals.”

    What do you like to do in your free time?
    “I know everyone says this, but most of all, I enjoy spending time with my family and the several camping trips we take each spring/summer are highlights of that time together. Additionally, I like most outdoor activities, specifically hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and at times, just working around the yard.”

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