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Assistant Superintendent to Project Engineer and Everything in Between

While our company is made up of three distinct departments; development, construction and management, we have a symbiotic relationship and rely on each other from start to finish for a successful project. We wanted to dig a little deeper into the construction department and learn more about two key roles: Assistant Superintendent and Project Engineer.

Our HR Manager, Nicole Sabatino, sat down with Johnny Owens, Assistant Superintendent at Calirosa Winter Park and Ivan Urbina, Project Engineer at Calirosa Winter Park to get an up-front glimpse at their day to day.

Johnny celebrated 18 years with Epoch in July 2021. He started his Epoch journey as a Groundskeeper at Key Isle under Dave Lafrance, now our Regional Maintenance Supervisor, and was very ambitious to learn everything he could. This ambitious attitude  led to his promotion to Maintenance Technician.

One of his most challenging tasks at this point in his career was to learn how to properly install an A/C unit! Despite never having done this before, Johnny was up for the challenge and was able to accomplish this with support from his peers and of course the “never give up” attitude.

Johnny transferred to another community where he eventually interviewed to be a Maintenance Supervisor. Johnny’s dedication, customer service skills and intense desire to continue to learn and grow led him to the role of Maintenance Supervisor at Thornton Park in Jacksonville.  Needless to say, when Thornton Park was sold Johnny eagerly wanted to know his next assignment! Look no further – Construction!  His firsthand at construction was punching units at Maitland Station, but his first official project as an Assistant Superintendent was for Kestra.  Johnny continued to serve as an Assistant Superintendent at several of our projects such as Veere, Sonceto, Calirosa Kissimmee and now he is at Calirosa Winter Park.

When Johnny was in a Maintenance role, he loved his time in Jacksonville, where he raised his family of 3 children with his wife Jennie. After transitioning into a Construction role Johnny really enjoyed Kestra as it allowed him to learn a lot and expand his knowledge giving him more responsibility at Calirosa Winter Park.

While no day is typical, Johnny remains focused on assisting the subcontractors on what they may need, ensuring cleanliness and safety onsite and managing inspections. Inspections play a huge role in moving the project forward. On the day of the interview, Johnny had a roof truss inspection and upon passing he would then be able to have insulation installed. Johnny also functions as a liaison between Chris Burdine, Superintendent, Ronnie Pham, Project Manager and the subcontractors onsite.

When asked what his favorite thing is about his job is Johnny answered, “Comradery between the team, no one is pointing fingers, (we) all look at each other as equals which incentivizes me to work more, learn more.” Johnny said when he gets home, he checks out ProCore (our Construction Management software) after the workday to get ready for the next day. He is a firm believer that preparation and hard work meets opportunity. And while he’s not quite sure if he wants to be a ‘top guy’ yet, he is eager to keep learning more and feels Chris is a great leader. Johnny shared that he is quite happy right where he is in construction with his team.

Johnny has been married to his wife, Jennie, for almost 11 years and credits her as the glue that holds everything together. They have 3 children; Jordan (13) who is outspoken and opinionated but a good kid, Johnny Jr. (11) a shy genius with straight A’s who likes video games and Journi (6) who Johnny describes as rambunctious.

 Ivan is going on three years with Epoch and in that short time has worked on 4 projects: Kestra, Sonceto, Calirosa Kissimmee and now Calirosa Winter Park. As a Project Engineer, Ivan manages the administrative parts of the project, but that’s just the short version. Each day is a little different, which is what Ivan likes about construction, that there is no set routine.

When there is a design issue or something isn’t working, everyone goes to Ivan.  He then writes an RIF (request for information) to the architect or works with the Project Manager, Superintendent and subcontractors to come up with solutions.  Ivan also handles submittals, which is when a subcontractor submits materials or equipment (everything that gets put on the project) and the Project Engineer passes it through to development and the architect for approval.  This part of his role is like a liaison between subcontractors and development.  In the afternoons, Ivan typically walks the project, takes photos and uploads them to our construction management software, ProCore.  The key pieces of Ivan’s role include requests for information (RIF), submittals, liaising between onsite functions, scheduling and contacting subcontractors.

While the set up and details of the job differs from project to project, when a PE is on a project from start-up, they are responsible for securing permits and managing the city building department, which requires developing and maintaining good relationships with the inspectors and city employees.

Ivan has enjoyed all the projects he’s worked on, but more than the projects themselves, it’s the comradery and having a great team that makes it so enjoyable.

When Nicole asked Ivan about his favorite part of his role, Ivan stated, “What I like the most is seeing something go up – the building finishing (and) making progress. Every day something is different.  Every day you can see the progress.  For example, one day we just had slabs – by the end of the day the framing was done for the first floor.” Ivan also loves to be onsite versus in an office. “With every day being different, presenting new challenges, you need to get your eyes on it. Plus, it’s much easier to see it for yourself than have someone explain it to you over the phone”, he says. In turn, you gain more respect and build a rapport with the subcontractors, which doesn’t hurt.

Ivan started his engineering career with roads and bridges for 15 years in Miami, transitioning to buildings and then moved to Orlando with his wife where he started with Epoch. He believes a successful project is made up of a good team, good subcontractors that you can rehire for future projects and building strong relationships.

Of course, while Nicole was chatting with Johnny and Ivan onsite, there were multiple interruptions. The project manager for Empire, who does framing, dry wall and exterior skin comes in to say they’re having an issue with the inspector, so he sits with Ronnie and Ivan to come up with a game plan to make it go as smooth as possible. Turns out the Inspector wanted the nail/screw pattern to be closer, which is an easy fix. Then, the HVAC mechanical project manager comes in the trailer to announce that the electrical subcontractor drilled into plumbing lines, not as easy of a fix.

We couldn’t help but notice that both Johnny and Ivan mention comradery as not only a key part of making a project and their role a success, but also their favorite part of each and every day. And we also couldn’t help but feel more than a little bit inspired and proud to have such a great group of guys on our construction team