JP Cullen’s Jeff Schwasinger was awarded Project Manager of the Year at the Daily Reporter’s Newsmakers of the Year Awards ceremony last night. The ceremony took place at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on October 25th.
With his project portfolio, mentoring skills, and personalized client relationships, Jeff was an excellent candidate for this award.
In the last 13 years at JP Cullen, Jeff has worked on some of our most prominent projects across all of our markets, including a seven-school renovation project for Watertown Unified School District, the UW-Madison Student-Athlete Performance Center, the UW-Oshkosh Sage Academic Hall, Blackhawk Technical College Manufacturing Training Center & Health Sciences, and the 832,000 sqft, 11,400-seat Epic Deep Space Auditorium. His most recent finished projects include the award-winning Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center, the new training facility for the Milwaukee Bucks, and the McKinley Health Center, which is adjacent to the facility.
Jeff’s project management talent illuminated within the Sports Science Center project. The 77,500 sqft Sports Science Center had to be complete within 12 months, 2 months earlier than the original schedule dictated in order for the client to be able to showcase the facility to potential players. Jeff led his team to accomplish a 12-month construction project on time, which he attributes to his team’s hard work.
On top of finishing the project on time, Jeff also led a more diverse business participation in both the Sports Science Center and the McKinley Health Center. With a set goal of 25% diverse business participation, Jeff’s teams resulted in 29.5% business participation at the Sports Science Center, and 37.5% at the Health Center. These efforts were recognized when WRTP/Big Step awarded JP Cullen the 2017 Employer Project Partnership award and the 2018 Diversity Award from Froedtert.
Jeff used the Milwaukee Bucks project as an opportunity to teach students about the construction trades through Bradley Technology & Trade High School’s Tech Turns program. He, along with the team, prepared, strategized, and executed two full-day immersions for the students, including hands-on learning activities and tours.
Additionally, Jeff has had the opportunity to mentor a student intern, Zach Gaatz, who has been given the opportunity to practice his future career in real time. Zach Gaatz commented, “In the past 8 months, Jeff has been instrumental in my development as an intern with JP Cullen. He challenges me every day with important tasks and is always available to give constructive criticism to help develop my skills. I have enjoyed working with Jeff, and value him as a mentor for my future career with JP Cullen.”
Outside of work, Jeff also volunteers for his alma mater, Milwaukee School of Engineering, where he is a Sigma Lambda Chi member. He has served as a senior design mentor for their CAE CM program for the last four years. Senior engineering students work in teams on design projects. Volunteers like Jeff mentor the students, so at the end, they will have produced complete project documentation and written reports. In addition, he also volunteers for JP Cullen’s Annual Mock Bid Days where students from colleges throughout Wisconsin go through the motions of a bid day for a construction manager.
Personalized Client Relationships
One of the greatest tools in Jeff’s toolbox is his ability to work with clients making authentic, one-of-a-kind connections. A good example of this is on his most recent project with Direct Supply at their Innovation & Technology Center on the Milwaukee School of Engineering Campus. The client wanted the new 30,000 sqft space to have a fun, innovative environment with the incorporation of “old” pieces of artwork and décor. Taking it upon himself to find and implement a unique piece, he came across a lit arrow sign in Illinois that was a perfect fit. On a Friday after work, he went down to Illinois and picked up the arrow sign and delivered it to Direct Supply. They were so excited about the piece and could not wait to show it off in their new space. Recently, Direct Supply challenged Jeff to find a piano to build custom into their new bar in their space, and he found one in West Allis for them.
Jeff is one of many valuable Project Managers at JP Cullen. He manages seamlessly, leads naturally, and is an example to all. Congratulations to Jeff for receiving the Newsmakers of the Year Project Manager of the Year Award!