For a long time, Santa Rosa, CA-based PCD’s management team served as the company’s project managers. This approach worked well for a while; as work picked up, however, project management needs grew as well.
As a result, PCD needed to develop its project management team from the ground up – and wanted to give the people in these new roles enough knowledge to be effective.
“Training is what you have to do to stay ahead of the pack,” says Bill Graham, director of operations at PCD. “But most people don’t want to make that investment.”
The company believes in investing in training at all levels to help employees excel. For example, one of PCD’s installation technicians dreamed of taking his career to the next level. Knowing that he could easily leave for a higher-level position, PCD decided to invest in the employee’s future and help him reach his goals. Thanks to education and training, the employee is now a senior technician. Seeing the results of other professional development initiatives was proof enough: It was time for PCD to invest in project management training, too.
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After learning about Nadim Sawaya of Enterprise Performance Consulting through NSCA’s Member Advisory Council, PCD invited him to speak to not only its future project managers, but also to the sales, engineering, and operations teams. This approach put everyone on the same page in terms of what to expect from project managers.
During the two-day session, Sawaya walked through topics like setting project milestones, containing costs, managing labor, and understanding a project’s full scope of work.
“Our employees were really interested in what was happening in the room,” says Graham. “One eye-opening moment was when we learned about the financial impacts of our actions, and Nadim shared this with us: ‘If you lose $1,000 (slip) on one project, you have to generate $35,000 for free to make up this loss.’ Everyone understands how and why every decision they make is very important.”
PCD now has a team of three well-educated project managers with specific KPIs to follow. The company has also developed ways to address concerns about managing fieldwork to keep labor costs in check.
“Our goal is to make PCD a better workplace for everyone, including the guys in the field,” says Graham. “This project management training helped us with that. It taught our project managers how to give clear direction in the field for maximum productivity and efficiency. If we do it properly, our guys are going to take care of business. When they become more productive, it’s going to go to the bottom line.”
NSCA has helped PCD maintain its focus on professional development and training in other areas of its business as well: After the success of Sawaya’s project management training, the company is also investing in sales training through NSCA Member Advisory Councilmember Corporate Sales Coaches, as well as financing through Business Accelerator GreatAmerica.
“Working with NSCA has been a real plus for us,” says Graham. “They’ve introduced us to so many people who have helped us run our business better.”