Recovery to Resilience: A Decade in Review 2009–2019

This is to be a celebration of successes and accomplishments, advancements and springboards forward. depending on your belief in where the decade starts and ends, there could be a bit of dithering about where the bookends should be. In an attempt to include as many stakeholders as possible, I’ll reach back into 2009 for one key event and then throttle forward.

He’s more machine now than man…

Pain is one of the most life changing experiences in life. After experiencing a level of pain that would have flatly incapacitated most for more years than necessary, the final, third orthopedist who examined me finally decided to x-ray the affected area. Turns out I had been born with a bad joint and within two weeks was in the operating room. There’s a longer story about waking up four times during the procedure, but that’s for another column. Now I ring going through all metal detectors. My recovery was quick, given my history in athletics and my body transformation began.

Leadership is hard, otherwise everyone would do it.

During 2009, I completed the application for National Urban Fellows, and in 2010 my selection to the next year’s class became official. Our cohort of 40 classmates has gone on to do some amazing things in the interim — we are public administration professionals, nonprofit leaders, healthcare administration directors, and we even have one public official. It’s an eclectic mix focused on diversity leadership. For my part, my mentorship component sent me to Washington, DC from my lovely home in The Bronx, where I formed part of and acquired deep learnings in procurement, agency leadership, and leading teams. We also found ourselves inculcated into the culture of Baruch College, and carry that pride every time we wear the NUF pin.

Who expects a hurricane in New York?

Hurricane Sandy’s effects in New York City and the surrounding areas will be permanent. I say that because our understanding of disaster response, preparedness, and what it means to contribute to prevention are now forever engraved on our collective consciousness. It’s also how I managed to find myself in my current line of work. Disaster recovery started with FEMA first fielding outreach teams and then getting into the heavier business of funding the recovery. I managed to leverage my procurement experience and knowledge of public administration to engage with both, and now am working on the largest program of its kind to every be operated in NYC.

What’s your benefits realization roadmap?

While sitting in the PMO working directly on procurement for the upcoming projects, it became readily apparent that something I had tripped over during National Urban Fellows was going to be operationally significant, and that was a deeper understanding of project management, its modalities, and the significant influence that understanding could have on the direction and efficiency of where I was working. I’m happy to say that estimation was correct. I spent the year following my inclusion into the program studying for the exam and passed on the first sitting. As a result, I created the #PMPatWork hashtag and began writing extensively across my platforms related to it.

What is your superpower?

I have to thank Kaplan Mobray, who I met through ALPFA for the above phrase. In 2016, the Northeast Regional Director for ALPFA called and said he needed a project manager for a change management project. Without reservation I volunteered. In three years of volunteer work with the organization’s New Jersey chapter, I found myself promoted from PM, to COO, to EVP. 2019 was my last event as leadership with the chapter as I pivoted to focus more closely on other professional concerns, but I did — in fact — learn quite a bit about myself, and what “leadership” means thanks to everyone involved.

What’s your recovery schedule?

The #CCM pros reading this column will understand the double entendre wrapped up in the above statement coming from someone in my role. To be frank (you be Frank, I’ll be Earnest) this is the item I needed to spend more time on. The American #construction industry’s project management focused certification is directly parallel to the PMI certification, save for two sections: construction methods, and sustainability (though you will undoubtedly find a burgeoning number of #PMP in sustainability roles.) However, the national industry — as compared to the remainder of the planet — does not recognize validity of the PMP in construction. That’s beginning to shift as more critical technologies for safety, efficiency, and effectiveness become de rigeur across business lines: RFID, IoT, IIoT, drones, BIM, AR, VR, VAD, smart sensor wearables for fatigue/dehydration/etc., and bionic exoskeletons. Yes, #CyberpunkisNow. As I mentioned in one Twitter post: “Do you need a construction PM with technology skills? Or a technology PM with construction skills? What’s the difference really?” Prediction for 2020 and beyond: watch the two certifications start to meld.

Pretty good highlights reel if I do say so myself. My decade was fairly exciting and left me with a lot of good memories! How was yours?

Leadership is hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

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