Core Project Management Graduates Establish Network of Expertise

September 30, 2016

Latest Project Excellence Graduates Completed 78 Hours of Classes and Trainings Spread Across Four Months

With an audience of Project Excellence graduates from nearly 20 Michael Baker International offices looking on, CEO Kurt Bergman summarized the unlimited potential for the graduates: “The depth and breadth of our expertise is unmatched. If we create a network of solid relationships, and collaborate and work together, we can beat everyone out there. And we've proven it time and time again."
(From L-to-R): Matthew Reed, Allison Westlund, Kirk Weaver, Jeff Campbell and Kurt Bergman

Collaboration and networking were key takeaways on Thursday, September 15, as the fourth class of Michael Baker International project managers graduated from the Core Project Management course, part of the Project Excellence program. Following the completion of 78 hours of classes and trainings spread across four months in Irvine, Alexandria and Pittsburgh, the Core Project Management graduates celebrated at Pittsburgh’s historic Duquesne Club with their extended network of Michael Baker peers from around the company.
Dawn Cindric, a senior architect in the Moon Township, Pa., office, recognized the value of networking with team members from across the company, noting, “I was completely amazed by the diverse backgrounds of our people. It opened me up to our capabilities and what Michael Baker can really do. This class brings us all together to see that we are working on the same goals, and gives us the chance to share our knowledge and backgrounds in a collaborative manner.”
Michael Baker’s Project Excellence program provides graduates with a new toolbox of project management capabilities, leadership, presentation and negotiating techniques and, more importantly, an extended network of their peers from around the company. The program consists of three distinct course offerings designed to train and develop the company’s future leaders:
  • Foundations of Project Management: Recently debuted in June, the course is designed for project managers with three years of experience or less, and serves as a pre-requisite to the advanced Core PM course by establishing the fundamentals of solid project management for colleagues in the formative stages of their careers.
  • Financial Immersion: The course provides experienced project managers a refresher on the way Michael Baker handles project financials.
  • Core Project Management: The course is designed to stimulate participants with a fifty-fifty balance of lectures and team exercises that allow each participant to take on new roles within small groups to further expand their growing skill set. Course topics include budgeting and accounting, profit/loss management, client relationships and overall project management.
Taryn Murray accepts her diploma from Kurt Bergman.
As Taryn Murray, environmental specialist in the Philadelphia office, explained: “The leadership piece – managing teams and people – was the most valuable for me, and I think all the project managers across the company will benefit from the soft skills taught here.” She added, “I have already put the team dynamics piece to work with some of my teams. This program will definitely improve my capabilities, my teams and my relationships with my staff.”

CFO Jim Kempton urged attendees to apply the learnings from the program to every project, and share that knowledge with others. Graduates were appreciative of the support they received from senior leadership.
Steve Slocum, survey manager based in Irvine, said: “I appreciate the company investing in this training and in us. This course gave me new confidence and an appreciation for us as a billion-dollar company with so many resources and the potential to compete on so many levels.”
Added Neil Mehta, a project manager in Alexandria: “As a result of this training, I’m going to do things better. Every class provided us with different approaches to consider for challenges we all face and for how a Project Manager should function.”
Ultimately, the company plans to enroll and train all project managers by 2018, which represents more than ten percent of the global workforce.