Our Founding Month: Catching up with Michael Baker International’s Presidents Q&A with Eric Ostfeld, P.E., President, Design-Build Services

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5/23/2024 2:07:19 PM

Tags: Design-Build

May is Michael Baker International’s Founding Month. Over the past 84 years, our firm has established a strong tradition of Making a Difference, and we have evolved and grown to ensure we make an even greater impact for future generations. As part of our Founding Month celebrations, we caught up with each of the Presidents of our five distinct Verticals - Infrastructure, Design-Build Services, Federal Programs and Services, Consulting and Technology Solutions (CTS) and Sustainable and Resilient Solutions (SRS) – to discuss Michael Baker’s past, present and future.

Today, we speak with Eric Ostfeld, P.E., President, Design-Build Services. In this role, Eric oversees all aspects of how the firm pursues, partners and delivers Design-Build projects. He works closely with leaders from Michael Baker’s Operations, Federal and Legal teams, as well as Design-Build colleagues across the country, to ensure effective design management and continuous collaboration with Design-Build partners to build quality and value into every step of the project.


Michael Baker: What is a significant change that you’ve seen at Michael Baker during your career here?

Eric Ostfeld: I joined Michael Baker in August 2022, and in my short time with the company, I have seen firsthand a reinvigorated emphasis on growth. Our entire industry is in a transformative phase, and with much of our nation’s infrastructure reaching the end of its useful life and the rollout of major funding initiatives – like that from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) – our team at Michael Baker is seizing the opportunity to expand our offerings, address a variety of infrastructure needs and ensure we are making our communities safer, more accessible, more sustainable and more prosperous.

I have also seen our more than 85 offices come together as the bigger Michael Baker. We are not restricted by Practice or geography, but rather committed to assembling the best team of experts for each project. Additionally, we have strengthened our partnerships with other companies within the DC Capital Partners portfolio, as well as Michael Baker sister companies like Tidal Basin, a leading comprehensive emergency and disaster management consulting firm that complements our efforts to support the nation’s recovery efforts and rebuild infrastructure to be safer and more resilient.


Michael Baker: What is an important trend happening in our industry where Michael Baker can have a major impact in the future?

Eric Ostfeld: In recent years, Design-Build (D-B) delivery has increased as a share of total market value, a trend that will continue into the future. D-B spending is projected to grow 22.5% by 2026, and our team at Michael Baker remains committed to pursuing innovative and collaborative alternative delivery projects and identifying solutions that efficiently address the needs of our clients.

Michael Baker ensures that quality and value are built into every step of the project. We are involved from start to finish, adding value and efficiency to the construction process to accelerate project completion and achieve cost efficiencies.


Michael Baker: What advice do you have for our fellow Wolf Pack members as we continue to write new chapters in our company’s legacy of excellence?

Eric Ostfeld: Have a fierce belief in entrepreneurship. If you have a good idea, bring it forward and let’s make it happen!

Think outside the box and look to unexpected places to expand our services. For example, we have been providing traditional bridge inspections for clients since our company was founded 84 years ago but more recently, we have expanded into unmanned aerial systems – UAS – and underwater bridge inspections.


Michael Baker: What are the biggest opportunities for Michael Baker this year?

Eric Ostfeld: Organizationally, we will continue our trend of the bigger Michael Baker – increasing workshare and collaboration across our company.


Michael Baker: ‘What’s Next’ for your vertical?

Eric Ostfeld: In D-B, it is an exciting time! Our team has grown exponentially, and we now have the opportunity to pursue the lead designer role on an increasing number of mega-projects brought about by the availability of IIJA funding.


Michael Baker: Tell us about a “Making a Difference Moment” that exemplifies how our Wolf Pack is Making a Difference for our company, our clients and/or our communities.

Eric Ostfeld: A core value that defines Michael Baker International is that “We Make a Difference” for our clients, for our colleagues and for our communities. From our company’s leadership encouraging us to pay it forward, always do the right thing and treat people the way you want to be treated to our more than 4,000 employees from coast-to-coast giving back to each other and our communities, our “Making a Difference Moments” come to light each and every day. Even simple gestures on a regular basis that make a person’s day or a client’s project better lead to impactful change.


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