Lackawanna: A shared purpose and passion

September 25, 2018 | Kieways 2018 Q3

Designing and building the Lackawanna Energy Center (LEC) required the largest staff and craft workforce ever assembled by Kiewit Power Constructors Co. (KPC). The staff team included highly experienced senior leaders and many eager first-time engineers on the design and construction sides of the operation. At the highest level, everyone had to be on the same page.

“The big lesson we’ve seen in our business is that if you don’t have the construction leadership with your engineering team to start, a lot of times these jobs don’t go well. You have to have that core group on the same page to get you started,” Nordquist said.

That leadership group and the top project manager set the tone and the example for the rest of the team to follow.

“I think it’s so important to have the top person on the job, the project manager who is responsible for the project to be actively engaged and in there every morning with the team so it’s clear to everyone what’s important,” Nordquist said. “I often equate it to a conductor and everyone is following the same sheet of music.”

Getting everyone playing the same tune has a lot to do with a shared purpose.

“It’s just a passion,” Dotson said. “People are absolutely passionate about what they do. It’s having the vision for what they do and how much of an impact they can make for other people around them and their families.”

“It’s the old story about you walk up to a group of people building a wall and you ask one what they’re building. The first person says a wall. You ask the second and he says he’s building a cathedral. Everybody thinks they’re building a cathedral per se. Everybody understands what the end game is.”

For Dotson, there’s as much or more passion for building future leaders as there is for building a power plant.

“I think all the time about training and developing to help ensure that future leaders of the company have the fundamentals. And I think this job ensured there’s a good foundation for everybody involved,” he said. “It’s just awesome. You think about the number of people you have the opportunity to impact daily. All projects teach you lessons that just carry to the next one.”


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