When Stuart Glassic and Harrison Williams met each other at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, little did they know that several years later they would help lead the construction project for Mount Vernon’s new Upper School, together.
Employed by Hodges and Hicks, the gentlemen have established themselves in the construction industry. Stuart is the Assistant Superintendent and Harrison is the Assistant Project Manager for Mount Vernon’s largest construction event to date.
After spending nine months on the Glenn Campus, it was time to sit down with this dynamic duo to learn more about our partners who have made such an impact on our school and its future.
Having grown up in the Atlanta area, Stuart in Woodstock and Harrison in Alpharetta, both were extremely familiar with the growth in one of the largest growing cities in the south.
Please meet Stuart Glassic (SG) and Harrison Williams (HW).
MV: Any interest in the construction field growing up?
SG: My favorite subject in school was History. I’ve always had an interest in the past and for a while, I wanted to be involved in archaeology. But, I really like the process of building something, watching it come together, and then seeing it complete. For the first couple months of college I was headed toward general engineering, but all I did was look outside and realize I did not want to sit at a desk and draft on the computer – I needed to be in the field all day. I graduated from Southern in 2017 with my Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management.
HW: Math has always been my thing. I leaned toward architecture and engineering going into college. I didn’t enjoy the creative side, though. I mostly gravitated to the application of planning and putting things together
MV: There are so many facets to the building and construction industry – planning, zoning, architecture, design, equipment, materials, etc. What made you each go down your respective paths?
SG: I manage the field by dealing with day-to-day processes with our crew and subcontractors. I chose this route because I’m hands on. I do not want to sit still – I‘m in and out and around. If I need to, I assist with hands-on work. We coordinate the scheduling – who when and where. As the project goes on, I schedule inspections and make sure all of the requirements are met. I take on issues and solve problems. There is something different every single day and I have to be flexible. I make tough decisions. We have to make sure we are being as efficient as we can. With our electricians, plumbers, rooferes, ipe installers, and window specialists, we have 10 or 11 subcontractors onsite at a time, which equates to 90+ workers. We’ll hit our max, as finishes get finalized in the building.
HW: I graduated from Southern with my Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management in 2017, and laid a degree in finance on top of that, in 2018. I’ve really enjoyed management and strategy on the financial side. Because I like to dig in to profit and cost analysis, project management came naturally. I make estimates, create and audit budgets, manage timelines and deadlines for our vendors, analyze monthly job costs, audit change orders, and basically have to pivot quickly when things change. I’m a planner, so it matches my strengths to have to stay on top of lead times and make sure everything fits within the schedule. This industry is so precise, I make sure to pay attention to every single detail.
MV: What does it look like to be on the site on a daily basis?
SG: Teamwork and working together is huge. Out in the field, we are leaning on workers to perform and meet deadlines. It is our responsibility to keep them on task while navigating weather, and other issues that come up. We’ve been pushing hard to get dried in. Also, it doesn’t matter what happened the day before. Everyone is looking at what you’re doing today. We have to pay attention to detail and the little things, as we continue to work. It’s really a challenge when everyone is in grind mode. We’ve learned to focus on the day to day tasks. I’ve been taught to be really careful to make lists and check them off.
HW: We are all about teamwork and we have common deadlines. I’m more involved behind the scenes, but Stuart and I have to coordinate everything from deliveries and deadlines to deliverables. The work that goes into each and every task is more than anyone can imagine, on-site and off-site.
MV: How has this project influenced the tone or standard of excellence in your job and career?
SG: On this project, we are always looking out for the people at the School. Because it’s a living, breathing site, our client is all around us. This raises our already-high standard. We have visitors popping in on the site at all times….not just Dr. Jacobsen, but all of the guests he brings in. We want to make sure we are on top of everything, aside from moving the project along – a clean site, workers who are polite, and clear walkways. It’s important that we maintain a level of interaction that makes our clients feel welcome and good about the work we are doing. We’ve seen kids watch what we’re doing, and we need to be mindful that we need to be good role models.
HW: Mount Vernon is active! We are all working really hard and think it’s appreciated. It makes us feel great when we know you guys like what we are doing. The construction business isn’t just about making buildings, it’s about building relationships with the people you spend a lot of time with.
MV: What is next for you two?
SG: Once this job is done, we’ll work through the punch list and move on.
HW: We will still be involved through the first year, just to make sure it’s all going the way it should.
MV: Any words of wisdom Superintendent Jon Taylor (JT) has impressed upon you?
Smiling and laughing, both Stuart and Harrison shouted out the following:
- You’re going to get as much as you put into it.
- If you don’t learn something new every day – you are not learning or growing.
- Never be afraid to go out and give it a shot – if you make a mistake, we can fix it.
- Do your best.
- You learn from making the mistake – next time do it better. He will go over the whys.
HW: JT always goes over the why. He talks us through things, and helps us understand how and why a decision is being made.
SG: It’s easy to talk to JT. He’s a great sounding board and a great guide. I’ve learned a lot from him.