In this episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with David Skuodas, P.E., CFM, LEED AP, Director of Design, Construction, and Maintenance at the Mile High Flood District and author of the recently published book, The Effective Client: Why Being a Good Client is Smart Business in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Industries, about why it matters to be a good engineering client. He also explains how owners are in competition with each other for a very limited pool of capable designers and builders, and what owners can do to improve their standing with designers and builders.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Dave:
- Can you provide our listeners with a brief overview of your book, The Effective Client: Why Being a Good Client is Smart Business in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Industries?
- Your background is in civil engineering. However, not many engineers become authors. What drove you to write this book?
- Are there any stories or anecdotes from the book you’d like to share?
- How has the industry responded to your book?
- Can you provide us with a little bit of insight into how client behavior affects the price and quality of work?
- What are some of the things that owners do that make it difficult for vendors to do their jobs effectively?
- What advice would you like to offer to industry leaders on how they can improve their standing with designers and builders so they can become a client of choice?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About the Effective Engineering Client:
- The Effective Client book is about why it matters to be seen as a desirable customer. Great clients attract more talented projected teams and build better projects. The book is mainly geared toward public agencies, but also applies to anyone who hires subconsultants or subcontractors.
- If you want to be a good client, you need to build professional trust, pay fairly and punctually, and manage risk equitably.
- I originally researched the information contained in the book to do a talk at a conference. The longest talk I did about this topic was about 50 minutes, but I had enough material and stories to talk about for four hours. I wanted these other stories to see the light of day as I was limited by the medium of public speaking, which led me to write the book.
- If you want teams to be high-functioning and provide creative input, you have to be careful of how you model the behavior of what you want to be displayed.
- In the current economy, there is no shortage of work. When a design team has to pick between two potential clients, the way that the company is interacting with the team and conducting themselves is going to play a huge factor in deciding who the design team is going to choose.
- If companies are going to design something with any sort of complexity, there is more to it than just bottom-line dollars that go into making that project successful. Companies should get feedback from consultants and contractors and ask them about the community, individuals in the community, and who would be good to work with. They also need to think about their reputation and how their actions will affect them in the long turn.
- Working accurately, efficiently, and independently, especially during your early career, will enable you to have the credibility to move on to bigger and better things.
More Details in This Episode…
About David Skuodas, P.E., CFM, LEED AP
Dave Skuodas works as the Manager of Design, Construction, and Maintenance at the Mile High Flood District (District). This District encompasses 1,600 square miles in and around the greater metro Denver area. Dave oversees an internal group of around two dozen staff who work to deliver over $75 million worth of infrastructure and maintenance along the region’s urban waterways on an annual basis. He has worked at the district since 2010; prior to that, he was an engineering consultant for nine years in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado.
Dave received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida in December 2000, is a registered Professional Engineer, a Certified Floodplain Manager, a LEED Accredited Professional, and a Toastmasters Competent Communicator. He’s the author of the recently published book “The Effective Client: Why Being a Good Client is Smart Business in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Industries.” He’s also a frequent contributor of educational content on social media and is the co-host of a podcast called Middle Aged Wisdom with his wife, Nancy.
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Connect with David Skuodas on LinkedIn
The Effective Client
Books Mentioned in this Episode:
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success