Kevin Lundin has never performed in a circus. But when you have a job like his, there’s always lots of juggling.
“I’ll spend a couple of months bidding projects and then get ready to break ground in the spring. Right now I have about five jobs that I’m juggling, and two jobs that we’re starting, so the phone is always ringing and I’m trying to keep up with emails,” said Lundin, who is vice president of design for Eggart Engineering and Construction.
Lundin says no day is ever the same at his job, which usually involves a heavy dose of problem solving and working to meet the expectations of owners and contractors.
“You’ve got to be on your toes and be willing to jump in and figure out issues that arise,” Lundin said. “A lot of time is spent on the job site, dealing with any issues that come up, and then it’s on to the next site. Then you get back to the office and, on top of that, you’re managing people in the office and having them help you resolve the day-to-day things that need to be done.”
Lundin has long had an interest in design and construction. While he was in high school, he did an internship at Harrison G. Fagg and Associates and studied architecture at Montana State University. He left MSU before graduating, and went to work as a draftsman at CTA Architects Engineers.
Like many in his field, Lundin takes pleasure in seeing a project progress.
“Our company puts up a lot of steel buildings. They go up very fast. It’s rewarding to see things go from a dream to paper to reality,” he said.
Describe how you got where you are in your work today: A contractor is only as good as his ability to manage subs. Attention to detail and a lot of time spent on the job site is the only way to be successful in this business. You can’t run a project from the office.
What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? It’s a challenge to maintain a high standard of customer service and quality craftsmanship while still meeting budget requirements and deadlines on every project.
For example, when we built Grace Montessori, the project would have never broken ground had we not been able to pick and choose line items from the budget to keep and cut. Sometimes it can be very difficult to separate wants from needs and necessities. At the end of the day, every penny counts.
What did you learn from that challenge? Setting expectations is so important. A lot of sales people like to promise everything under the sun then underdeliver. We do the opposite and try to manage client expectations from the first meeting to the final move in.
What’s the best business advice you have received? Treat everyone with respect. My mom always told me you can tell more about a person by the way they treat their employees than the way they treat their peers.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Billings is growing quickly when compared to the rest of the state. I love seeing high-quality buildings erected, and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of the growth and design of the place where I grew up. Billings is thriving, and I love providing local businesses with facilities in which they can grow and prosper.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? The most important aspect of this business is making sure the client is overjoyed at the completion of their project. Customer service is key in the construction industry.
We want our clients to keep coming back. We send out post-construction surveys after every building is done. Getting these back and reading positive reviews always brightens my day.
On the flip side, constructive criticism and negative reviews help us improve the process and correct issues in the future.
Which living person do you most admire? Bruce Lundin.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Moving up from a drafter to a project manager and vice president of a company without earning a college degree.
I’m happiest when I’m… hunting and fishing.