Principal Spotlight: Michael Ramirez, PE
Written By: Valerie Edgren
Date: July 31, 2020
Michael Ramirez, PE, CNU-A, is a Principal and the Director of Construction Services. He brings 20 years of engineering experience with an emphasis on large-diameter pipelines, pumping facilities, GIS applications, collection and distribution modeling, and the planning, design, and construction of water and wastewater projects. He has managed the planning, design, or construction of over 100 miles of pipeline projects in the last 10 years, ranging in size from 6 inches to 90 inches in diameter. He has years of experience in engineering and management, research and development, leadership and mentoring, as well as problem-solving. A 1999 graduate of UTEP, he holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, licenses as a professional engineer in both Texas and New Mexico. He is also accredited by the Congress for the New Urbanism. Ramirez has served on various board positions in the American Water Works Association and the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Q: What excites you most about Construction Administration?
Mike Ramirez: We Build Community. Construction Administration is the literal culmination of everything we do. Building a project can take years and large teams of people. I get to be a big part of the last few steps of all that hard work, and that’s exciting.
Q: What sets Parkhill apart when it comes to our CA/CPS services?
MR: The breadth of services we provide is both a challenge and a differentiator. Parkhill provides a wide range of services across three states on horizontal and vertical projects. Our 13 sectors include projects ranging from large parks and community buildings to runways and wastewater treatment plants. Finding that kind of breadth across a large geographic area is truly unique.
Q: What value do you see in construction services?
MR: The value is risk mitigation. I’ve often heard the saying that “a construction project is just a dispute waiting to happen.” Well-managed construction phase and construction management services help mitigate the chance of a dispute. Having the right staff, a management strategy, and implementing user-friendly document control platforms like Procore and E-builder helps keep our projects successful.
Q: Of all the types of projects that you manage, which is the most sought-after, and why?
MR: I’m attracted to the larger, more complex projects. There’s always something new that we learn, and it keeps us humble and in a position of learning and growing.
Q: The Canal Tunnel project recently won an award. Was that the most notable project you have worked on?
MR: No, I’ve definitely had bigger projects in cost, size, and footage. The risks associated with the rail yard and TxDOT crossing meant we had very little room for error on the Canal project. The project also required coordination with third-party stakeholders that could have shut the project down if any problems with the crossings developed. The Canal Tunnel project was not one of the biggest, but it was one of the more complicated and riskier projects.
Q: Describe your approach to surveying innovations.
MR: The survey team is continually looking for innovative ways to acquire data. With current scanning capabilities, we can obtain billions of points of data with minimal manpower. We completed a project for the Texas School for the Deaf. An innovative 3D scan survey of the entire site resulted in 3.76 billion points of information collected across the more than 60-acre campus. The 3D Scan Survey project was one of the largest 3D scans completed in Texas and won awards at ACEC (Austin, TX) & ACEC (Washington, D.C.) – earning Gold Medal Winner for Texas and a National Recognition Award.
Q: What is one thing you wish more people knew about Parkhill?
MR: It’s hard to capture culture on a website or brochure. I’ve been at Parkhill for 20 years. One of the things that keeps me and a lot of employees here is how we go about our business. After you live most of your career at a firm, you really understand the foundation of the firm and its most important resource – its people. I wish there were a way for everyone to get that kind of insight.