Press Release: 06.15.2015

Meet New Central Region President John Buescher

John Buescher, PE, LEED AP BD+C

John Buescher was recently promoted to president of McCarthy’s Central Region. A long-time McCarthy employee, he assumed the position from Scott Wittkop who was promoted to chief operating officer of the company. John remains headquartered in St. Louis and now oversees company operations in states east of the Rockies apart from the southeastern United States.

With nearly 25 years of experience in the construction industry, John’s approachability, in-depth understanding of complex construction, and client focus make him a trusted partner for our customers, industry partners and employee-owners alike. He joined McCarthy in 1998 as an assistant superintendent and worked his way through the organization to oversee the Central Region's Science & Technology and then Healthcare Business Units. Prior to his current role, he served as senior vice president, operations of the Healthcare Business Unit in the Central Region, participating in all facets of projects from marketing and preconstruction through project close out and turnover.

Throughout his career, he has overseen close to 40 projects worth almost $3 billion in a variety of markets including healthcare, laboratory, process and pharmaceutical manufacturing. A few projects include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Project for Progress, Children’s Hospital Colorado Expansion, MARS Chocolate North America, Mercy Joplin Replacement Hospital, DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory Chemical & Material Sciences Building, and Pfizer Building JJ. A professional mechanical engineer and LEED accredited professional, he holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a master of business administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

We recently sat down with John to find out a bit more about his background and outlook for the industry.

What first interested you in construction?
Like many others in our industry, my dad was an engineer and in the construction field himself so I was always hearing and learning about different projects with which he was involved. When I graduated from college, I entered into the design arena as a mechanical HVAC and plumbing design engineer. During that time, I was lucky enough to be able to get out onto multiple construction sites as a field engineer on design-build projects and fell in love with the construction aspect of the industry. I joined McCarthy in 1998 and have had an interesting and incredible ride since then.

What are your goals in this new role?
My main focus is to provide the necessary support to help all of our employees do their absolute best every day for our clients. Ultimately, if our clients and partners are achieving their desired success and our employees love their jobs, the rest falls into place. After that, in the big picture, I want to make sure the Central Region is doing our part within McCarthy to support our partners across the country.

What construction trends are you seeing today?
The use of alternate delivery methods is no longer cutting edge; it’s becoming the norm. Design-build, design-assist, integrated project delivery, and certainly construction management at-risk are becoming the methods of choice as opposed to design-bid-build. Owners are recognizing the benefits of these methods in terms of real cost and schedule results. In addition, the use and applications of technology are growing by the minute.

What are some of the greatest opportunities for owners considering a building project today?
The ability and technology is available to be able to see, very clearly, exactly what a project can look like at completion. Additionally, by bringing the right partners to the table early in the process with the appropriate delivery method, an owner can lock in his budget and schedule certainty early in the process. Working with the team throughout the project, further cost and schedule efficiencies can be realized.

Throughout your career, what is the number one change you have seen in the construction industry, and how is that change impacting today’s projects?
Probably the biggest change I’ve seen is the use of technology and the positive effect it can have on our projects. Starting in the design phase and working with the design team, we can begin to build the project virtually using a BIM 3-D model. With the model, we can ensure that what is designed can actually be built out in the field.

Additionally, the model allows the team to plan the project logistically in great detail – where hoisting equipment should be located, what are the best ingress and egress paths into and out of the project, what items can be prefabricated for quicker installation, etc., which leads to a more efficient building process for our clients. During the project, we use tools that allow the trades out in the field to use the most up-to-date set of documents resulting in less rework. And after the project is complete, facilities management software, incorporated into the model, can be utilized by the owner to help manage the maintenance of the building. All of this technology helps us to shorten the schedule, reduce the project cost, increase the level of quality and safety, and make the facility more efficient.

What challenges and opportunities do you see facing owners planning projects today?
All of our projects these days have pressure on the budget with the desired scope of the project not always aligning with the dollars available to plan, design, build and outfit it. This pressure will only be exacerbated by a couple of factors we are seeing: an increase in construction activity due to an improving economy and a looming lack of resources in the form of trade labor in the field. The best opportunity to mitigate these challenges arises if an owner can partner with a designer and builder when the project is just an idea. Through careful and coordinated planning, the optimal solution to any project issue can begin to be addressed by the entire team from the outset.

What’s the number one piece of advice you give to clients to help improve their experience during construction?
When you are planning for your next project, look for qualified team members who want to build a lasting relationship. Then bring your entire project team together early to make sure all partners are aligned and pulling in the same direction. Setting up a strong team from day one will set you on the right course to success.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
I have two young sons, 12 and 8, who keep me and my wife plenty busy outside of work with school, sports and other activities. I’m lucky enough to coach one of their baseball teams and am also involved in a number of charities, which are extremely rewarding. In the free time I do have, I’m an avid runner, helping to keep me in OK shape but, more importantly, helping to clear my head on a regular basis!

To reach John and continue this conversation, please contact him at abuescher@mccarthy.com

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