Ron Sebastian currently is managing the construction of the University of Florida Special Collections Building, a highly specialized facility that will house amphibian and reptile specimens.

August 11, 2021

No End in Sight: Sebastian Enjoying Superintendent Role with Haskell

“It’s nice knowing that if you have a problem, you can go to the vice president of your department and he’ll talk to you. It’s a good company to work with.”

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Led by a strong sense of industriousness, Ron Sebastian launched a new phase of his long construction career two years ago when he joined Haskell as a Project Superintendent. His new position hasn’t disappointed.

Sebastian initially joined the Haskell team constructing facilities for rocket maker Blue Origin in Merritt Island, Florida, helping oversee the concurrent construction of multiple projects. Having watched several unmanned Blue Origin launches, he had little doubt that Jeff Bezos’ first launch with astronauts would be a success. Sebastian was on the job and unable to watch the July launch live, but he made sure to catch it later in the day on the web. He still wears the Blue Origin sticker on his hardhat.

Currently, he is managing the construction of the University of Florida (UF) Special Collections Building, a highly specialized facility that will house amphibian and reptile specimens. At 25,000 square feet and a cost of about $9 million, it is a relatively small project by Haskell standards. But it is highly consequential as Haskell and UF develop a lasting partnership, and Sebastian is laser-focused on its many highly technical aspects.

“I don’t think about retiring. I still love what I do,” Sebastian said. “I love the challenge and meeting people. I don’t like lacking something to do. I need something that challenges me.”

Sebastian has been in the construction trades all his life. When leadership changed at his last company, he wanted a new challenge. Haskell appreciated his potential and experience.

Sebastian is a good fit in Haskell’s collaborative culture, said John Bagby, Director of Construction for the Infrastructure & Transportation (I&T) Group.

“He’s calm and collected,” Bagby said. “He does well with the balancing act of staying calm and keeping a good demeanor. He can talk to people about a problem without yelling at them. His is experience is such that he knows what he doesn’t know, but he has the experience to know where to go to find the information he needs to know.”

Sebastian said Haskell’s culture is a big reason why he enjoys his work so much.

“It’s nice knowing that if you have a problem, you can go to the vice president of your department and he’ll talk to you,” he said. “Or that randomly they’ll call to check and see how things are going. It’s a good company to work with.”

Sebastian said good communication was vital in keeping everyone on the same page and that he stresses that to every subcontractor right from the start.

“The schedule is usually four 10s and one eight (on Fridays) but if it’s 5 o’clock on a Tuesday and we need two more hours to get something done, we do it. Our schedules aren’t set in stone,” he said.

Sebastian has been around too many job sites to get flustered or lose his temper when things go wrong. Part of that comes from lessons learned as a young carpenter watching his supervisor’s high level of organization, which included a plan not just for each day but rather for the entire week and an overall one for the entire project.

“I learned early on in my construction career that without a plan you are setting yourself up for failure,” Sebastian said. “You have to figure out what you want and where you want to be. You have to have a plan.”

That planning even goes as far as his off time. Sebastian is an avid fisherman, both ocean and freshwater. When not playing with his seven grandchildren at home in Ormond Beach, the father of five grown children can be found on his 20-foot, center-console Tidewater boat.

He lives in an RV during the week and always has his fishing equipment on hand. That way, he says, he can take advantage of some late-afternoon sun and unwind with some fishing after work.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 1,800 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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