Michael Drawe’s resume tells the story of Haskell’s success in commercial and industrial construction. A Haskell veteran and 30-year superintendent, Drawe is a versatile and adaptive project leader because of his experience, technical expertise and intuitive communication abilities, which are all crucial to execute design-build projects in any market and all sizes.
Drawe has worked in construction for nearly 50 years. After joining Haskell as a superintendent in 1999, Drawe was deployed to the front lines of Haskell’s school construction boom, which saw the company save taxpayers money and expedite project timelines with its innovative tilt-up construction methods and application of design-build services in the public sector.
“For the first eight years, everything I did was tilt-up,” Drawe said. “We did a lot of self-perform work and built entire school systems with tilt-wall panels and inlay brick. That was something new for us at the amount and level we were doing it.”
After a successful run almost exclusively overseeing school projects across Florida and the country, Drawe left the company in 2008 but returned in 2013. In his absence, Haskell had continued to innovate, this time by entering new markets, such as healthcare, and acquiring firms that provided highly specialized services to expand its integrated delivery capabilities.
And while Drawe shined as a specialist during his first stint with Haskell, it’s his versatility and adaptability that distinguish him during the second chapter of his Haskell career.
While Drawe was overseeing a complex $14.4 million, 56,000-square-foot storage facility in Frankfurt, Indiana, for long-time client Frito Lay, Haskell’s Healthcare division developed the need for a superintendent to oversee the expansion and renovation of Fairfield Memorial Hospital in Fairfield, Illinois, a roughly $20 million design-build project.
“That was a difficult position to fill,” said Jim Moore, director of project development in Haskell’s Healthcare division. “It seemed like everyone was busy, and we didn’t have a lot of others just waiting there with their hand up saying, ‘Put me in, coach.’”
Drawe’s name came up as a possible candidate, but Moore was initially skeptical of bringing in a superintendent who had never built a hospital, which is a specialized type of project with a unique set of demands and challenges.
“It’s just a different animal when you are building a hospital,” Moore said. “There’s so much complexity to it because of all the systems – electrical, gas, mechanical – versus a big warehouse. Then I spoke to him, and I quickly became optimistic. The one thing that struck me is that Mike is a builder. To me, that’s key. I thought right then that he was the right guy.”
Drawe continued to impress Moore by diving into the project even before arriving on the site, carefully studying the project and its schedule and peppering his project manager with questions.
Drawe’s decades of construction experience quickly showed on the job site as the crew brought the building out of the ground, but Moore said Drawe’s communication skills have been his greatest asset. One of the project’s greatest challenges has been tying in the utilities of the hospital’s new three-story addition, which will serve as an emergency department, with the hospital’s existing network.
“Communication is key. Sometimes you get a guy who is a great builder but is very stoic, off on their own. It’s one of those intangible skills,” Moore said. “(Clients) have to live with us for months and years at a time. If that fails, everything else breaks down. The CEO of the hospital has mentioned they’re very pleased with all of our efforts and communications, and that means a lot to me.”
Justin Hickman, a project manager in Haskell’s Consumer Products division, said Drawe’s communication and leadership abilities were a major asset on the Frito Lay project in Frankfurt, a challenging job that grew in complexity and scope as it unfolded.
“Mike definitely had leadership over the field staff and leadership of the subcontractors and was an avenue for communication and keeping everyone sane on what otherwise would be a chaotic job,” Hickman said.
Drawe said his new assignment in healthcare has been a welcome and, so far, successful challenge. But he noted that he has yet to face the sternest test: the inspection phase. He said careful planning and studying the hospital’s different systems would be the key to his success.
“It’s going to require me putting in the extra time getting to fully understand the inner workings of the hospital, the medical gases, the different power constraints, the set ups in every room. It’s going to be a lot of different than what I’m used to,” he said.
Grateful to have had the opportunity to return when he did, Drawe said he hopes to retire a Haskell superintendent. He said the company truly cares about its employees and has a culture that encourages communication between team members of all ranks and divisions. He said this is not just important for employee development and morale, but also for success in the field.
“No matter who you are, there isn’t one guy you can’t approach and get information from,” he said. “Being with the company as long as I have, I can reach out to engineers and architects who I have personal relationships with, and that makes our position very unique in how we can move forward a little faster than other companies can. A lot of companies do design-build, but they don’t actually have their own engineers or architects, which means they’re getting their information through a person they don’t have a relationship with.”
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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