With a work ethic learned while growing up on his family’s Michigan dairy farm, Bryan Smith has built a successful career in construction safety and leadership.

April 11, 2024

Veteran Superintendent Bryan Smith Sees Projects from All Angles

Explore the journey of a construction and safety expert who navigates the complexities of project management with a blend of skills honed over decades.


Bryan Smith considers himself a "double-hatter" with expertise in construction and safety management. Smith can see a project from multiple angles, having been an employee, a business owner, an owner's representative, a safety manager and a team manager.

"I believe this gives me the ability to build beneficial relationships, hear what they have to say and show and accept value to all parties during the construction process," Smith said.

During his three decades in the business, he's worked on a wide range of projects, including waste treatment plants, military facilities, food processing, and automotive.

And then there are the management skills he's learned raising 10 kids. Yes, 10 – four boys and six girls, including three adopted. They range in age from 11 to 33. Three are still at home. The others are scattered across the country in Michigan, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and Arizona. So far, there's only one grandchild.

"My wife Rebecca is a saint," Smith said. "She manages the house and lets me do the fun stuff."

Smith's family is almost as big as Blanchard, Michigan, the town where he grew up and that he describes as “itty-bitty.” It's a farming country, and Smith grew up working on his uncle's dairy farm. "That's where I learned my work ethic."

Smith said he originally wanted to be a police officer but instead started working in residential construction. In 1996, he started a residential/commercial construction company, which he ran for 15 years.

When the Great Recession hit, he decided it was a good time to go to college, and he earned a bachelor's in construction management and industrial safety from Central Michigan University.

The new safety skills took him to Detroit, where he worked for an industrial contractor.

He worked as an owner's representative for General Motors during the construction and installation of its new GF9 Transmission Program in Toledo, Ohio.

In 2019, he signed on with Haskell in a safety role and wanted to get back into the role of superintendent. His first project was a significant expansion at Blue Origin, which manufactures orbital launch systems in Merritt Island, Florida.

From there, he came to Jacksonville to double-hat as superintendent and safety team member on the award-winning renovation of the NAVFAC Fleet Readiness Center Hangar 101 at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The project modernized the hangar, which was built in 1940 when NAS Jax was established.

"NAS Jax was my favorite Haskell project. It was during the COVID mayhem and involved significant asbestos and lead abatement while keeping the surrounding areas safe and functional," Smith said.

More recently, he was in South Carolina at the Project ECO Wastewater Treatment Facility, designed to treat an average daily flow of 200,000 gallons per day to support a 1.3 million-square-foot spirits facility.

Smith worked for Project Manager Jon Fouty on the wastewater piece of the project.

“He has safety experience, so being able to rely on him to have a safety mindset was helpful because I wasn’t on site the whole time,” Fouty said. “And he has construction management experience, so he knows about budgets and schedules and used his past experiences to deliver the project successfully.”

Smith says he loves construction work because of the variety it offers. "You never build the same thing twice. They're different, with different challenges and different people. I love that."

He also loves the way he's treated at Haskell. "They understand my family needs. The people are all good. They treat you the way they want to be treated."

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing, Field-Focused company committed to offering the BEST job of your life.

Haskell delivers $2± 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 2,200 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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