Paula Jimeno is willing to go halfway around the world to do a job for Haskell, and that’s exactly what she did to serve as Project Superintendent on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (JCLDS) temple under construction in Urdaneta, Philippines.
Jimeno and her husband, Haskell Safety Manager Cesar Castro, have lived in the Philippines with their 12-year-old son, Santiago, on and off since 2018. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023.
“Paula is a team player,” said Randy Patterson, Haskell Senior Project Manager. “Wherever there is a need, she is willing to go.”
A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, Jimeno has a bachelor’s in architecture and is a specialist in urban planning. “I decided to study architecture because I’ve always loved the effect that indoor or outdoor space has on the development of each person and society,” she said.
She began working in the construction industry in Colombia in 2001 and gained experience in road infrastructure and urban planning, industrial, health, education and commercial projects.
Jimeno joined Haskell in 2016 as a submittal manager, overseeing contracts and other documents on Haskell’s first project in Colombia. She also has worked on JCLDS temples in Colombia and Mexico.
Jimeno said she loves working for Haskell.
“The leadership is always worried about you,” she said. “They ask about your family and what you need from them. They are always asking about your professional development and whether you are happy in your position or want to move to other positions. The employee is the priority, and that motivates me to go the extra mile.”
As Project Superintendent, Jimeno is directly in charge of project construction, supervising all trades and subcontractors toward quality performance and timely completion. She is also responsible for safety and accident control, recruiting and deploying all job personnel, layout of accurate lines and grades for all work, verifying dimensions with construction drawings. She also meets with church officials to ensure that quality specifications are met.
“I’ve worked in the administrative management, design processes, monitoring and control of projects as well as construction superintendent,” she said. “This is a field I am passionate about because I have direct interaction with the people who execute the work. At the end of the day, they are the most important resource to ensure that a project complies with all its factors.”
Jimeno said it is no longer unusual for women to work in construction, but not many advance to superintendent positions, which require strong leadership and communication skills and a passion for mentoring onsite staff and workers.
“The field itself is very difficult ground and has been managed most of the time by men,” she said. “The field is challenging because of the stress of finishing on time with what is specified and working safely. Having worked only with men in Colombia helped me a lot in my development as a superintendent. It has taught me how to handle situations in the field.”
Managing a temple project in the Philippines is something of a next-level challenge, presenting the need to produce a large structure with high-end finishes throughout with workers who are generally less skilled than their U.S. counterparts. The job site is crowded with many times the number of trades and laborers as on a traditional U.S. location.
That makes Urdaneta’s accomplishments even more remarkable. Jimeno and her team recently received the Safety Seal Certificate from the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for being the first construction project on the main island of the Philippines to comply with all safety, health, and environmental in 2021.
“The workers want to learn from you. We are building people during the process of building the temple,” Jimeno said. “We teach them to believe in themselves and show then they can achieve any goal they have.”
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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 2,000 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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