Project Leader Spotlight - Ryan Hanel
July 28, 2023 12:00 am Back to All News
Project Leader Spotlight - Ryan Hanel
White Construction has become a home to many of its employees. In fact, more than half of White Construction's employees are tenured members who have become our organization's distinguished leaders. One of those emerging leaders is Ryan Hanel.
Ryan is currently the Project Executive on the One Uptown – Residential project located in the Domain of North Austin. The 289,521 sf, 13-floor tower is being built simultaneously with the One Uptown – Office and Garage project, also built by White Construction. We sat down with Ryan to ask him some questions about his experience as an emerging leader with White Construction, his experience on the One Uptown project, and the qualities of what makes a great leader.
Q: How would you describe the team you oversee at One Uptown?
R: "We've got a solid team. They each pull their weight and are dedicated to the job. I have yet to encounter one individual that won't volunteer or step up to the plate. I couldn't have asked for a better team. We enjoy working together, and a big part of that success is we take our lunch breaks together daily in the trailer. It gets us away from the project's hustle for a while but allows us to continue getting to know each other, and because of that, we've developed a strong rapport."
Q: How has this team contributed to your continued leadership success?
R: "Having the can-do attitude they do contributes to my success. They hold me accountable as their leader and respect me when I hold them accountable. We know that we are in this together, and it allows for an easier conversation when things arise."
Q: What has been the biggest challenge, as a leader, that you've overcome on the One Uptown project?
R: "The consistency with the team and turnover from retirements and family emergencies with the team. We want to provide Brandywine with the best project, and as a result, we've had to develop a higher level of flexibility and accommodations for everyday life events. So much is out of our control, but the constant state of change is a challenge."
Q: How do you maintain your role as a leader with constant change?
R: "I stay focused on the end goal and give our team as much support as they need. They know I have an open-door policy, so if they have questions, they ask them as they come up. I also try to recognize their efforts and promote teamwork. Sometimes a little extra support and reassurance can go a long way. Allowing our team to take on more leadership positions and responsibilities has also been helpful with the constant change."
Q: One Uptown has been a relatively publicly viewed project. What impact does a project like that have on you as a leader?
R: "I'd like to say it doesn't matter what project it is; you must do your best regardless of the project. Whether it's someone's private home or a highly public project. This project is slightly different because it feels private but is rapidly growing in a well-known area. As a leader on this project, it has heightened my sense of doing a good job while covering my bases to protect the image of White Construction and Brandywine. The outside perception of our job is, of course, a looming concern, but focusing on delivering the best and safest project to Brandywine helps control that message. We are mindful of our outside conversations and how we speak about this project as a team. What we say is what we want to hear. We have spent the time understanding our client and molding our actions to meet their expectations."
Q: What is a fun fact about you that many don't know (that you're willing to share)?
R: "I have a degree in Agricultural Systems Management and grew up around farms. It was what I knew and was interested in at the time. I interned at a large ranch in Idaho."
Q: Why did you transition to the Construction industry?
R: "Stability, and I was always inclined to build things. Plus, construction is demanding work requiring dedication and patience. Something I also had being in agriculture."
Q: How would you describe yourself as a leader, and leadership style?
R: "I want to be known as the leader in the trenches with my team. I wouldn't ask my team to do something I wouldn't do. I am fair but firm, and my biggest goal is to develop trust with my team. I hold my team accountable and want them to hold me accountable."
Q: What is your biggest claim to fame (i.e., strength, attribute, etc.)?
R: "I would say my attention to detail. I pride myself on getting into the details and understanding the nuances of the project. I can remember Steve Burch asked me two questions in my interview with White Construction nearly seven years ago. He asked, 'What was your biggest challenge at your last job?' and I explained that we had several issues working with subcontractors. We had to let seven trades go on the job simultaneously. He then asked me, 'What is your biggest success?' and I gave him the same response. It was the biggest challenge and success because it was a huge lesson learned. Adverse situations build character."
Q: What has helped you grow into the leader you are today?
R: "The most important thing is surrounding yourself with good leaders. Converse, engage, and observe those who you can learn from. Sometimes it was being a fly on the wall and observing. No one wants to help you if you don't help yourself. My last job taught me a lot from previous leaders. Knowing what you want to take as a leader and the attributes you don't want to inherit."
Q: For the younger generations in school for Construction Science, an adjacent degree, or those younger folks entering the workforce, what advice would you give them?
R: "Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Even my internship was out of my comfort zone, but taking every opportunity that comes your way will only give you the skillset to advance in your career and become a leader."
By inspiring others by setting a good example, personally and professionally, White Construction is proud to have the dedicated leadership of Ryan Hanel!