Attracting and identifying high performing project managers

Kristen Hurtado, Anusree Saseendran, John Savicky, Kenneth Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Construction project managers (PMs) are critical to the execution of successful construction projects, conducting and orchestrating the intricacies of dynamic and complex projects. A large state university was challenged with attracting and retaining PMs in their construction department during a period of rapid university growth and departmental re-organization. The university tried current models for selecting construction PM firms largely based on commodities-based procurement and/or low bid structures and was unsuccessful. A new model was developed that considered and analyzed both the capabilities and qualifications of the individual PMs. The importance of individuals being able to identify their unique capabilities, be accountable for their performance, and operate in a transparent environment are critical concepts within this model. The new model also created an environment of organizational transparency, requiring PMs to measure their performance and the performance of their projects. The model resulted in an overwhelming amount of high quality PMs seeking to join the university. The university initially sought a specific skills set for new PMs, but revised their criteria and future selection processes for hiring future PMs based on the results of this model. Analysis of the PM capabilities, qualifications, and performance are shared as well as lessons learned to refine the model. This model can also be used to identify high performing individuals in other positions or disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of International Structural Engineering and Construction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018
Event4th Australasia and South East Asia Conference on Structural Engineering and Construction, ASEA-SEC-04 2018 - Brisbane [state] QLD, Australia
Duration: Dec 3 2018Dec 5 2018


  • Expertise-driven
  • Organizational transparency
  • Performance-based qualification
  • Procurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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