Employee Spotlight: Nick Ballou

Title: Project Manager

Favorite quote:

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” – Franklin D Roosevelt

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” – Steve Prefontaine

Describe what you do in a day:

I am currently commuting to Western Michigan University’s campus to work onsite at the Arcadia Flats project. I work with Dale Michael and Evan Novak to coordinate construction activities with our trade partners through coordination meetings and daily communication.  With Steve Datema’s guidance, I led the collaboration with our MEP trades to create and implement our BIM model. With Alicia Pizano’s shared wisdom, I am working to properly complete LEED submittals and other compliance documentation.  With Nicole Arthur’s assistance, I maintain updated construction documents, meeting minutes, and all other project documentation and records. With Matt Novak’s mentorship, I communicate with WMU and trade partners to monitor and maintain contractual obligations including change management, material procurement, and schedule adherence.

What is your proudest accomplishment(s)?

Earning my Professional Engineer license. The process took nearly a decade including earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering, passing an 8-hour FE exam after graduating, working 4 years under Professional Engineers, and then passing another 8-hour PE exam.

Traveling the world. I have seen four of the New Seven Wonders of the World and am working on the other three. I was going to see the Colosseum in April but that trip has been delayed.

Why Triangle?

Triangle has great people that are interested in mentoring and developing young professionals to become successful partners. I believe there is opportunity to grow at Triangle and be part of a successful team that sets and accomplishes strategic company goals.

How has your career grown since starting at Triangle?

When I first started at Triangle, I began by working on a series of projects with a unique client that presented some uncommon opportunities and challenges which allowed me to learn a lot in a short amount of time. After completing those projects, I had the opportunity to work with two of our senior project managers, Ken Pitchford and Matt Novak, on some exciting projects for Triangle. Through some challenging projects and the mentorship of leaders in the company, I believe I’ve been able to continuously grow and develop my skills and relationships in the industry.

Favorite project you’ve worked on?

WMU Arcadia Flats, the scope of the project and the assembled team make it a very exciting project.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am working on renovating a 150-year-old house that was a student rental for the past decade.

I like to stay active – running, triathlons, golfing, hiking, camping.

Michigan State University Football and Basketball, Go Green!

How did you end up in construction?

I graduated with a Civil Engineering degree when not many companies were looking to hire civil engineers. I took a position at Van Haren Electric as an estimator, assistant project manager, BIM modeler, etc. and got my first true exposure to commercial construction while working as an electrician apprentice in the field for two summers. After two years, I left Van Haren to pursue a design engineer position and “use my degree,” but I quickly discovered I enjoyed the construction side of things over design.  After six months at a computer designing in Revit and CAD, I made a move back to the construction industry in West Michigan at Triangle Associates.

What’s the last book you read?

Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

What motivates you?

Helping a team be successful

Opportunity

What are you working on right now?

WMU Arcadia Flats, more specifically: change management/change orders, LEED compliance, and pre-closeout efforts

Nickname?

SungHo (middle name, but it is what most childhood/college friends call me due to there usually being multiple “Nick’s” is groups growing up)

Hidden talents?

Music – I took seven years of piano lessons, was a percussionist in grade school, played the baritone at MSU (marching band and athletic bands), and dabble with guitar, ukulele, etc…