In this month’s edition of Powered by People, get to know Daivee Knuckles, PreConstruction Assistant/Project Admin at Hooten. You’ll get to hear about her journey from theater and writing into construction, her “fast learner” approach to getting things done at Hooten, and what play she believes is most similar to life at Hooten.
You didn’t come from a construction background but picked it up during your time at Hooten. What was the hardest part of breaking into this new space?
The hardest part of breaking into this new space was understanding the lingo, acronyms and risk management strategies that are used and applied on a day to day basis. Often, people will not normally stop to spell out the meaning of most acronyms they use when speaking on a particular topic. For instance, a project manager may be asking if a subcontractor has sent in his SOV or completed required punch list. For someone with no prior exposure to such language, like myself, it can be challenging trying to keep up, especially in a fast pace space like construction.
You have an undergraduate in Theater Arts and a Master’s in Creative Writing. How have these creative degrees helped you in your current role?
I’m a creative thinker above all. Although construction has nothing to do with both fields, I must argue that my creativity helps tremendously in our current role. It helps me stay organized, assists in brainstorming for alternatives to problem solving, and allows me to see the bigger picture. My creative writing skills manifest in my business communication to subcontractors, owners, and other team members that I work with on a given project.
You’ve worn many hats (and are still wearing many) at Hooten. Tell us about some of the roles you’ve supported.
I started my first day at Hooten as a temporary employee, contracted to create excel templates for the estimating department. Within a month of dedicating my skills beyond my scope of responsibilities, I was hired as a permanent employee (Preconstruction Assistant) and tasked with helping the department with bid requests, estimation, RFQs, and RFPs. Having variety in my duties makes the job more interesting for me. I later challenged myself to learn more about the project management aspect of the company. Within a year, I was promoted to Project Assistant on one of the jobs that I had helped estimate, Willow Manor. I am currently working as the Assistant Project Manager on another project that I had assisted in estimating and acquiring, Bauer Park.
You’ve been described as a “fast learner and fast doer.” How does your work style benefit Hooten’s clients in the long run?
Being described as a “fast learner and fast doer” has its challenges. I usually put these attributes in both the strength and weakness section of my personal SWOT analysis. Being a fast learner does make me more efficient at most tasks that I do. My brain works fast and can process multiple things at the same time. This proves the perfect balance for me and Hooten definitely benefits from these abilities; fast-thinking, efficient, effective, and multi-tasking.
What are you doing outside of work? Hobbies and interests?
If Hooten Construction was a production play, what would it be?
If Hooten Construction were a production play, then it will definitely be “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare. I would elaborate more, but why? Let’s make this more interactive and have you analyze the correlation between the play and Hooten Construction (also applicable to the construction industry as a whole).