Posted by: nedpelger | August 1, 2008

A Super Profile: Phil Geyer, Lancaster, PA USA

Phil Geyer doesn’t demand respect from Sub-Contractors, but he sure gets it. People on his projects go to extremes so they don’t disappoint him. Phil has completed many substantial projects ahead of schedule and under budget mainly because of the respect he receives…often tempered with a bit of fear.

This former Marine strives to live the code of honor, courage and commitment of the Corps. Serving in a Force Recon unit in Viet Nam, Phil learned about teamwork. He still tries to build strong teams whenever he can. While working with me at Consolidated Construction in the mid 1990s, Phil appreciated our highly functioning team and the level of respect with which we treated each other. He said, “I learned not to blow up and choke people.”

Phil was building a factory for a German company a few years ago. He prides himself on high quality workmanship on his projects, but nothing was good enough for this German customer. Remarks like, “If Germans were building this it would be done better” and “A German would never do it like that” brought back the version of Phil that hasn’t mellowed with age.

After one Owner comment too many, Phil said, “Let me tell you something, if Germans were building this it would fall to the ground! Look what happened in WWII.”  As you can see, Phil can still get fired up.

Phil started in construction as a concrete worker and rose to foremen with Stief Concrete. After hurting his back, he decided to move beyond the world of concrete. Beahm Construction hired Phil as a Superintendent and gave him a 10 screen AMC movie theater to build. The sloped floors and tricky concrete details went well on the project, but Phil had lots of OJT for the finishes and mechanical and electrical work. Phil says, “I had a good PM who helped me make it look like I knew what I was doing.”

Beahm Construction later gave him the Nittany Lion Inn at Penn State University to build. It was a large, difficult project and the Owner was thrilled by the completed product. Phil really enjoys finishing projects in which the Owner’s expectations are exceeded.

These days, Phil’s biggest annoyance comes from dealing with Subs and their safety issues on projects. He seems to have to explain to them daily both the cost and the ramifications of someone getting hurt. It’s turned into babysitting in recent years.

Phil says his style of construction supervision is to treat people with respect, but it’s like playing baseball, they get 3 strikes and then they’re out. His advice for Construction Supervisors? “Keep on top of things, don’t just talk about it one day, but follow up day after day.”

For relaxation, Phil likes to spend time playing with his grandchildren and walking in the woods around his home.

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Responses

  1. he’s so tough that I feel like a four year old girl with pigtails around him

  2. Generally I find that subs/suppliers/vendors take exception to Supers or PM’s that push a job hard, but when I would ask if they did alright on the project, the answer was always yes. Having had the pleasure & pain of working on projects together, I would recommend that anyone that wants to become a good Super find someone like Phil, take their good qualities & techniques (ignore some of the bad one’s) and utilize them.


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