Go Team! Powerful Partnerships Keep SR-60 Project on Track
Experience, flexibility and teamwork are key in this HOV Lanes Project.
A $153 million project to construct a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane in both directions on the Pomona Freeway (SR 60) from the San Gabriel Freeway (I-605) to Brea Canyon Road is on time and within budget and the construction team attributes its success to one thing: partnership.
First there is the partnership within the team, whose principals are Senior Resident Engineer (RE) Yanina Bashoura, Resident Engineer Patricia Galvan, and Structure Representative Javid Sharifi. Others involved with the project who participated in this article are Office Engineer/Field Inspector Helen Peralta and Field Inspector Veronica Ross.
Other team members include: Principal Assistant Field Inspector Sergio Del Rio; Field Inspectors Jerry Ochoa, Peter Koury, Gerardo Medina, Carl Capistrano, and Mehdi Raffie; Principle Assistant Structure Representative Oscar Rodriquez; Electrical RE Paul Wang and Electrical Inspector George Onyegbaduo.
The women in particular have worked together for a long time, an estimated 15 years for Galvan, Peralta and Ross at various offices and have worked at the Diamond Bar construction office since 2000. “This office has a lot of experience,” said Galvan, who’s own background, since starting with Caltrans in 1991 as a student assistant, includes a full rotation in District 12, three years in hydraulics design and the remainder in construction. She has mainly worked on large projects throughout her construction career in both District 12 and District 7.
Some of the project challenges have been achieving and maintaining a positive rating on Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPP); a significant amount of night work; and the large quantity of public and media interest generated by the project’s visibility, Galvan said.
She credits its successes to excellent communication with the contractor, Skanska, USA, beginning with an all-day partnering session when the project started (May, 2007) and continuing with weekly meetings. “We talk constantly,” Galvan said, adding that the construction team has been fortunate that “there has been a continuity of people through the life of the project.”
The project senior RE, RE, office engineer and a field inspector are all, well, women, which is somewhat unusual.
“It can’t be an issue,” Galvan said. “We recognize that construction is a male-dominated work environment but we are all here to do a job and we are respected for the job we do, not who we are.” Although Bashoura concedes that they might be motivated to “do even better.”
Mainly, the team works well together because they have known each other for a long time and are familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. “This office has some of the hardest-working people,” Galvan said. “We don’t look at rank or anything else; we all do whatever is needed to get the job done.” Egos need not apply, she added.
For example, Office Engineer Peralta is working on five projects. So Field Inspector Ross or Field Inspector Gerald Medina will often step in to help her, since they both have experience4 as office engineers.
Teamwork, experience and flexibility are the key factors making this project work, Galvan stressed. “For the type of work we do, being a woman cannot be an issue.”