Digital Builder

Behind the Build: Interview with Kelly Hoskovec, Project Executive at Level 10 Construction

Behind the Build: Interview with Kelly Hoskovec, Project Executive at Level 10 Construction photo

Knowledge is power in construction.

The best way to obtain and leverage that knowledge is to have a solid data strategy. Having accurate and up-to-date information enables you to make better decisions more frequently and with confidence. This is why it’s important to invest in technologies that streamline how you collect, analyze, and harness construction data

Kelly Hoskovec, Project Executive at Level 10 Construction, fully understands the value of data. As someone who’s worked in different areas within construction, she says that information visibility and connectivity are essential in today’s fast-moving environment. 

In a recent conversation with Kelly, she shared career insights and tips, as well as her views on where construction is heading, particularly as the industry becomes more data-centric.

 

Tell me a little bit about Level 10 and what you specialize in.

Level 10 Construction was established about 10 years ago, and we actually just celebrated our 10-year anniversary. The firm started as a group of eight gentlemen who came from a well-established contractor in Northern California. They wanted to focus more on client satisfaction, hands-on project delivery and an employee-driven culture. 

These are the same veterans who taught me how to be in construction. They were my mentors from day one. So, I called them up one day and said, “Hey, I want to come over and work for you.” 

Looking back, this company has had crazy growth in the past 10 years. It went from having eight people in a room to being ENR’s Contractor of the Year and consistently ranked among the top GCs.  All while securing repeat business by delivering on what was promised relative to cost, schedule, quality and safety.

We now have a wide range of construction projects—from the corporate office and commercial side to healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, and technology. Those are the types of projects I run and have the most experience with. 

What’s great about Level 10 is we have the capacity to handle large projects right down to the smaller ones.

– Kelly Hoskovec, Project Executive, Level 10 Construction

I was on a big project designed by Frank Gehry–who’s a legendary architect. But then I’ve also done projects where it’s a foreman and an engineer, and they’re remodeling a conference room. So we run the gamut here.

In addition to running projects, I also support business development, reaching out to new clients, working on some in-house processes, and updating our DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) plan. I’ve also been leading our Autodesk initiatives and helping to evaluate the various platforms available.

Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire!

 

Walk us through your career and what led you to becoming Project Executive.

I started off when I was in college studying civil engineering and architecture but didn’t really know what I wanted to do. At the time, I’d done a couple of internships on the engineering side for the business. See, I love math, and that’s why I went that route in college. But I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk drawing a detail or staring at a computer screen. 

In my senior year, I took an internship at a construction company and fell in love with the company and industry as a whole. I ended up saying, “Yes, I will definitely sign up to be in the field,” because it means seeing my work being put in place and getting that immediate feedback as we work through all the challenges. 

And so I switched from being on the engineering design side to being on the construction side. I’ve since had great opportunities to be involved in a wide range of complex projects, including healthcare, manufacturing, and life sciences. 

I love the complexity of those types of buildings. Being able to dive into all the different systems and coordinate throughout the process, as well as getting into the details with the end-users; these are the things that I like the most about construction. 

Being able to dive into all the different systems and coordinate throughout the process, as well as getting into the details with the end-users; these are the things that I like the most about construction.

– Kelly Hoskovec, Project Executive, Level 10 Construction

I’ve also been able to work with some really incredible people. There are so many different folks that you interact with on a daily basis in the construction industry that make you who you are.

 

What is your proudest accomplishment in your career at Level 10? Why?

There are so many and it’s hard to choose just one. I’m a mother of three, and that’s like saying, “Which one of your kids is your favorite?” 

But I like the fact that I’ve been able to create spaces that make the world better. Whether it’s through a new drug that’s found from the research or a better memory device that’s faster for all of our computers or enhanced health care services being available to the community. I’m proud of the different spaces that I’ve built that have enabled a positive impact on the world. 

And honestly, even with that, I think what I’m most proud of are the groups of people that I get to interact with. I’m very focused on making sure that everyone is doing the best personally as well as for the project. As such, we all really do become close-knit, like a family. A few of my engineers have gotten married over the past 20 years and I’ve gone to all their weddings. 

I’m truly proud of having those connections and long-term relationships. It’s important for me to put energy into maintaining those relationships. Even if a job is not going as planned, we can still work hard, remain professional and friendly as we solve the problems to ensure a project’s success.

 

As construction evolves, how do you see the role of Project Executive changing?

There are so many things we never would’ve thought of tracking before, and the technology keeps changing and innovating. So now there are a million data points out there.

You have to figure out a way to collect and make use of them. It’s not enough to just have data and say, “Oh, I’m checking the box on this report because I’m told I have to.” You also need to think about what you’re going to do with that data afterward. 

As far as where the industry’s going, I foresee construction professionals spending less time on-site, due to you being more productive and efficient, or because you don’t have to physically be on-site for the whole construction. An example is you’re doing more prefabrication offsite and controlling it there, then assemble it in the field. 

Either way, I think getting to a place where we have that connectivity, or visibility of information, is going to be a challenge. That’s where we need to keep focusing. 

It’s like email fatigue. You get hundreds of emails a day, and you can’t read them all. So which ones do you skip? Which do you need to pay attention to? You try to reduce or prioritize that information, and it’s the same thing with all the data points available in the field. How do you actually make sense of all that info?

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in your role? How does technology help you overcome those challenges?

The biggest challenge is putting the information we gather to good use. This could mean getting more involved with AI or getting all the data into Power BI. 

Data is the driving point for decisions that are made across all aspects of the business. You’ve got safety. You’ve got cost. You’ve got design quality. And you have to figure out ways to put that information to use in a timely manner and evaluate low leverage/impact data so it can be culled out and you can focus on the data that actually drives the project. 

One thing that I’ve seen, especially with the Autodesk platform, is that you’re able to not just collect data and put it in a file somewhere, but you can actually take that information and manipulate it, so opportunities stand out.

– Kelly Hoskovec, Project Executive, Level 10 Construction

Your data could say, “Here’s some things you need to focus on” or “Here’s some things that you can be better at.” So that’s one of the ways that technology helps us overcome challenges with data. 

 

Speaking of Autodesk Construction Cloud products, why are you excited about implementing Autodesk Build over the next few months?

Autodesk is a great platform. One of the things that we love about it is its ability to consolidate a lot of information. This means you’re no longer keeping this siloed version of the documentation. Plus, it’s all available in the mobile app

It’s also got various ways you can customize the platform to meet your needs. So, for us, we’re able to go through and make a couple of changes to improve the way we do things in the field.

 

What made you want to partner with Autodesk on your projects?

We’re going with Autodesk for two reasons.

First, it’s the most economical platform for all the capabilities we’re looking for. When you look at the cost comparison between Autodesk Build and some of the other platforms, Autodesk offers more value. It has a better price point compared to platforms that have similar capabilities.

Secondly, you are innovating so much right now. You’re rolling new stuff out every two months. And that part is going to be critical to staying current in the industry. 

Other platforms, they’ve got maybe bi-yearly or yearly updates, where they’re rolling out new features or whatnot. And with the rate that technology is innovating, you can’t wait that long. You have to be able to incorporate new best practices or additional options or whatever the next item is. You need to roll it out more often to stay in line with all the technological advances that are going on. 

That was a huge selling point. Autodesk is rolling things out every two months, and we’ve already seen some benefit from that. We made some comments, questions, and requests during our beta testing and the response was, “Oh, yeah. We’re actually adding that feature next month, and you’ll see it on the pop-up on such and such date.” 

We’re not waiting a year to have something be modified and corrected or enhanced. Autodesk teams are on the ball, and that’s one of the reasons I’m excited about using your platform. 

– Kelly Hoskovec, Project Executive, Level 10 Construction

You always keep up with innovations across the board.

 

When you think about the future, what are your plans to advance innovation and productivity at Level 10?

Realistically, it’s trying to stay on top of what’s available out there. And that’s one thing I do love about Level 10 – we’re flexible enough to be able to respond and incorporate technology as it evolves

For example, right now one of our jobs is beta testing an AI robot doing layout for an entire project. Now, that’s something that’s not typically done, at least not out here. And one of our teams said, “We really want to try this out and see if it’s something we should explore more or if it’s ready to be incorporated across the company.” We’ve got a couple of eyes watching over that project and making sure that we understand the drawbacks as well as the benefits.

So in terms of advancing technology within the company, we’re not exactly early adopters of very new trends. But we are willing to entertain and explore new select technologies on projects as they come out and find if they benefit out business, our staff, and our customers.

 

What should construction firms do to attract new and diverse talent during the Great Resignation and labor shortage?

That’s a problem that most companies are facing right now. One thing that we’re looking at is enhancing the knowledge about the construction industry at an earlier age. 

We’re reaching out to colleges and talking with various groups and saying, “Let us tell you about construction. Let’s get together, have a lunch, learn, and talk about it.” 

We’re also partnering up with various educational institutions and reaching out to people that are getting close to college age. We’re figuring out ways to raise awareness and show students that construction is a viable option. 

There is a group called Girls Garage in Berkeley. They’ve done a lot of incredible work with introducing anyone that’s of female association to the construction and design industry. So, we’re trying to figure out how to work more with them. That whole plan is still under development, but that’s one of the things that I know I’m personally going to be getting more involved with. 

All in all, the key to making the construction industry more diverse is getting people more interested at an earlier age.

 

What advice would you give to the next generation of men and women entering and preparing for the future of the industry?

One thing would be to make sure you’re doing what you love. If you enjoy what you’re doing, then every day is great, even your hard days. 

As for something more tangible, I think the biggest advice would be to pick up the phone. Don’t rely solely on technology. Have a conversation with whoever you’re working with. You’ll find it gets more immediate results than an email that someone might not read for another couple of hours. It also helps build that relationship. You’re connecting with someone at a personal level. So, just literally pick up the phone. That’s one of the key things that I always find people need to improve on.

 

Interested in more interviews like this?

Myself and team regularly sit down with construction leaders to promote knowledge sharing among our community. We cover what works, what doesn’t, and what the future holds. Check out previous Behind the Build interviews, featuring some of the best in construction.

Kelsee Campbell

Customer Advocacy Program Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions

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