Jillian Jack, Project Manager of the Month, on Building Strong Client Relationships
Tetra Tech CEO Dan Batrack created our Project Manager (PM) of the Month award to honor PMs who demonstrate excellence in supporting our clients and perform projects to the highest standards of quality and fiscal discipline.
“Beyond the metrics, Jillian takes the time to understand the client and their challenges and has become a trusted advisor.”– Lauren Springer, Unit President
Jillian Jack is Tetra Tech’s September 2022 PM of the Month. She has more than 20 years of experience in water and wastewater design and construction management. Jillian manages complex design and construction management projects across multiple disciplines for Tetra Tech’s Metro Atlanta operations.
In addition, Jillian has played a large part in growing Tetra Tech’s presence in Atlanta, leading business development strategy and recently being made the operations manager of our Atlanta wastewater infrastructure group.
“Jillian is a phenomenal project manager with one of the largest portfolios in our water infrastructure group. Beyond the metrics, Jillian takes the time to understand the client and their challenges and has become a trusted advisor,” said Lauren Springer, Unit President.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
“I have really appreciated all the opportunities that have been offered to me since I started with Tetra Tech in 2013. I’ve been allowed the freedom to manage clients and projects in the manner that I believe best served our clients," said Jillian.
We talked with Jillian about managing successful water infrastructure projects.
How does your work as a project manager support resilient and sustainable communities?
My team supports sanitary sewer collection system projects, water and wastewater treatment plant upgrades, and various water and wastewater master planning efforts. We work with clients to efficiently spend their available funding, implement innovative solutions, and accomplish goals in a timely fashion so that communities are met with consistent, cost-effective, and high-quality services. This work helps maintain public health and protect the environment even in the midst of resource constraints.
Municipalities need to continue to deliver critical services to communities and operate in a fiscally responsible manner in the face of added constraints. When my team was challenged with COVID outbreaks at construction sites, we did our best to keep construction moving safely and avoided costly delays.
What is your approach to managing a successful project team?
I manage large teams of staff and subconsultants to deliver critical water infrastructure projects. First and foremost, safety is fundamental to the work we do, so I work to see that my staff are protected, and construction is performed safely. To continue to meet our project objectives, I ensure that I'm fostering a collaborative work environment for my team and clients.
A successful project team relies on having the right people with the right skills, but also creating opportunities for staff to grow their experience and skills. I value the contributions and engagement of all project stakeholders, from the county’s field staff all the way through the utility department management and up to the county commissioners.
How do you maintain client satisfaction across a wide variety of complex projects?
Maintaining client satisfaction depends on consistent and timely communication. To navigate difficult and challenging projects, you have to be a trusted advisor to clients. This means maintaining relationships, responding to feedback, and sustaining the same quality of work across projects.
In addition to facilitating open communication channels, I try to anticipate upcoming issues or project challenges and proactively engage with clients to develop tailored solutions. As a project manager, I often manage projects with tight time constraints, which requires me to work with stakeholders to set priorities and move a project forward all while mitigating risks.
The impact of lasting client relationships cannot be understated. However, building relationships with other consultants is also crucially important to our success. Having spent a large portion of my career in Metro Atlanta, I developed relationships with a number of local small businesses that partner with Tetra Tech to deliver critical services.
Read more from Jillian Jack about supporting traditionally underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.