Jenna Baker, Project Manager of the Month, on Managing Complex Design-Build Projects
Jenna’s collaborative nature, ability to build consensus with diverse stakeholder groups, and strong project financial acumen has been instrumental in Tetra Tech’s successful design and delivery of design-build projects.
Jenna Baker is Tetra Tech’s August 2023 PM of the Month. Jenna has 18 years of industry experience with more than half of those years dedicated to design-build projects. Prior to joining the Tetra Tech High Performance Buildings Group, Jenna acted as a project manager for mechanical and plumbing contractors where she learned lean field practices, and cost management and communication skills.
Jenna has a reputation among clients for achieving positive results by thinking strategically and taking the initiative to anticipate problems. Her passion for design-build also has enabled her to do consulting, further develop her technical design skills, and bring a different perspective to the design team.
“Jenna’s collaborative nature, ability to build consensus with diverse stakeholder groups, and strong project financial acumen has been instrumental in Tetra Tech’s successful design and delivery of design-build projects,” said Joseph Fong, Unit President.
Jenna has a degree in Construction Management Technology, is a Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) certified professional and member of the DBIA Western Pacific Region Design Professionals Committee. She is also passionate about educating and inspiring the next generation’s engineers as a Construction, Redevelopment, Engineering, Architecture, Trades, and Education (CREATE) student mentor.
“I value having balanced relationships between project managers and designers who work together to accomplish outstanding results as a team,” Jenna said. “I like to be proactive and set my team up for success with expectations and deliverables, and they always seal the deal with great execution. They honestly do all the hard work, and they make us look good!”
We talked with Jenna about her work delivering complex and sustainable design-build projects.
What impact do your projects have on the environment and communities you work in?
The projects I work on, such as the Department of General Services New Natural Resources Headquarters and Resource Building Renovation in Sacramento, California, impact communities by providing sustainable and resilient designs for all types of building projects. My team and I work with our clients to provide innovative solutions to reduce energy and water usage and meet Net Zero Energy standards. We provide spaces that meet our clients’ needs with features designed specifically for their goals.
What is your approach to managing a successful project team?
A great team is critical to managing a successful project. I have a team of engineers I trust and who do their best to make the project succeed. When challenges arise in a project, it is key to have a team who will work together to find innovative solutions to the problem. In addition, it is my responsibility to make sure my team is unified and understands each aspect of a project throughout the entire design process. I embrace accountability and hold myself and my team to high expectations to deliver quality work. As a project manager, I also support my staff and encourage them to continue developing their technical skills.
How do you maintain client satisfaction across a variety of complex projects?
We work closely with clients to find solutions to design challenges. We have a high level of trust and respect with our clients because we emphasize clear, timely communication and work diligently to meet their goals. My team works proactively to anticipate and minimize any challenges that may occur throughout the build and communicates with our clients to develop a plan to overcome them.