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New hire strengthens Kraus Anderson's relationships with design-architects


New hire strengthens Kraus Anderson's relationships with design-architects

Nate Enger, the firm’s second design phase services manager, has worked on both sides of the designer-contractor fence.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | June 12, 2024
Nate Enger, Design Phase Service Manager
Nate Enger, Kraus-Anderson's new Design Phase Services Manager, has more than 20 years of industry expertise. Image: Kraus-Anderson

Last month, Kraus-Anderson, the construction management and real estate development firm, announced that it had hired Nate Enger as Design Phase Services Manager to act as a go-between for the firm and its architect partners. Enger, an architect himself, has more than two decades of design collaborative expertise, most recently as a partner and vice president with ESG Architecture & Design. He also worked as a senior design architect with Ryan Companies. Enger and Chad Rempe, Kraus-Anderson’s other Design Phase Services Manager, spoke to BD+C via email about their roles. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

BD+C: In your capacity as design phase services manager, you will act as a liaison between Kraus-Anderson’s precon services and the architect-designers it works with on projects. How do you see the scope of your responsibilities?

Enger: We see this role as an opportunity to educate and align the team with holistic project goals, which include architecture, but also focus on finding ways for the full project team to innovate outside of the constraints of traditional project delivery methodology. My role will be to help catalyze collaboration during the formative phases of the project to realize value for our owners, and to help foster a culture of mutual project ownership among project teams.

Why did the firm feel the need to bring on a design-phase service manager at this time?

Rempe: Prior to hiring Nate, I've been the only Design Phase Services Manager within our Preconstruction Team. With Nate joining our team, we're doubling our capacity to better serve our clients and project teams in managing the design and preconstruction phase of a project. As a Design Phase Services Manager, Nate will [work with] our project architect/design partners to ensure project teams are aligned on the project goals and objectives, while also ensuring the right resources are engaged at the right time to deliver effective and efficient design.

Aside from Nate, does Kraus-Anderson have any other architects or designers in its employ?

Rempe:  Kraus-Anderson does have two additional architects on staff.  One works within our Preconstruction Team as a Building Science Manager, and another works as a Strategic Facility Planner.

Aligning designers with firm's project team

Nate, your resume includes stints with architecture and construction firms. How might that background color your perspective about projects and team collaboration?

Enger: I believe the key to successful partnerships is context. Working within both [architects and contractors] gives me unique insight into the objectives and values that drive the two sides of the industry. Knowing what defines success for each of these groups (among the many [factors] that contribute to the design and construction of projects) affords an opportunity to identify common ground and context on which to form a partnership of mutual respect, shared passion, and diversity of thought. 

The opportunities and challenges we have as an industry will benefit from a true collaboration that harnesses these varied skillsets under a model that encourages knowledge sharing and innovation, in contrast to an approach of accepting partners as a necessity of the process.

We recently posted an article about a cancer center in California that's being designed and built under a Collaborative Project Delivery contract. Does your hire in any way signal what kinds of project contracts Kraus-Anderson favors, now and in the future?

Enger: I cannot speak specifically to contracts, as often we cannot control the type of contract vehicle that is executed. What I can say is that the intent we have through my hiring and many other exciting changes afoot here at Kraus-Anderson is to provide owners with more comprehensive project evaluation, earlier in the process, utilizing flexible team structures to solve challenges unique to each project. We plan to do this through identifying a shared set of values between ownership and the broad project team, breaking down traditional structures between disciplines that roadblock collaboration and innovation, and providing open, transparent, and timely access to project data as it is developed.

What are the first projects Nate will be working on?

Rempe:  A few of the initial projects will be for KA's development team working through conceptual master planning efforts.

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