Terry L. Grayson

VP Operations | Construction
Engineering Management Development

A construction operations management leader who builds solid infrastructures and teams that increase efficiencies, ensure project success, and produce a profit. Detailed experience controlling the time, cost, and quality of project life cycles for commercial and industrial construction. Plans and coordinates all aspects of the construction process, including hiring contractors and working with engineers, architects, and vendors; determines the scheduling of different project phases based on established deadlines. Spearheads the development of project execution metrics and streamlined processes, measures progress, productivity, and successful execution. Provides leadership and accountability for construction site safety.

Brings an engineer's solution-oriented, disciplined approach to bid, project, and work process execution issues and how to leverage resources and technology to achieve business objectives.

Bio

Experience

April 2020 – January 2023

Regional Director of Construction and Engineering Management

Constructed all new restaurants in the 32-state East Coast Region and maximizing business objectives utilizing seven direct reports, hundreds of consultants/vendors, and a multitude of general contractors. Provided direction and growth for the construction and engineering team, articulating a roadmap for its development. Collaborated with executives to ensure the successful implementation of critical projects and initiatives and focused on setting clear goals, KPIs, and standards to drive the team’s performance. Provided strategic guidance on construction specifics on 40-50 annual projects, including scalability, reliability, and safety. Oversight of construction development, including entitlements enhancement, agency management, strategic planning, and budgetary forecasting/management ($200M annual).

February 2012 – April 2020

Director of Real Estate Development, Construction & Engineering Management

Oversaw landfill construction, engineering, and development in California and Nevada; managed all landfill operations, utility, and core objectives; and managed professional staff and field consultants. Landfill development, including entitlements, agency management, strategic planning, and budget forecasting, led to creating and implementing of strategic plans and processes. Maximized ROI, safety, renewable energy management, sustainability, and innovation. Managed seven of the country’s largest landfills and 40 large-scale transfer/hauling sites. Annual budgetary control of $340M.

June 2008 – February 2012

Regional Director of Land Development, Construction & Environmental

Directed a large portfolio of asset properties and construction/environmental projects. Focused on reducing capital and maintenance expenses through energy-efficient measures to implement sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Built 40 ground up QSR and retail facilities. Managed budgets, personnel, and fiscal responsibilities while helping guide the company through a major restructuring process and realigning it in anticipation of industry changes. Accountability for $350M annual budgets.

January 2005 – June 2008

Area Director of Real Estate, Land Development & Construction

Responsibility and a broad range of tasks included managing the development of public, commercial, and retail buildings, clubhouses, and land developments in Northern California. Oversaw appraisal and utility analysis, as well as the strategic planning of operations. Additionally, managed a budget of $120M and ensured that all construction, engineering, environmental, and safety activities were in line with regulations and permits.

January 2003- January 2005

Director Development & Program Management

Developed a successful start-up business from the ground up, providing a range of services that included quick service restaurants (QSR), land development, construction, and environmental services to both public and private clients. Accountable for all aspects of the business, from pre-development and construction management to working with clients such as the Department of General Services, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and well-known companies like McDonald’s, Chevron, Starbucks, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Unocal 76. Oversight of yearly budgets of $450M.

March 1997 – January 2003

Director Western Region Real Estate, Construction & Engineering

Built division after the $2B joint company acquisition and accountable for more than $440M annual budgets and all real estate, land leases, retail, and commercial building in all 24 states west of the Mississippi River.

Results

Oversight of $200M in annual projects for Canes.

Guided a $50M modernization of facilities initiative for Waste Management.

Generated $12M+ savings multiple times on projects for Conoco Phillips.

Expertise

  • Full-Scale Project Management Methodologies
  • Pre-Construction Estimation
  • Construction Site Safety
  • OSHA Bid Proposal Management
  • Quality Assurance
  • Capital Improvement Development & Planning
  • Resource Allocation & Scheduling
  • Permitting Processes
  • Redesign & Change Management
  • Client & Vendor Relationship Management
  • Crisis Resolution
  • Negotiations
  • Disaster Response
  • Team Building & Leadership
  • P&L Capital Budgets
  • Risk Management
  • Design-Bid-Build
  • Budget Analysis & ControlSWOT & Needs Analysis

Education

Master of Business Administration

Bachelor of Science
Mechanical Engineering

Q&A

Tell me about a time when priorities shifted without warning for you at work. How did you respond?

As an executive in a construction management company, it’s crucial to acknowledge that workplace fatalities can occur on construction sites. In such events, it is vital to shift all priorities immediately from active construction work to comprehensive Job Site Analysis (JSA) strategic plans. These plans should include the creation of a built triage team that conducts weekly meetings to assess all community and personnel requirements. To ensure everyone’s safety, it is necessary to halt all building activities for a minimum of four months. Such a strategy can help prevent further mishaps and prioritize the well-being of everyone involved in the construction process.

Describe a challenging situation that demanded you build rapport with someone quickly.

As an experienced executive in operational leadership, I faced a daunting challenge when a natural disaster in the form of a fire necessitated the movement of a significantly larger number of hauling trucks (1200 trucks) through local towns, crossing county lines. This was in stark contrast to the typical range of 100-200 trucks that traveled to the landfill and required swift engagement with the Mayor of the largest local town, with whom I had not had any prior interaction. During the meeting, I proactively addressed ton needs and sought to understand the Mayor’s requirements, which was a challenging task right from the start.

Tell me about when you last had to leverage your conflict management skills.

As an executive in project, construction, and operational leadership, I faced a significant challenge in December 2022 when I requested the contractor to stay on schedule “at all costs.” However, there were no proper contractual agreements in place to define what “at all costs” meant. This lack of clarity led to a conflict management situation when the final bills from the electrical subcontractors came in over $400k higher than previously approved, and senior management was not willing to pay.

Over several weeks, I had to rely on my conflict management skills and experience to analyze, review, and negotiate a win/win situation for all parties involved. This required the implementation of extremely talented and productive conflict management drivers, which helped me to resolve the issue successfully. As an executive, it’s crucial to be well-versed in conflict management and negotiation techniques, as they are essential skills in the construction industry.

Give me a specific example of how you have empowered your staff to make independent decisions.

Empowering staff is essential for successful project management. During a year-end rush to complete over 15 stores between November and December, I empowered each Senior Construction Manager to work independently, bypassing the usual review process, and make decisions on specifications, change orders, and scheduling directly in the field. To ensure effective communication and collaboration, we held weekly meetings to address any potential surprises, while also fully delegating multiple project approval processes. This approach allowed us to complete the projects before the year-end deadline, with minimal delays and high-quality outcomes. Empowering staff not only builds trust and confidence in the team, but it also streamlines decision-making processes and ensures the best chance of project success.

How would you define success for someone in your chosen career?

Trust Trust Trust with peers, direct reports, and all associated team members.

When unforeseen obstacles to a project pop up, how do you handle them? Please give an example that illustrates this.

One specific example of handling unforeseen obstacles from my experience as a civil/site work construction manager when we unexpectedly discovered old underground tanks while working on the project site. We immediately conducted a thorough review of county and agency records to better understand the tanks’ origin and any potential hazards. Next, we performed a cost analysis to assess the financial impact of the discovery and analyzed the potential impact on the project timeline. We also prioritized the safety of our personnel and assessed overall risk to the organization before determining the best course of action. Despite this obstacle, we moved forward rapidly with a best-practice approach that ensured the project’s successful completion. This experience reinforced the importance of thorough planning, careful risk assessment, and quick decision-making when unexpected challenges arise on construction projects.

Describe both a long- and short-term goal you had in your most recent position.

I am honored to have been commended for a track record in promoting and developing personnel within my team. In the first two years of my leadership, I successfully promoted three out of eight direct reports, with all three achieving their goals and earning promotions. Additionally, I have a proven ability to tackle complex supply chain challenges, such as those related to HVAC systems. For example, I addressed supply chain horrors by establishing a pre-buy arrangement with Lennox for a 1-3 year supply of all typical units, guaranteeing 90-95% availability for all future years. My ability to identify and solve supply chain challenges, coupled with my dedication to developing talent, makes me the ideal candidate for the VP of construction management position.

What’s been your most rewarding team experience?

I am proud of my successful track record in building and leading high-performing teams. One of my most rewarding achievements was developing a cohesive East Coast Construction/Development Team, which included eight new members, all working together to achieve the success of over 20 new build locations annually. Notably, our team achieved this remarkable feat without a single safety issue, and we exceeded company expectations. I attribute our success to my effective leadership style, which prioritizes fostering trust and delegation amongst team members. As VP of construction management, I am confident in my ability to replicate such successes and lead teams toward exceptional outcomes.

Describe your experience adapting to an environment different from your own.

I have extensive experience thriving in challenging and diverse work environments, particularly in unionized government settings. I have excelled in situations where accountability is limited or non-existent and where high expectations and output are the norm. I possess exceptional adaptability skills, having worked in environments where typical business and personnel behavior require quick adaptation. I am confident in my ability to succeed in these types of environments and have a proven track record of delivering outstanding results.