Wilma Massena, a seven-year veteran, is a superintendent with ORIGIN Construction. He’s passionate for the construction industry, with heavy strengths in time management, attention to detail and growing relationships with both clients and subcontractors. Join Construction Superintendent as Massena discusses how a career in construction “found” him, top lessons learned and tips to get the job done.
(Q) How did an education in marketing and management lead to a career in the construction industry?
Essentially, the construction industry found me. I was having a tough time landing a job in marketing as intended, when a management position presented itself with a stucco company. My job was to drive from site to site and ensure adequate personnel covered each project, everyone was on task and safety protocols were followed. It was then I fell in love with construction. My favorite part of the job is delivering a finished project and seeing the look on the client’s face.
(Q) Talk a little bit about the unique construction challenges inherent with the Florida climate. How do you and your crew mitigate these challenges?
Given that the majority of the projects we work on are interior buildouts, we experience minimal climate-related challenges. For our ground-up developments, the daily summer showers and susceptibility to hurricanes and tropical storms are potential challenges, which we address during the early stages of project planning. When a major storm impacts the region, we may halt project work for a few days to allow workers time to take care of families, and while we wait until it’s safe to resume both interior and ground-up construction.
(Q) Your project experience focuses on multimillion-dollar office buildings primarily located in the Tampa and Miami Beach areas. Which one of these projects stands out and why?
My first project with ORIGIN was working on building the Miami Beach office for Wix.com, an international software company. I was fairly new at the job, and there were multiple components involved throughout—including many distinctive features, such as cabana-style spaces and designated lounge areas—which required strict attention to detail from finishes to coloring.
(Q) Share a few of the lessons learned as a superintendent and how they’ve changed the way you do your job.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout my career in construction involves time management—a critical part of the job not only because of the number of tasks to complete in any given day, but because it requires an entire team’s dedication to get it done. Consequently, I’ve worked on honing my organizational, multitasking and communication skills, all of which are essential when juggling 20-30 tasks each day.
(Q) How has the pandemic affected the way you approach safety on a daily basis?
At ORIGIN, safety has always been top priority but, due to the pandemic, it’s become even more important. This means adding steps to our daily operations, including COVID-19 self-screening evaluations, temperature checks, social distancing, increased hand-washing and hand sanitizer stations.
(Q) Which project has proven the most challenging during your career? What were these challenges and how were they remedied?
We recently completed a new upscale office project for a client on Miami Beach, which entailed a fixed deadline for project completion. Staying on schedule was a challenge, because we were building the project at the same time certain design components were being finalized. It took dedicated collaboration from the entire project team to deliver the project on time, and to meet the client’s expectations.
(Q) What tech tool is a must-have for you on the jobsite?
My iPad and laptop are my go-to tools on the jobsite. We primarily use three types of software that allow us to easily pull up any plans or drawings while on the jobsite, which eliminates the need to leave our work area.
(Q) Share a couple of your top time management tips.
Every evening, I create a task list of everything that needs to get accomplished the following day, with an estimated time allotted for each task. At the end of the day, I transition any uncompleted tasks to the following day’s list to ensure that item will be completed first. I also schedule several reminders on my smartphone.
(Q) What is the best piece of advice you’ve received as a superintendent?
I’m fortunate to have worked alongside Robert Henriques, an ORIGIN general superintendent and project manager who told me early on that it’s okay to ask for help when needed.
(Q) What’s your proven method to growing relationships with clients and subcontractors?
It may sound simplistic, but ensuring everyone remains happy is key. This is accomplished by open dialogue and constant communication with all parties involved on the project team, from the client to the architects to project suppliers and vendors.
(Q) What is a favorite pastime when you’re off the clock?
I enjoy reading up on ways to save and invest money, exercising and hanging out with family—especially my niece and nephew. I try to pick them up on Sundays and take them to play basketball, then treat them to ice cream.
Origin Media Contact Information:
Aaron Gordon: Aaron@Schwartz-Media.com / 305.962.3292
Jaclyn Dadas-Kraper: Jaclyn@Schwartz-Media.com / 248.842.0597
Victoria Cela: Victoria@Schwartz-Media.com / 786.514.9250