Life As A Project Manager, As Told By An 11-Year-Old

It is an honor and privilege to introduce you to Chase Detweiler, a member of the BFW family and author. Chase is an 11-year-old young man that we have known since he was born. His dad has been a key part of our team for over 14 years. We marvel at this young man’s social skills, intellect, writing ability and more. He has a sound moral compass and an unwavering work ethic that gives us a glimpse at the bright leaders in our future. (When he is ready to join the workforce, we put dibs on him…. although, his current aspiration is to be an architect). When someone experiences any kind of damage to their home or business, they are immediately connected with a skilled and experienced project manager. What happens next? Chase Detweiler will fill you in…

On April 25th, 2019, I got the opportunity to shadow my dad for take your child to work day. My dad is a Project Manager at Berks • Fire • Water Restorations, a full-service restoration company serving seven counties in Pennsylvania (Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Lebanon, and Schuylkill). They serve these counties because they are all within one hour from their facility in Reading, PA, allowing for optimal response time. BFW serves residential and commercial properties through many services, from water restoration and mold remediation, to storm repairs and duct cleaning.

A Project Manager is the one in charge of a “loss,” which is a job like a flood scene, fire scene or tree impact. Project Managers (PMs) write estimates for insurance companies and work with the home/business owner to complete the work written in the estimate. Project Managers are in charge of all jobs/losses assigned to them. As a Project Manager my dad gets one to three jobs a day and has 45 to 60 jobs he is working on at one time. The company gets around 1,500 to 2,000 losses every year. As a Project Manager a huge part of my dad’s job is writing estimates. Estimates are reports of the damage done to the property and what needs to be done to restore the property. The type of damage determines what’s inside an estimate. For example, a fire loss estimate would include reframing the burnt areas, repainting, recarpeting, and installing new electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. Estimates contain detailed room-by-room descriptions of what needs to be done to fully restore the property. These descriptions include information on what needs to be done. For example, on a carpet installation you must include quantity of material determined by square footage, the cost of removing the affected item, replacing it, and any extra expenses, including tax. Estimates also include a map of the damaged property. The last thing in an estimate is a recap of the total costs of items by category (such as painting, cleaning, drywall, etc.).

After an interview with Ted Lavender, CEO and President of BFW, I learned that in order to be a Project Manager you need a specific skill set. You need to be empathetic and have good soft skills. These are important because your client may be in distress, and you need to be able to be there for them. They also need estimating software, as estimates are a large chunk of their responsibilities. A Project Manager must be satisfactory with their communication, organization, and writing skills. These come into play when dealing with clients, writing estimates and organizing all your losses.
Project Managers should also have extensive construction background and job management experience. In conclusion, my dad has a pretty interesting job as a Project Manager, and I had a great time visiting BFW.