Accomplishing the ‘impossible’
Published: November 1, 2009
If time is money in the construction industry, then Mike Duffek is a gold miner.
The up-and-coming project manager with Riley Construction Co. Inc., Milwaukee, powered through a complex hospital construction project for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in 90 calendar days, minimizing costs as well as disruption to patients and staff.
Duffek led Riley crews to complete relocation of an intensive-care unit within 50 days while also moving a post-anesthesia care unit on a concurrent 90-day schedule.
“Mike took on the project knowing it was an impossible schedule,” said Dave Riley, owner of Riley Construction. “(He knew) that to have it work, everything would need to fall into place, but he was never intimidated. With Mike, the glass is always half-full.
“He figures out what needs to happen and gets it done.”
Finished on time and on budget, the Franklin project included a 30,000-square-foot build-out of the third and fifth floors of a hospital, as well as the addition of an air handler in the sixth-floor penthouse.
Construction also involved complex HVAC, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems coordination.
Throughout the project, Duffek worked to ensure hospital staff and patients were not affected by the construction, said Ron Boecker, Wheaton Franciscan’s vice president of construction and facility services.
“He also worked closely with local and state officials to make sure we were compliant and tried to head off any problems in advance,” Boecker said. “Mike had to juggle a lot of balls and didn’t drop one. He really hit a home run on this project.”
Duffek has been with Riley Construction for only two years, but in that time he has distinguished himself as an emerging leader, Riley said.
“He’s only 30 years old, but what he has accomplished already in his career is phenomenal,” Riley said. “When he walks in the room, he lights it up. He has a very positive outlook and personality.”
With one eye always on the bottom line, Duffek provided Wheaton
Franciscan officials with real-time cost projections throughout construction, Boecker said. The project wrapped up successfully in August.
“Mike is a real team player,” he said. “No matter what happened, he kept a cool head and kept everyone moving.”