When he was growing up, Humberto Sanchez knew he wanted to be an architect. The Milwaukee native would dabble in drafting for family friends who were working on small-scale remodeling projects. His goal was simple: to hone his abilities and move forward with a career.
Sanchez eventually studied industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and got an internship at MetalTek International. But one day he got a call from VJS Construction about another internship opportunity. He didn’t know a lot about the construction industry but said he’d give it a try.
Little did he suspect the decision would eventually set him on a new professional path.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to be in this, nor did I even know project management in construction was something that existed,” he said. “Growing up you see these buildings going up and I think everyone thinks it’s just architecture. You don’t think of all the other components of it.”
Seven years after he took a shot at construction, Sanchez, 32, is now a project manager at VJS. He was hired on full time after spending 2-½ years as an intern at the company.
“Humberto has distinguished himself by his passion, commitment and dedication to assisting our clients,” said Jason Schneider, VJS partner and director of project management. “When we hired him, he quickly proved that he was right for the job. His ability to build relationships makes him an invaluable asset for VJS.”
When Sanchez started his internship, VJS was involved in the St. John’s on the Lake project in Milwaukee. The job gave him a chance to see up close the sort of detailed work that goes into such a large project.
“Over time you see these projects going on and you realize it’s not about the size of the project,” he said. “Every project is important. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, because all of the same steps are required.”
Months after Sanchez was hired full time by VJS he jumped at an opportunity to work as a superintendent on an expansion of a behavioral-health clinic in Nashville. Working remotely as the point-of-contact on a project outside the Milwaukee market made a big difference in his career, Sanchez said. Above all, it allowed him to prove himself.
“Even if it’s something new to you, if you work hard and you’re organized and willing to ask the right questions, then you can set goals and move things along,” he said.
Sanchez said his foremost goal is always to provide a great product. To that end, he always thinks about the people who will eventually live in a building.
Fortunately for him, he can count on his colleagues for support.
“You’re always working in a new team; the projects change and there’s always a new challenge,” he said. “Every challenge is a new opportunity to learn something else about design or code or efficiencies and process.”