In the span of two months as a Mortenson estimator, Ross Bunchek went from working on a $14 million job to an $80 million project to a mammoth venture totaling $200 million.
“I don’t pull that off without a lot of support from the team I work with,” he said.
Bunchek came to construction after working as a director for the YMCA. In his five years at Mortenson, he has been involved with estimates for Aurora Health Care, Marquette University’s Athletic and Human Performance Research Center, the Milwaukee School of Engineering Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall and the Fiserv Forum.
The countless hours he has spent estimating has won him respect as an industry leader and one of the most trusted estimators at Mortenson, according to his colleagues.
Recently, he led the estimating effort for a 300,000-square-foot modernization of the S.C. Johnson campus in Racine. The project involves the demolition of three buildings, renovations of existing buildings and the addition of two new buildings, an outdoor courtyard, an indoor atrium and a substation.
Bunchek said with its series of buildings that are more than 100 years old and a demanding customer, the two-year job provided about seven years of experience and knowledge.
His secret to success?
“Deep breaths,” he said, along with patience and a lot of to-do lists.
Humility aside, part of Bunchek’s success may come from his deep understanding of his clients’ vision, his effective communication and his attention to detail.
“I thoroughly enjoy the detail,” said Bunchek, a four-time all-American weight and hammer thrower with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in exercise science. “I enjoy getting into the project on a molecular level; you have to break things down to their lowest degree. The challenge of learning everything is certainly tough, but if I wanted to do something easy I wouldn’t have gone into construction.”
Bunchek also enjoys imparting his knowledge to younger estimators. He is involved with the company’s young professionals group, Leaders in Training, which provides young professionals with peer networking, discussions and experience for future career advancement. As co-chair, Bunchek runs bimonthly meetings, site tours and other events.