Peter Kiernan joined Soben in 2021 as Director of Technology for Soben’s North America operation. Here he shares some insights into a typical day, what led him to follow a career in construction, and his predictions for the sector over the next 12-18 months.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Now that the kids are back to school, it usually involves getting them out the door early, hitting the gym for an hour and then setting up for the daily work activities.
These include checking in with the team and the client, attending to the regular rhythm of business meetings, focusing on deliverables for the day, and ensuring the team meets them and has the support they need.
I also focus on engaging new clients through multiple media formats and gaining exposure to other sectors of the industry for Soben.
What first attracted you to the construction industry?
I have always had an interest in 3D shapes and architecture. I loved woodwork in second-level school and building projects. This piqued my interest in applying for the third-level architectural/quantity surveying courses, and I chose the quantity surveying course at the end at Limerick Institute of Technology.
What are your predictions for the construction industry over the next 12-18 months?
I think the industry will have strong sectors, such as mission critical, and weaker sectors, such as commercial, as stakeholders reassess the current markets, monitor inflation impacts and supply and demand for materials and labour.
What are your goals for Soben in that time?
To grow and focus on the mission critical sector, continue to develop relationships with current clients and add new clients to our growing portfolio.
What have been your defining career moments?
I moved to America in 2001 on a J1 student visa for four months to dabble in bartending. I had no success at this but did land a role with a small subcontractor called Commodore Construction in Manhattan. This break gave me my first H1B visa and allowed me to stay in the country to develop my career.
I transitioned after one year to Faithful & Gould, formally Hanscomb and this break developed and fine-tuned my estimating skills. It enabled me to work closely with some of the best architects in the business, and master the skills to cost from a conceptual master plan, design development, and final IFCs.
In December 2005, I moved back to Ireland and joined Linesight, formally Bruceshaw Partnership. This move enabled me to embody the full quantity surveying role, practice, and become an expert in pre and post contract cost management.
In September 2011, I left Interserve in Birmingham, England to take up the reigns for Linesight and represented Microsoft on their mission-critical projects in Virginia. This opportunity gave me the insight and experience in the industry sector that has shaped my current role with Soben North America.
I spent just over four years on the programme before joining Sonic Automotive in July 2015 as the Director of Preconstruction under the wing of Martin Walsh, Vice President of Facilities. This role and mentorship moulded my professional management and skill sets, working with stakeholders and teammates to become a leader.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Continue to take chances, challenge yourself, and always give 110%.