September 20, 2023 | Articles
Hill’s San Francisco, CA, office recently welcomed Project Executive Steven Walker to support Hill’s healthcare clients throughout the state. Steven has more than 35 years in the construction industry, with 18 years of healthcare-specific experience. During his career, he has served in a variety of roles, including as a union contractor, as a project manager, and as a member of senior leadership teams at major healthcare organizations. “I look forward to showing our clients in California and around the U.S. that Hill is a true resource, capable of providing solutions in the current volatile atmosphere for healthcare facilities,” explains Walker.
Taking on Complex Challenges
Healthcare facilities represent a unique and complex typology in the construction industry. These facilities require project teams to strike a balance between the latest in medical technology, enough size to handle anticipated growth in surrounding communities, and building systems that can withstand the unexpected, all while protecting the patient experience. This balance becomes harder to strike when healthcare construction takes place as a part of a capital improvement program. Healthcare executives must make the most of tight budgets to construct world-class facilities and maintain their existing facilities across a portfolio of properties that can span multiple campuses.
In addition to this inherent complexity—as well as the lessons learned by the global healthcare industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—healthcare organizations in California are facing new challenges related to construction in pre-existing facilities. Walker explains: “The California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) is taking a more active role in the review of pre-existing conditions in buildings. It’s good that HCAI is working to protect patients and staff and ensure facilities are up to code, but this oversight can add a new layer to construction budgets in the short term. Owners will have to balance these constraints with the development of new treatment areas and services that meet the overall strategic plan of their facilities.” In other words, healthcare leadership will have to do more with already tight budgets to address conditions in existing facilities while renovating, adding new equipment, bringing aging spaces up to current design standards, and building new facilities.
Steven is confident Hill can help clients in California overcome such challenges. At Hill, Steven will work closely with project teams and healthcare clients to balance the needs of patients and staff, the requirements of HCAI, new COVID-19 requirements, and clients’ visions for world-class healthcare facilities.
Holistic Experience and Holistic Solutions
Early in his career, Steven worked as a journeyman carpenter and a superintendent. His background in the field gives him an exceptional awareness of quality control/quality assurance requirements, helps shape his staffing approach for inspection positions, and enables him to facilitate procurement and better manage relationships with contractors. This means Steven can help clients quickly compile shortlists of contractors capable of performing healthcare jobs correctly and efficiently and then maintain exceptional teaming performance with these partners throughout project lifecycles.
In addition to his experience in the field, Steven has worked in all levels of project management as an owner’s representative, including work on senior leadership teams at healthcare organizations. His direct leadership experience will help Steven organize the right teams and coordinate multiple workflows across major capital construction programs. His work on the owner’s side also ensures Steven understands owners’ perspectives and is able to align his teams’ priorities completely with those of Hill’s clients.
“I like to think of it as a bifocal approach,” says Steven. “At times, project executives need to get down to the nitty gritty of projects and assist our teams in the field with scheduling, estimating, and quality control, but we also work with clients to coordinate the bigger picture, promoting effective communication strategies and project controls across large programs.” Steven points out that COVID-19 and many HCAI policies have resulted in project-specific disruptions that can reverberate and compound throughout a healthcare organization’s entire portfolio. “In this atmosphere, the right management consultant should be able to add value at the project level, as well as across the overall program,” he adds.
Making Healthcare Happen
With his balanced approach, Steven will add value to healthcare programs, help ensure construction does not impact operations, and help organizations make the most of their budgets. “The benefits of well-executed healthcare projects are manifold, and they ultimately lead to better end-user experiences,” Steven says. “Efficient construction means more funding for other healthcare priorities such as staffing and high-quality equipment that benefits the doctors, nurses, patients, and administrators who live and work in these facilities every day.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Steven aboard,” adds Hill First Vice President, Northern California Operations Andy Kreck. “I know that our clients’ projects will benefit from his experience, and I’m confident his leadership skills will help our teams provide even better service for our healthcare clients in California.”
Welcome to Hill, Steven!
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