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Engineering the Details: Mary Bonsack

Major construction programs come with layers of complexity. Many stakeholders, contractors, subcontractors, construction workers, and consultants might work on several different projects in claustrophobic proximity. But through all the cacophonous chaos of construction, project managers must be able to clearly see the scope of the project and execute all necessary work safely, on time, and within budget. Enter the project coordinator. These talented support professionals provide project managers with the attention to detail necessary to deliver projects successfully.

One such professional is Hill International’s Mary Bonsack, a senior project coordinator currently working on a project at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona. Amidst the hustle of a $2 billion capital improvement program and the bustle of 44 million annual passengers, her support allows the multifarious work going on for the airport to thrive.

“My role on the team is really hard to define,” Mary says. “It’s very flexible. I touch on a plethora of things daily. I help arrange contracts with subcontractors; I deal with insurance, performance and payment bonds, payment applications, and various other documents; I frequently coordinate information between stakeholders, subconsultants, and the project team. Ultimately, I support the project managers and other people on the job in any way they need me.” Her expansive role also includes attending and participating in meetings, accounting, onboarding staff, managing lien documents, and assisting in the preparation of monthly project reports, among other things. Mary’s ability to attend to the finer details of her divergent work allows the pieces of project management to fall smoothly into place.

But smoothly completing a construction endeavor at a massive airport has its challenges. “Challenges are inherent to the job,” Mary says. “They come up, the team meets, and we figure out the best way to move forward.” A large challenge at Sky Harbor continues to be properly addressing the needs of the public and the tenants of the airport. “Of course, it’s really important for us to provide for the safety of everyone in the airport. We do this in a variety of ways,” Mary says. “But traveling is hectic, so it’s also extremely important for us to help people understand what we’re doing and how they can get on with their traveling plans quickly.”

Much of a project coordinator’s work relates to document control and coordination, but detailed technical knowledge of the construction industry is also important for a role so all-encompassing. Mary has picked up a great deal of domain awareness while working for nearly 25 years in construction management. This awareness allows for ease of communication with stakeholders and project managers, facilitated document completion, and a sense of what needs to get done on her projects.

As Mary described her team’s current project at the airport, her industry experience was evident: “As representatives for the City of Phoenix Aviation Department, we’re currently working on Stage 2 of the PHX Sky Train® project at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s an automated transit system that taxies people from terminal to terminal. Starting at the nearby 44th Street Station, the PHX Sky Train® continues through the airport, and, upon completion of the Stage 2 extension, will end at the airport’s Rental Car Center. This is actually the first people mover in the world to cross over an active taxiway! A plane as large as a Boeing 747 can pass under the train’s guideway since it is built several stories above ground.” Along with a professional from Red Brick Consulting and several subcontractors, two Hill professionals, including Mary, support this complex people-mover project.

Mary is hardly intimidated, though. In fact, one of the many things Mary likes about Hill International is the size of the teams. “I love knowing everyone on my job. And even across the offices, I always see names and hear about projects that I’ve become familiar with. It’s been aweing to watch growth happen on the personal level and project level all the time.”

Mary is also impressed by the sheer amount of work that a comparatively small organization can get done. “Hill’s professionals get incredible jobs all over the world and they’re able to execute them so magnificently.” And in Phoenix, Mary is certainly one of those incredible professionals.

The world of project management is a web. Many lives are touched by construction projects and the work of many people contribute to those projects. At Hill International, we understand that none of our work around the world could be completed without our dedicated support staff. Professionals of all sorts are invited to find their place on one of our teams, today! Visit for more information.