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Hill Business Development Manager Todd Duncan Brings an Owner’s Perspective to the Northern Ohio Team

Hill International Business Development Manager Todd Duncan joined Hill’s Northern Ohio sales team this spring with a with an owner’s perspective. “I worked for University Hospitals of Cleveland for nearly nine years,” says Duncan. “I started as a maintenance tech out of the Ohio State University, and eventually worked my way up to Director of Facility Services at Geauga Medical Center. It’s a background that helps me understand the challenges healthcare clients are facing in the region.”

While with University Hospitals, Duncan was responsible for day-to-day maintenance of entire properties, responding to call center inquiries and overseeing 24-7 on-call coverage for maintenance and repair issues, including for trauma centers. He also managed plant and equipment issues, compiled maintenance data, and oversaw procurement and inventory.

“I saw firsthand the results of the ‘ready-fire-aim’ approach to project management, and how much pressure healthcare owners are under to execute their projects on-time and within budget, especially given the size and scope of the construction programs underway now in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania,” Duncan says, noting the pipeline of more than $1.5 billion in University Hospital and MetroHealth programs and projects alone. “Combine that pressure with the brain drain of ongoing retirements and the demographic changes in this market and you can see why so many healthcare clients need PM/CM help.”

Although Duncan’s background is decidedly healthcare-centric, he also brings business development expertise to Hill, working for a major air filter supplier on growing their business in Northern Ohio for nearly five years. “I was working with air filtration technology when COVID-19 hit,” says Duncan. “So, I saw from the outside what suppliers can do for their clients.”

For example, Duncan explains, with the pandemic raging, indoor air quality was the top priority, and the constantly evolving market meant both suppliers and owners had to work to keep up. “NOHSE [the Northern Ohio Society for Healthcare Engineering] and ASHE [the American Society for Healthcare Engineering] both drive healthcare design for these facilities,” Duncan says, “and they do an outstanding job in giving guidance, especially during the pandemic. The suppliers’ job and owners’ job was to keep up.”

Today, Duncan is applying his experience and expertise to help healthcare clients learn what Hill’s project and construction management support can do to help them realize their projects successfully. “The ideal for many of these owners is turnkey delivery—the project is handed over on-time and within budget and everything works as planned,” he says. “Theoretically, the risk is on the contracting team. However, when you take into account value engineering changes, automation that might not be quite as automated as hoped, and the realities of the continuing decentralization of services and facilities, you see how turnkey delivery isn’t quite that simple.”

This is just one of the areas, says Duncan, where Hill can help: “Hill’s project managers understand the pain points our healthcare clients are up against. And we can do a lot for them, from integrating with their own management staff to checking estimates to overseeing and inspecting work on site. It’s the kind of help I wish I’d had when I started my career.”

With healthcare construction booming in Northern Ohio and throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, Duncan expects to have plenty of work for the foreseeable future. “Advances in medical technologies, the long-term impacts of COVID-19, and the realities of an aging population are all transformative shifts in this market,” he says. “Hill is already helping our healthcare clients adapt to and thrive in these circumstances, and I just need to make sure everyone knows what we can do to make their projects a success.”

Hill Vice President and Eastern Region Sales Manager Mark Welling, PE, brought Duncan aboard specifically for his insights into what healthcare owners need to manage their projects and their facilities for the long-term. “Todd has lived the entire project process with University Hospitals,” says Welling. “He has first-hand knowledge of what our clients require from a PM/CM provider, and we’re looking forward to seeing that knowledge translate into more work for our healthcare teams.”