Hill International, Inc. is pleased to welcome Margaret (Peggy) A. Cowan to the firm as Senior Program Manager. Cowan joins Hill after a nearly 40-year career managing major healthcare, commercial, and other assignments for several industry-leading construction firms, and brings a proven track record in leading high-functioning teams, establishing viable budget and schedule goals, and achieving on-time, high-quality results for her clients.
“My goals for my clients and their projects are the same as they are for my teams,” says Cowan. “A strong team delivers a strong project for owners and end-users alike.” Cowan’s passion for leading management teams on high-profile, complex projects is evidenced by her work for several notable healthcare clients. For example, for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) new 7-story, 325,000 SF Inpatient Building and Expansion on CHOP’s King of Prussia, PA, campus, Cowan oversaw all construction and coordinated with multiple stakeholders, all while protecting the patient experience and making sure quality standards were achieved.
“Healthcare projects and programs are unique in several ways,” explains Cowan. “Especially when working on an active campus, as we were for CHOP, you have to be aware of and account for a myriad of factors. The impact of utility coordination, traffic access, and site security, just to name a few, are all exponentially magnified on healthcare projects. Having a team that understands the nuances of this kind of word is key to meeting project goals and fulfilling the hospital’s mission.”
Cowan’s expertise on hospital and healthcare construction was honed on several major projects across the Mid-Atlantic region, including the Penn State Hersey Medical Center Cancer Institute, the Virtua Voorhees Health and Wellness Center in New Jersey, Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania, and the Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in Pennsylvania. These projects included new laboratories, therapy and diagnostic suites, surgical centers and operating rooms, and pharmacy areas.
Cowan adds, “Pre-construction planning and rigorous tracking were the common factors on these projects and programs. Much of the work for any successful healthcare project happens before a designer puts pencil to paper or a single worker is on site. Value engineering, cost control, scheduling, and logistics and staging are critical in environments where healthcare professionals are providing care around the clock. Today, with the pandemic still among us, this attention to planning and pre-con isn’t just a best practice, it’s a must-have.”
In addition to her healthcare experience, Cowan has also helped to manage several major commercial and high-technology projects. For example, Cowan was instrumental in delivering the Comcast Technology Center in Center City, Philadelphia. For this 60-story, LEED Platinum certified, 1.8 million SF high-rise, Cowan managed core and shell construction, overseeing a staff of more than 20 subordinate managers and engineers. She also managed the phased re-stacking of more than 2 million SF in office space across 17 separate buildings for a confidential client, including extensive IT upgrades and the addition of a network of emergency generators.
“Managing work across multiple facilities requires a different kind of mindset,” says Cowan. “Yes, you are still driving cost, schedule, and quality goals, as you would on an individual project. But you have to be attuned to the program as whole. Are lessons learned and best practices being captured and disseminated? Is accurate and current information getting back to the client in time to support decision making? That’s the job of the Program Manager, whether for a corporate campus or for a hospital’s capital program.”
Cowan concludes her approach to program management dovetailed with Hill’s own healthcare work. “Hill is purely a program and project management firm,” explains Cowan. “For program delivery, this is exactly what you want—a team exclusively aligned with the owner’s interests and the program’s goals. Hill is supporting some enormous healthcare programs across the U.S., and I’m excited to join those teams and to help drive success for our clients.”
In addition to being a LEED Accredited Professional, Cowan is also ASHE certified and ICRA and OSHA trained. She holds a BE in Civil Engineering from Villanova University.