You want adventure? You crave intrigue? Try out a professional career in construction, suggests Joseph Reeves, a project manager with Joseph A. Natoli Construction in Pine Brook. Joseph, 50, uses those words and more to describe his own career in construction management. "You will not get bored easily on this job," promises Joseph, a native of Liberia who came to the U.S. in 1974. "No two days are ever the same. You come in today and you have to solve a problem with one of your subcontractors. You come in the next day and you have a water main break. The following day you have a gas main break. Every day is a different issue and it keeps you on your toes. You have to be alert and know what you're doing."
Joseph has viewed his construction career from two perspectives: design and build. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in architecture. But after a few years working in the field he decided he wanted to become more hands-on. "Once I got the hang of putting abstract ideas on paper, I wanted to see everything come together," explains Joseph. "People put the design on paper and most of the time it doesn't work. They don't realize some of the problems a contractor encounters when he is out in the field." Joseph longed to solve those problems first-hand. He enrolled in the construction-management program at NJIT in 1998, where he studied everything from construction procedure, scheduling and estimating to surveying, and graduated with a construction-management degree in 2001. Soon after, he joined the staff of Joseph A. Natoli.
He spends most of his days of late on the job site of a new elementary school in Orange, where he schedules different aspects of the construction and makes sure everything falls into place. Joseph hopes to become a full-fledged project manager and run his own construction project. "It's a problem-solving career," he says. "People see a beautiful building, but they don't know what has gone into building it--what the architect, the contractor, the engineer, the laborer have to go through. All of these people come together to make that happen."
"Every day is a different issue and it keeps you on your toes...It's a problem-solving career."