Sean Barnes has spent more than 37 years in construction, working on projects of varying complexity. However, he considers the ability to build meaningful relationships one of the most powerful tools in his belt.
Since becoming vice president of Special Projects in 2019, Sean has provided guidance to PCL’s Special Projects teams across North America. The teams work on highly specialized and challenging projects ranging from $10,000 to $15 million in the buildings, civil infrastructure and heavy industrial sectors.
In his current role, one of Sean’s biggest challenges is overcoming the perception that PCL is primarily a big project builder.
"Special Projects has been around since the 1920s when it was called ‘jobbing’, but people still don't think of PCL as a go-to contractor for their smaller projects," Sean says. So, he’s working to shift perceptions by spotlighting the specialized expertise of PCL’s Special Projects teams.
Special Projects offers clients the strength of PCL’s brand and resources, scaled for the efficient and cost-effective delivery of smaller-scale projects.
“Having access to more than 100 years of subtrade relationships sets our Special Projects Division apart from other contractors,” Sean says. “We work hard to maintain these relationships and provide clients with the best possible solutions to their problems using feedback from industry experts.”
Over the years, Sean’s seen project teams tackle an increasing number of highly specialized, smaller-scale projects, with some of their most notable work in mission-critical spaces like hospitals, data centers, airports and offices. Examples include retrofitting an operating theater only feet away from active surgeries and performing an external glazing replacement at an extreme height of 1,800 feet.
“What I love most about Special Projects is our efficiency. We mobilize quickly to deliver highly complex scopes of work in fully operational environments without any disruption to our clients. Because of our smaller operation, we can be surgical in our precision and, more importantly, stay laser-focused on client needs.”
Sean loves showcasing the expertise of PCL’s Special Projects teams across North America. He also coaches and mentors future division leaders. His goal is to grow the division by delivering high-quality projects on time and within budget. Because the division's market volume is expected to double over the next five to seven years, the future of Special Projects looks exceptionally bright.
"We are excited to show clients how our teams can rapidly deliver competitive value on their next small project,” Sean says. “While Special Projects are smaller in scale, they are incredibly vital and are delivered with attention to detail and big passion.”