In an environment mired by claims, conflicts, and delays, construction projects can leave stakeholders grasping for air.
On one of the Florida Keys’ famous sun-soaked mornings, Jacki Hart offered a breath of fresh air to then CEO of the Keys Chamber of Commerce. Hart was managing the expansive North Roosevelt Blvd project, and maintaining business access along the critical roadway was a hot topic. Hart and Virginia Panico walked North Roosevelt Blvd step-by-step, considering the changes that could be made to the MOT phasing to help accommodate the businesses and the City.
“I cannot begin to count the number of times we discussed specifics for an individual business, met with the principles one-on-one and walked the boulevard together,” said Virginia Panico, the former CEO of the Key West Chamber of Commerce. “Ms. Hart and her team live and work in the Florida Keys and personally know the issues that cause concern with the residents and businesses in our area.”
Close collaboration comes naturally to Hart. As RS&H’s CEI Senior Project Engineer in the Marathon, Florida, office, she offers a unique blend of soft skills with technical knowledge that have left her clients happy for more than 30 years.
A Renaissance Woman
While studying civil engineering at the University of Florida, Hart enrolled in a co-op with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and underwent training in personal development and leadership, while simultaneously earning her degree in civil engineering. She is a well-traveled daughter of an Air Force Pilot whose chameleon-like ability to adapt and penchant for the outdoors uniquely suits her for managing projects in the Keys’ lively environment.
“She always knows what tools to use in her toolbox when dealing with every person and situation she is involved in,” said Susan Lake, Vice President of business development in RS&H’s Southeast construction management group. “It is her empathy and passion that drive this ability.”
And her empathy and passion are matched by her extensive technical experience. Her early career included structural assessments after Hurricane Andrew, managing a team of more than 30. She also has experience in all aspects of construction, from high-rise construction, to geotechnical, to roadway and bridges.
Leading a Successful Team
Hart leads a group of seven associates in the Florida Keys from mile marker 0 to 126. To ensure her team stays connected and shares the same customer-centric mentality, Hart regularly brings her team together for ice breakers, lunch, or team-building exercises.
This is incredibly important in the Keys’ atmosphere where the team is often interacting while on the job with active and curious residents and tourists.
When Hart and the team were providing CEI services for the critical High-Intensity Activated CrossWalk (HAWK) project in Key West, the team – including her right-hand man and project administrator Jackson Taylor – made a concerted effort to inform the many passersby of the purpose of the project.
“There were a lot of concerns about installing these new structures,” said Taylor, “both in how it would look and affect traffic. so informing the public of the benefits was important.”
Supporting the Community
Hart and her team members are residents and active members of their Keys’ communities. Most of their time not in the field or office is spent – often together - embracing the lifestyle and supporting local causes.
One of Hart’s favorite events is the annual Master Chef Classic, a culinary competition where the funds raised go to the Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens (MARC). The MARC is a non-profit agency that serves adult clients within Monroe County who have developmental disabilities.
Those who have met Hart say her lessons in compassion have changed them for the better, as people and professionals. In fact, when thinking back to their extensive work together, Virginia Panico reflected, “Anyone who I have spoken with throughout the years has the utmost respect for Ms. Hart and her team’s work ethic and professionalism.”
Learn more about RS&H’s CEI services and how Jacki can help you on your next project.