5 questions w Eric Sanders

Eric Sanders is based in CMT’s Jacksonville, FL, office and serves in a role with diverse responsibilities ranging from project management to construction inspection, to IT assistance, to office administration. He brings to CMT clients more than 30 years of project oversight and management experience, with expertise in facilitating stakeholder collaboration, reading and interpreting plan sets, and ensuring adherence to specifications. Eric’s professional experience includes 24 years of active-duty service in the U.S. Air Force. He holds an associate degree in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force, located at Maxwell Air Force Base, where he also received certification as a Professional Manager (PMC).

What is a typical day in the field like for you?

A typical day in the field starts with arriving at my work site and talking with the superintendent and crew to get the day’s schedule. Next is walking the site to see work completed since my last visit, inspecting stormwater pollution prevention program (SWPPP) measures, and evaluating the overall safety and appearance of the site. The day also includes documenting my findings on the daily inspection worksheet and taking pictures.

What was your experience in the United States Air Force like, and how does that experience inform your work today?

Serving in the Air Force during my 24-year career gave me the training, experience, confidence, and ability to do what I am doing today. Even though I served in the medical corps as a physical therapy assistant, athletic trainer, and EMT as my primary duties, it required me to be a manager very early. Thankfully, I had mentors in every facet along the way to help guide me and teach me how to be a leader instead of just a boss. Each military leadership course I had the opportunity to attend or complete gave me the baseline to grow as a person, follower, and leader. As my career and rank progressed, the military gave me more responsibilities, personnel, and management opportunities that allowed me to continue to learn every day.

The project management, inspection, IT assistance, and office admin work that I am now responsible for is all supported by my experience and development from my military career. From supporting office operations to completing project inspection work for our clients today, I apply everything I developed and was given the opportunity to do while in the Air Force to my new career here at CMT.

What is your approach to process improvement?

I have been around PI since I was a young Airman. It was introduced to me as TQM (Total Quality Management) back in the early ‘90s, followed by PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act), CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement), and PI at my last assignment. We were trained to always make our processes as good and useful as possible, and customer service was also extremely important to everything I did every day in my clinics.  

I will always look at processes that we use and ask how I can help to make them better. Being our Lessons Learned champion here at the office has let me continue to help develop those processes and attain the goals of CMT.

What kind of work do you find most fulfilling, and why?

I really enjoy my site-inspection time. It allows me to be outside. It also gives me a great sense of accomplishment when a project is completed for our clients – they can see the outcome and are completely elated with the work. I have been able to work with construction-type equipment throughout my life before and even during my military career, and it is just fun to be out on sites and see the work being completed.

What new professional skills are you most excited to work on developing in the future, and why?

My first goal this year is to work on my FAA Part 107 license so that our office can get a drone and offer the service to our clients. I have flown friends’ drones in the past and have always thought it was amazing what they could do. Being able to see site work and progress from a drone’s perspective is just intriguing to me.

I have actually had the opportunity to fly in an F-16 while I was stationed in South Korea and in several Blackhawk helicopters during my career. The F-16 was by far the most thrilling and unbelievable thing I was able to do, but the Blackhawk flights were always the most fun. Being able to see everything from that perspective gives you a better awareness of the areas most common to you in everyday life. I feel the same way about doing drone work.