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Creating a High-Trust Owner’s Team

Hey Construction Nation!

All of you have seen what a dramatic impact the pandemic had on airports all over the U.S. and world. This week I had a chance to interview Judy Ross, the Assistant Director of Aviation for the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. She and her team weathered the challenges and are now getting ready for a significant Master Plan Program. They started their CEQUA documents three years before COVID shut things down. Then they used the down time during COVID to plan and wait for passenger recovery. Now in 2022 several projects are ready to get going.

In the episode, Judy explains about Collaborative Partnering and how it works. Collaborative Partnering is a model from the International Partnering Institute. She feels she gets a good ROI for her efforts. IPI’s research shows that you save ~ $100 for every dollar you spend on partnering.

Judy finds that by using Collaborative Partnering “cradle to grave,” it allows her people to build strong relationships and trust, so everyone looks out for the good of the project.

Reinforcing a high-trust culture is an ongoing effort because there is always turnover. She wants her people to be able to take advantage of opportunities and growth. As a leader she is there for the team, to help them walk through the issues so they can answer their own questions.

As a leader she said it is also important to work on yourself. She reads, listens to podcasts, and asks peers questions. She feels she always needs to be learning and growing as a leader. Judy is  the Past President of the Southwest American Association of Airport Executives. So, she leads in her industry too, and this keeps her on top of trends and gives her access to other leaders to learn from them.

Judy talks about how sometimes people aren’t a “fit” for a specific team and that’s okay. Some people have different values or needs. It’s okay to move them to where they can be a fit and thrive. It is also okay to mentor them and help them learn. Mentoring can also happen by people on the team. Seasoned team member can help new young professionals.

If you are interested in learning more about Judy Ross and San Jose International Airport’s Master Plan Program, listen to episode 50 of the Lead with Trust Podcast, Creating a High-Trust Owner’s Team.  If you want to contact Judy, just email her at [email protected], or call (408) 392-3620.

Well, Construction Nation, isn’t it great to learn from other leaders? It is so wonderful to get to know about Judy’s program, her leadership style, and to get some of her great advice.

Until next week, 

P.S.  Curious how you can improve your project’s chance at success?



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