Written by Barry Waldman
Crescent Homes was founded by a fifth-generation home builder in 2009 and has been one of the fastest-growing companies in the state over the past eight years. Five times since 2013, it has been named to the SC Biz News’s Roaring 20s of 20 high-growth large companies in South Carolina.
Crescent has built homes in real estate developments throughout the Lowcountry, from Moncks Corner to Johns Island and Summerville to Hollywood.
The residential home builder now employs nearly 100 people in a variety of specialties that you might not ordinarily associate with a home builder. These include land developers and managers, purchasers, estimators, CAD operators, sales agents, marketing coordinators, and more. They also sub-contract with a variety of trades that represent hundreds of people.
How does a company building dozens of homes simultaneously in multiple communities keep track of the shifting web of customers, vendors, permitting authorities, employees, and processes? The answer is the category of team members most in demand.
Unyielding Demand for Project Managers
By far and away, the people Crescent Homes most rely on to keep all the work flowing are project managers. They need construction project managers, purchasing project managers, estimating project managers, and so on. They even employ area construction managers who manage the project managers.
And it’s not just Crescent Homes. Every construction company, whether commercial, industrial or residential, employs project managers to ensure quality every step of the way. Engineering firms, financial services companies, healthcare institutions, IT, and legal – all need project managers.
When Flexjobs assembled its list of companies hiring the most project managers, it read like a who’s who of American business: Amazon, Hubspot, Oracle, Robert Half International, and others.
The Citadel’s MS in Project Management
With the booming automotive, healthcare, and aviation sectors in the Lowcountry, it’s critical to have a supply of technically trained project managers in the pipeline annually. That is the work of The Citadel’s master’s degree program in project management, which boasts a Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam pass rate above 95%. Applications for the 10-course program for the Spring ’22 semester are due December 1.
Upon completion, graduates of The Citadel’s MSPM have acquired the knowledge and skills to:
- manage different aspects of technical projects
- apply problem-solving skills in assignments that model the project environment
- transfer learned tools and techniques to the workplace
- integrate knowledge and performance competencies
- apply leadership and management skills that will facilitate career advancement.
Using Project Management in Home Building
Matthew Milone has a good deal of insight and experience applying project management skills to the home construction industry. An Air Force veteran, a 2019 graduate of The Citadel’s master of science in project management, and a 2021 graduate of its MBA program, Milone now serves as forward planning manager at Lennar Homes, the nation’s largest homebuilder with 12 communities in the Charleston area.
Milone says he employs skills learned in the project management program daily. The big four, according to him, are:
- Communication – with customers, co-workers and especially with sub-contractors for a smooth workflow
- Scheduling – either making or managing schedules
- Attention to detail – “this is ultra-important. You have to continually inspect the homes as they are being built. The customer will care about every detail, so you must be very detail oriented,” he said.
- Quality assurance – reading plans and schematics, knowing what to look for, and understanding critical paths are all critical, he said. A critical path determines the order of independent elements; for example, framing must be done correctly for quality drywall installation and taping must be high quality or the paint job will look shoddy.
The Citadel also taught Milone leadership skills that are particularly important in enticing cooperation by those not within the chain of command. In-home building, that would be sub-contractors like electricians and plumbers whose adherence to the schedule and project plan are crucial.
Milone says job opportunities were plentiful for him and his classmates upon graduation, and the demand is only growing. “I have the opportunity to be a part of so many cool, unique projects now,” he said.