Tribal Member Profile: Renovation Station — Kevin Rackard
Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority is in full-swing mode when it comes to construction management projects. The finished products are usually what people remember, but it’s the behind-the-scenes work and planning that make it all happen.
Although these efforts are accomplished by many people, to the general public it seems almost like only a few people are onsite to build or remodel a structure. However, projects of all sizes have levels of management and supervision, and those people are planning, brainstorming, reworking changes and have hands-on oversight of the entire task.
The CIEDA construction management crew has been busy with an array of projects within the holdings of the Tribe. Internal clients include Tribal government, gaming and CIEDA. To date, eight to 10 construction activities are either ongoing or have been completed under Project Manager Kevin Rackard. Rackard is a Tribal member with 17 years’ experience in construction management.
Projects currently under Rackard’s supervision include the completed cultural kiosk display at Wind Creek Atmore (WCA), the ongoing remodels of the Fire Steakhouse, Grill and Center Bar at WCA, the completed installation of 2,058 fixed seating at the WCA amphitheater as well as the ongoing installation of automatic entrances at WCA and more.
"The best analogy for how these things work is likened to a football game," Rackard said. "I am like a quarterback, who strategizes and leads the team. Project Controls Manager Jim Angus is like the head coach, who gives direction and calls plays but allows his team to participate in the decision-making process, too."
Rackard said a project typically begins by assessing all of the duties needed for success.
"This process can be very extensive," he said. "It begins with the programming — identifying the client’s needs, budgeting and allocating necessary funds, securing and researching land ownership, devising a timeline of completion, etc."
Next comes the design development phase, where the team captures the overall idea of the project and develops the concept, evaluates proposals, awards a firm the contract, communicates with architects and a multitude of other fine-tuning efforts. Then comes the bidding phase of the project to contractors and determining requirements for either a Tribal Set-Aside or a competitive bid in the outside market.
After months of work, the construction finally begins, but the behind-the-scenes work is not done.
"Once the project breaks ground, there still are many changes and updates that happen," Rackard said. "The client might change his mind and add to or subtract from the project. My job is to facilitate meetings and change estimates, crunch numbers and get the best quotes for the client to stay on schedule within the given budget restraints." All of this can take months or even years, depending on the size and scope of the project and the amount of changes being made.
Once the project is complete, the team begins the closeout process, which is like an overall checklist of making sure everything the client wanted was delivered and correct. There are also checklists over the duration of a project for which the manager is responsible, making sure everything is up to par.
"A ton of documents and paperwork is involved throughout the whole process," Rackard said. "There’s so much attention to detail that is required to provide the highest quality service to our clients."
Rackard also said his involvement does not stop even after a project is finished and his team moves on to the next project. He follows up on the warranty periods and coordinates repairs as needed. Plus, Rackard said he remains in contact with the client to assist with questions and requests regarding the completed project.
This showcases the CIEDA construction teams' dedication to providing excellence in service throughout the whole process.
"It's more than just a construction job," Rackard said. "The reward is the fact that I know our team had a small hand in helping build the Tribe’s assets."
So next time you see construction happening, remember there is way more going on than what meets the eye.
By Jen Peake
CIEDA Marketing Specialist