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Paul Camp

DNA of a VP of Construction

Paul Camp HeadshotAs Vice President of Operations, Paul is responsible for creating a vision and establishing direction for all aspects of operations within the company. Paul is also an integral part of recruiting, hiring, on-boarding, retention, developing, and mentoring Ridgemont personnel, ensuring successful and efficient projects for clients. Operational aspects of Paul’s role include the people, processes, procedures, tools and technology, all which support the company wide strategic plan.

Paul Camp
VP of Operations
Ridgemont Commercial Construction

Ridgemont LogoWas construction always your career path?

I always knew I wanted to do something construction related. I grew up on a cattle farm, so it was either farming or construction. While I still enjoy farming and ranching, construction was where I thought my skills would help me succeed in a career. I love seeing the finished products and building relationships throughout the industry. We have a slogan that rings very true to me, “Relationships, the most important thing we build”.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced along your career path and how did you overcome it? 

I have been fortunate to have had a fairly smooth and direct career path. Like most careers there are day-to-day challenges and tough projects along the way, but no major obstacles that stand out besides the recession. The recession was a challenge for everyone, and the only way to overcome it was to stay focused on the priorities of the company and our long range strategic plan. I have learned though challenges like the recession that it all comes down to planning and relationships in the end. If you can maintain and develop relationships through a downturn and you can retain your strategic plan, you will have the upper hand when the economy recovers. 

What technical skills do you think are integral to this role? 

One of the most important skill sets you can have in this role is the ability to manage people.  Understanding each person’s experience and expertise, providing positive motivation and giving them the opportunity to succeed is vital to this role.  

What attributes/characteristics do you believe are integral to the role? 

With an industry that is very a relationship driven, one of the most important characteristics you can have is knowing how to build and sustain strong relationships with both internal and external people. While not everyone is good at building relationships in the beginning, with mentoring and coaching anyone can become successful at this skill.

As an entry-level construction professional you should see everyone you meet as an opportunity to learn something new. I always remind the people I mentor to ask questions, present ideas, and encourage feedback. Then, once you get to a management role, you should be looking to build relationships with your peers, sub-contractors, senior managers, and executives. 

The end goal from all this networking is that once you become a VP or higher, you have an established network that you’ve been building since you started in the industry. These connections will get you future jobs, help you solve problems, and keep you informed about changes in the industry or in your city. 

In your opinion, how important is social media for networking/helping one achieve their career goals? 

I’m active on LinkedIn, which I think is the most important social media outlet for networking and hiring in a market short on talent. I feel social media outlets are great tools to educate yourself on the industry and key people in it. I have to stress however, you need to utilize social media as an added tool for relationship building, not as a replacement. From experience in networking on both sides of the spectrum, I have found that face-to-face interaction always results in better relationships. 

Compared to 5 or 10 years ago, in your opinion how would you say your role has evolved?

Technology has made the industry more efficient and I can’t imagine going back to the days without it. Because of its role in the industry, processes have been streamlined, managing projects has become more straightforward, and costs have been minimized. If you no longer need to oversee every step on paper, it gives you an opportunity to focus on making each stage of a project more efficient. I think this generation would be amazed at what it used to take to complete a project from start to finish. It’s important to remember though, the role of technology doesn’t mean that you work less; it means that you can work more efficiently, smart and strategic during a project. 

Is there anything that the next generation should know?

Be prepared to work hard, always be eager and willing to learn, and strive to earn your opportunity. 

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become a construction leader?

Finding a mentor is critical when starting out in the industry. There are so many construction leaders willing to support your career goals, guide you along the way, teach you how to avoid common mistakes, and help build your network; don’t try to forge a path by yourself. Hand-in-hand with that I would add that you need to always be open to feedback and constructive criticism; it’s what will drive you to constantly improve and excel. It is also important to remember that everyone makes mistakes and has areas for improvement. Getting defensive or ignoring good advice will only harm yourself and your career.