Bridge Building with Utilities

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By Alicia Di Marco, Marketing Coordinator, DPM Energy Inc.

Large infrastructure projects have many moving parts, pieces, personalities and players that make up the final change to the landscape of a City. DPM Energy Inc. is no stranger to these massive projects and all the components that make them up. As Utility Consulting Engineers, our job is to coordinate the crucial, but often unnoticed parts that make up these projects. Our primary role is to negotiate, and problem solve life-size jigsaw puzzles of aged infrastructure in often crowded, urban spaces.

Each new project or opportunity, whether it is updating existing infrastructure or starting from scratch, allows DPM the opportunity to bring together a group of dedicated individuals to create legacy projects that will benefit the community and visitors for years to come. However, building legacy projects, that benefit the community as well as revitalizing existing infrastructure, does not come easy. With many stakeholders in the mix, it takes more than technical skills to get projects completed on time, and within the budget, this is where relationship building with utilities begins to shine.

The foundation of any great relationship is trust. Many utilities have preferred vendors who have worked for many years to build this trust. DPM is one of these approved vendors. The approved designers are then entrusted to understand and follow the processes required to complete the work on behalf of the utility.

Trust plays into this process as large infrastructure projects are running on stringent timelines, with many parts being completed simultaneously. When DPM joins these projects, it is crucial that we provide accurate and reliable timelines and budgets that can reflect the reality of the utilities expectations and allow a project to be built. Although this sounds easy, the reality is that a realistic schedule is the biggest challenge when dealing with utilities.

We rely heavily on the trust we have built with utilities to ensure they understand that the end goal is something we all should strive to achieve. Teamwork ensures that everyone bands together to hit milestones, share information with other team members and complete the project on time. Given the complex nature of these projects, each specialty and their team are responsible for hitting their milestones as the rest of the team is dependent on them. When teamwork is fostered, everyone rallies together for the common goal.

Even with trust and a strong team established, bumps occur on the road. These are the times when the years building solid relationships with utilities bears fruit. We are able to resolve issues quickly in order to get the designs back on track. Though at times it can be frustrating and a delicate Balancing Act coordinating with so many bodies, our experience allows us to get the team to work together to stay focused on the end goal.

These projects require technical know-how as well as a positive attitude, both which DPM fosters as company core values. Collaboration is almost impossible whenever the involved parties look at project problems as a win-or-lose scenario. There always must be give and take, which could look like DPM working overtime to get the designs to the utility and then spending the extra time to walk them through the design to speed up the review process. When everyone works together to get a project done, it will leave a lasting impact not only on the new infrastructure but with the bridges built between the various stakeholders. DPM brings over a 100 years experience between our staff and countless projects, all which would not be possible without the crucial relationships we have built.

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