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Beyond The Drawing Board

Feb 22, 2019

DPR presents Beyond the Drawing Board. In this series of podcasts designed for our Design Management Academy, we bring to you conversations with Industry Thought Leaders to take a peek behind the curtain at the design process.


Our guest for this episode is Mike Medici, President and Managing Partner of SmithGroup, one of DPR Construction’s preferred design partners. Mike’s involvement in the industry began at an early age — his father was in the construction industry, and Mike grew up building things with his father. He was on track to become an engineer but after an internship he realized that he didn't want to do that, and pursued architecture instead. Several months after his graduation, he joined SmithGroup where he has been since, and has held a variety of different positions in the firm.


Mike and Greg discuss the growth and development of SmithGroup as a firm, as it expanded across regions into different parts of the country. Mike shares more about the firm’s relationship with DPR, and some of the positives and areas for improvement in their working relationship. He also sheds light on how the advancement of technology may have an impact on the AEC industry and what this could mean for firms putting teams together on projects.


This episode is brought to you by DPR Construction, with our host, Greg Mantz.


Key Takeaways:

[:46] Gregory introduces his guest for this episode — Mike Medici.

[1:44] Who is Mike and how did he get into architecture?

[4:19] Which of the three paths in architecture did Mike find himself going down — designing, technical skills, or project / client management?

[6:57] Greg and Mike discuss Detroit and some of the other design firms that were present in the area.

[8:32] What kind of project types was SmithGroup specializing in at the time when Mike first joined them?

[9:29] How did Mike's career progress from his time in Detroit?

[12:35] Mike shares more about SmithGroup as it stands currently.

[14:16] What has Mike's history with DPR been?

[17:43] Mike works with DPR's Phoenix office. He elaborates more on the working relationship between DPR and SmithGroup.

[19:39] What has Mike's experience been working with DPR as a contractor?

[22:05] What has gone well in working with DPR and what are some of the issues he has come across?

[26:52] A lot of success in working together comes down to relationships. How are these relationships being built between DPR and SmithGroup across different regions?

[29:15] SmithGroup has had great success with other contractors who are also competitors of DPR. What are some of the things they doing that DPR should be getting better at?

[32:19] How much is Mike seeing design and build projects across the country?

[33:32] How is the advancement of design and build delivery around the country changing how SmithGroup does business?

[34:47] How might things be different contractually between DPR and SmithGroup that puts them on the same level in the design and build environment?

[36:55] The advancement in technology is changing how projects are delivered. Greg and Mike discuss the use of VDC and BIM in their respective firms.

[40:59] How does Mike define design management?

[46:03] What could DPR be doing differently in terms of putting teams together and better integration?

[50:21] Greg shares some of the things that DPR would like to do more of with its design partners, moving forward.

[54:34] There has been a lot of talk about vertical integration in the AEC industry. What does Mike see as the trend for the industry in the next 5-15 year horizon?

[59:58] Mike elaborates more on SmithGroup's involvement in the aviation industry.



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Mike Medici