November 18, 2021
We are highlighting the unique relationships we share in our global community of seasoned professionals. The strength of Epstein lies in the wealth of experience shared with each other to better equip our workforce with knowledge and confidence.
From building great professional relationships to long-lasting friendships, these stories speak for themselves. This month, the spotlight is on Jerry Albom and Jin Xing from our Chicago DesignBuild department.
Jerry is the preconstruction manager of our DesignBuild group. Essentially, his role is a bridge between design and construction, including estimating project costs from early conceptual design through detail estimates while construction solicits pricing from subcontractors. His group also looks at market conditions, material availability, construction methods, and preliminary construction schedules.
Jerry began his career in Saint Louis and was transferred to Chicago to construct two elementary schools in Arlington Heights. He has been involved in all aspects of the construction industry working on projects ranging from a few thousand dollars to those over one hundred million.
Jerry graduated with a Master’s in construction management as well as a Bachelor’s of Science in civil engineering from Washington University in Saint Louis.
Jin works in our DesignBuild group as a cost estimator. Jin works with Jerry in developing cost estimates for projects in a wide variety of market sectors including food processing facilities, cultivation plants as well as commercial developments.
Jin received his BS in civil engineering – structural design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He proceeded to obtain his Master's in civil engineering – construction management from UIUC, as well.
Prior to joining Epstein, Jin worked for Bowa Construction, McHugh Construction and Kiewit Infrastructure, serving as a project engineer and estimator.
What did you gain from being a mentor to Jin?
Jerry: Prior to being at Epstein, I developed a program that models building costs. This program is geared toward housing, but I am determined to use the concepts to modify the program for use in Epstein’s work. We have spent a great deal of time setting standards, building the model and now working on improving the accuracy both in cost and presentation. Jin has done an excellent job building a new model. I have watched Jin begin to take charge of his work, making decisions and taking more responsibility. Patience has been important as well as looking at problems from different perspectives to find the best solution. I hope my management style has played a role in Jin’s development.
What is the biggest takeaway for you from this relationship?
Jin: Estimating work often requires solving a large amount of known and unknown numbers. With decades of experience in the industry, Jerry gives critical directions to go towards or the range of values to look for. This really steers our pricing to the correct direction and allows us to avoid risks as much as we can.
Can you share a project you worked on together?
Jerry: We work together on almost every project in the DesignBuild group. A large part of our time is spent with the various Jushi projects.
Jin: We have been putting together a good amount of estimates for the Jushi projects. Jushi is relatively a newer client to us, so the pricing work gives us some challenges at first. We specially tailor our estimating models to fit in the cannabis growing facilities.
In your opinion, how can mentors build a strong relationship with their mentee?
Jerry: You need to be able to communicate your knowledge through experience and also be patient. Mentors need to inspire and create a positive environment.
What are some goals Jerry has helped you achieve in his role as your mentor?
Jin: In my first 5 months at Epstein, I really wanted to make my work results well-suited to the company’s process and needs. I wanted to make sure the estimates I worked on would be helpful to the other teams in the company as much as possible. This goal requires a good advisor to lead the way; I feel I’m achieving that goal in part because of Jerry.
What is your favorite part about being a mentor and how would you best describe your mentoring style?
Jerry: I feel any mentor needs to set a good professional decorum as well as inspire the people around you. Hopefully these two things will create an environment where people like their job and wake up in the morning wanting to come to work.
What are your secrets for a successful mentor/mentee relationship?
Jerry: Be open to new ideas and make yourself available.
Jin: The mentee can work harder so that the mentor’s life is made easier.
Something I appreciate about my mentee...
Jerry: As Jin is gaining experience, I can rely on him more and know his work is going to meet our standards.
Something I appreciate about my mentor...
Jin: I find some of Jerry’s jokes funny.
What best describes Jin?
Jerry: Jin is methodical in his work.
A little known fact about Jerry...
Jin: Jerry is a gardener and harvester. He spends a lot of time in his backyard.