Meet the Design-Build Expert: Victoria Buker
Those who love their job can often pinpoint a specific memory that led them down their career path. For Victoria Buker, it was a high school band trip to Switzerland.
“It was the first time I had seen different ways for people to use the land,” Victoria said, citing the Swiss farming interchange circles as an example. “It got me interested in the earth.”
She traded in her flute and piccolo for a drafter’s pencil and pursued landscape architecture. Fast forward 30 years and Victoria has touched nearly every aspect of the industry — as a landscape architect, designer, capital projects manager, developer, and now contractor, hired to help lead Sellen’s design-build projects.
Her multi-faceted industry experience, business acumen and proactive management style make her a perfect candidate for the job, and it’s clear that she loves it.
“When I look back on my career it’s been consistent. No matter what my title is, I’ve always enjoyed what I do, and what I do is create places for people to work and thrive in,” Victoria said. “The fun part is solving problems with creativity, with people who are fun and who have similar goals.”
Q&A with Victoria
How would you describe Sellen’s progressive design-build delivery?
At a high level, it’s making sure the client is involved and not having a “one model fits all” attitude. In the traditional sense of design-build, the owner didn’t have control; they were essentially in a black box separated from the project team. We want to get away from that. With each client it’s going to be a little bit different, but we’re always going to come to the table with a focus on customer service to ensure they get the full benefits out of the process.
What are the benefits of design-build?
We focus on eliminating waste from the design and construction processes, and the high integration found in design-build helps that goal. Design-build also leads to better problem solving. Why wouldn’t you have the experts of how to build talking to the experts of what they want built and both of them figuring out the most effective way to do that? What you get is more value.
What do you think is key to a successful project?
At the very beginning you’re setting goals and using a lot of lean processes to reach those goals. It all comes down to finding out what the client cares about. How can we make their facility support their corporate culture? If we can determine that at the beginning and maintain that focus it will be a successful project.