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Former DBIA Board Member Mark Shambaugh Remembers

Mark Shambaugh served on DBIA’s board of directors for six years and as board chairman in 2002. He serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Shambaugh & Son, L.P., a three-generation specialty design contractor now with sales of over $500M annually. He recently sat down with us to discuss some of his memories from being on DBIA’s board.

When you were Chairman of DBIA in 2002, what were the organization’s challenges?

Mark Shambaugh: The challenges I remember most clearly revolved around 9/11. I was about to take over as Board Chair when the attacks happened and everyone was just devastated. There was a worry that people would avoid our National Conference in November since it took place in Boston where the hijacked flights had originated. I think it was important for everyone to get together after that and continue to do everything we had planned. Every member of the Board got on a phone chain and called people encouraging them that it was safe to come to Boston, helping us achieve very strong attendance just weeks after the nation’s largest tragedy.

The collapse of the economy at this same time led to some financial challenges for many organizations. If I were to choose an individual accomplishment I’m proud of it’s that we were able to maintain local DBIA Chapters. The effects of the recession made us consider what kinds of sacrifices we would have to make and I argued to maintain the regional Chapters across the country because they are the grassroots of where design-build happens, making them critical to the success of DBIA. I’m happy we were able to work out a way to keep them afloat with continued financing until the economy improved.

What were the priorities and successes during your tenure?

Mark Shambaugh: Throughout my six years on DBIA’s Board of Directors, as well as my time as Chairman, we had numerous priorities. The most consequential being the launch of the DBIA Certification program. That program has grown steadily since its inception and now includes an Assoc. DBIATM certification as well. I’m happy to see that even some project solicitations are now asking for interested companies to have DBIA certified staff.

We also set a goal to increase student involvement. By training students in Design-Build Best Practices we can more easily expand design-build project delivery in the future. To address this goal, we developed and launched a standard college semester course in design-build. We then launched a National Design-Build Student Competition, which simulated a real bidding process for a design-build project. In Phase 1 of the competition students from DBIA’s Regional Chapters provide a broad, all-encompassing solution to a problem. After a jury “shortlists” three teams as the finalists based on qualifications, a Request for Proposals is issued and the three teams have one week to respond in full prior to the live final round. (See this year’s finalists)

Recognizing that we are an organization that serves and advises owners, we also increased owner involvement. As Chairman, I personally recruited three owners to the DBIA Board of Directors, including Frito Lay, General Electric and a private utility. This gave a record 40-percent owner representation to the Board to ensure owners’ voices were heard. The Process Industries Committee, started under Chairman Don Warren, also continued with three new owner forums across the country on Process Design-Build.

Another important accomplishment during my tenure was the publication of a specialty contractor’s white paper, summarizing the CII and other studies’ conclusions that Design-Build “Done Right” 90% of the time included early involvement of specialty contractors.

What do you see as DBIA’s strengths over the years?

Mark Shambaugh: DBIA has had many strengths over the years, including a track record of independent and innovative thinking; the development of Best Practices and sample contracts; and the focus on owner involvement. What’s rarely mentioned, perhaps, is that part of DBIA’s success is our consistent message on how to do design-build right and the resulting advantages delivered from the promise of design-build. I think that message has grown in its reach through the certification program as well since there are more than 2,000 DBIA certified professionals now who are trained in design-build best practices. I have always been proud to be a part of DBIA and I look forward to the next 20 years of success.


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