John Langdon, PE, is the director of operations in life science construction with Lendlease. After his promotion to the role in November last year, Lab Manager spoke to him about his typical work day, early career, and affinity for outdoor sports.
Q: How did you get started in your career? Did you major in your field in college, get an internship, switch careers mid-stream, etc.?
A: I majored in electrical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. As a young construction manager, I was often assigned to MEP-related projects. This led me to run projects that were heavy in critical infrastructure, including central plant, mission critical, GMP manufacturing and—particularly defining for my career—a substantial number of laboratories, the largest of which was the 400,000-square-foot Advanced Science Research Center for The City University of New York (CUNY) in Harlem.
Q: What lab projects are you working on at the moment?
A: We have several labs underway for major pharmaceutical companies in New Jersey. All have a typical theme of flexible layouts with mobile, modular casework. Contiguous to the labs are office and huddle rooms to promote collaboration.
Q: What’s your typical order when you visit a coffee shop?
A: Typically, house coffee, but a soy latte is sometimes a treat.
Q: What is one important skill you think that all lab design experts should have?
A: Lab designers should appreciate and carefully plan the amount of above-ceiling space. Early modeling of the air, exhaust and gas systems within the available ceiling cavity allows for proper flow and fit. BIM modeling is an effective tool, but this is often performed by the contractors. When conflicts arise, solutions can adversely affect the cost and schedule of the project.
Q: What kinds of hobbies or interests do you have outside of work?
A: Anything outdoors, including mountain biking, skiing, and riding jet skis.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years in this new position?
A: At Lendlease, I want to expand our client base in the greater New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania region and diversify our project types within the life science industry. I’m really looking forward to putting my experience and Lendlease’s expertise to work finding solutions to new challenges as the sector evolves.
Q: What is a typical day at work like for you?
A: In my current role, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Princeton regional office and life science sector. This means I am doing a little bit of everything from meeting and checking in with clients to supporting project teams with technical and commercial expertise to solving complex problems critical in delivering project success.