Justin Molé, PE, LEED AP, is US East Coast sciences sector leader, principal & regional discipline leader, MEP with Buro Happold in Boston, MA. Lab Manager recently spoke with Justin about his career, experience, and personal interests.
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: While a senior majoring in mechanical engineering at Union College (Schenectady, NY), a small liberal arts school with a very strong engineering program, I met John Swift (partner at Buro Happold) at a weekend alumni event, and he hired me right out of school. I have been working with him ever since then.
Q: What is a typical day at work like for you?
A: Lots of coordination and lots of communication. My day is mostly filled with team collaboration, checking in with clients, and the day-to-day tasks of managing projects through the design and construction phases.
Q: If you weren’t in this profession, what job do you think you’d be doing instead?
A: My dad had his own successful residential construction company in Boston, where I worked throughout high school and college. I always enjoyed doing the work. These days I am always looking for projects to do around the house. I often wonder what my life would be like if I chose to keep working for my dad, doing residential construction rather than commercial design engineering.
Q: What is the biggest work-related challenge you’ve faced? How did you overcome it?
A: Design-related issues that come up during late stages of construction are always our biggest challenge. We were working on a large lab project in Cambridge a few years ago—with four stair pressurization systems, two elevator pressurization systems, and two atrium smoke exhaust systems—we ran into balancing issues late in the project. We worked closely with the contractor, subs, and design teams to come up with solutions to the issues as quickly and as efficiently as possible. It helped that we had a very collaborative team atmosphere. In the end we got it all done, but it wasn’t easy.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: There are quite a few lab-plus-office projects of varying sizes. A large lab development at Volpe in Kendall Square (Cambridge, MA) is deep in the design phase right now, as well as developments in the neighboring towns of Watertown and Somerville, all core/shell lab buildings. The market remains pretty hot—we have a huge amount of square footage in design right now.