A Day in the Life of Jerry West, Director of Field Operations

Posted in Insights -

The work we do at OTL is truly extraordinary. Our team views the opportunity to design, build and maintain magnificent and awe-inspiring water features, artificial rockwork, and themed environments that attract tenants, guests and visitors as a gift. These projects not only make a measurable difference for our clients, but also allow us to utilize and develop our talents, skills and expertise in a tremendously rewarding way. 

In this new series, A Day in the Life, we interview one of our incredible team members. Our goal is to share with you their amazing contributions and to reveal what it’s really like to work at OTL. 

This month, we share A Day in the Life of OTL’s Director of Field Operations, Jerry West. Jerry joined OTL in May 2019. He is responsible for overseeing all projects from a field perspective including schedules, budgets, labor, material, quality control, safety, and staff engagement.  

What was one of your funniest moments working at OTL? 

Our golf outings are always so much fun. They bring in team members from all over the nation, and it really helps to build camaraderie. On one outing, Mike Eaglin, a former general superintendent who has since retired, let our Vice President of Administration Sarah Shores put lipstick on him. Being from Texas, when I saw the lipstick on Mike I took the opportunity to ask for a kiss, which he gave me—on the cheek. 

How has OTL’s CEO Wick Zimmerman fostered a positive work environment for you? 

Wick is one of the best people I’ve ever met, and I’m not just saying this because he’s my boss. He’s almost like a father figure in that you don’t want to disappoint him, and it pushes you to succeed. He makes you want to make him proud of you, and he brings out the drive in me.  

Wick has strong credentials and is a hard worker. He is the first one in to work and the last one out at the end of the day. He’s also very approachable and down-to-earth. The first time he came to a site to look at a project I had worked on, he found me and offered to buy me a drink. He’s a good guy, and his open-door policy is real, not just words. 

What’s an example of how you have grown at OTL? 

I have grown a lot on the financial side of the business. I was always the scheduling guy, working hard to beat my goals, but past companies where I have worked didn’t allow me to see the financials. Because you couldn’t see the labor reports, you couldn’t gauge your progress, so you went full-bridle all the time. At OTL, it’s completely different. I have access to all the information I need to make my team successful. I use that information every day and it has helped me grow tremendously. 

What happens if you make a mistake at the company? 

Mistakes aren’t necessarily a bad thing—you want to learn from them so you don’t make the same mistake twice. We all make small mistakes, but we have to learn how they happened and how to prevent them from happening again. Mistakes are growth opportunities. 

For example, we had a team member lay out a core (an underground hole that allows for a pipe to run through it) for an underground vault that was 7.25 inches off. Our team sat down and figured out a solution that was effective and cost efficient, while teaching the team member how to avoid that error in the future. The key is to correct situations when they are a puff of smoke, before they turn into a raging fire. I do this all day long. 

Please share a story about a recent interaction with a co-worker that made you smile. 

Tom Real, our Vice President of Engineering, makes me smile all the time. He’s got that dry sense of humor that makes me laugh, and he’s the funniest guy working at OTL. He texts me silly things, and half the time I don’t know if he’s serious or not. 

What was your favorite project to work on at OTL and why? 

Texas Live! was my favorite project because of the time challenge. From groundbreaking to cutting the tape on the finished project was 70 days—that was very fast! Working on Texas Live built the reputation I have with Wick and the rest of the company.