mark penny

What is the most exciting thing about working in this business? What is your professional passion?
Small or large, buildings shape communities, and I enjoy seeing the building process and the end results that are shared with the community. My favorite projects have been the ones where I was part of the process from the very beginning, saw the vision for the project take shape in everyone’s minds, helped to develop that dream, and then was a part of delivering that dream. The ultimate satisfaction is driving by a project we built and being able to tell my kids I was part of making it happen.  

What do you love to do when you aren’t at work? What is your personal passion and why?
Work-life balance can be very hard to obtain in this industry. When I’m not working, I enjoy outside activities with my wife and kids. Our family likes a little bit of everything—from mountains to beaches and all activities in between. Even our vacations are full of adventure. The best stories we have are when things don’t go exactly the way we planned, like unexpected rainstorms or bears in the backyard.   

Who is/was your favorite person you ever worked with and why?
I was once on a team with an owner’s representative who had a unique approach to guiding the team. By mixing detailed organization and a little humor, through props like rubber chickens, he was able to keep the mood light while tackling a high-profile, complex project. Despite the significance of his position, he made everyone feel equally important to the success of the undertaking.  At the end of the job, the entire team looked forward to the next opportunity to work together.  

What innovation have you seen in the construction industry that has made the most impact? Where do you see the opportunity for further innovation?
The increased use of modular construction is making a tremendous impact. And it is about time! With the limited availability of labor, the safety risks to the workers on a site, and the need to reduce waste in our industry, being able to fabricate sections of a building in a factory-type setting allows the industry to not only continue to grow, but also benefit those who build.  

What sport did you play and how did it help you professionally?
I have always been active and my favorite activity has always been cycling. The freedom it provided when I was young, and the ability to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life now, is refreshing. I prefer mountain biking, which in a lot of ways reflects life: there are always obstacles to overcome and to keep going, you have to push through.

What book has helped you most in your career?
I have always enjoyed reading, particularly about leadership and various opinions about approaches to leadership and business in general. I particularly enjoy how Simon Sinek breaks down those approaches and his focus on building teams that are inspired to succeed. I certainly enjoy being inspired by those around me and I aim to inspire others through how I lead.