Planes, Trains and Automobiles

One of my all-time favorite movies is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It cracks me up every time I watch it. For those of you that may not know the story line, here it is; the movie starts two days before Thanksgiving with Neal Page (Steve Martin), a marketing executive, leaving a business meeting in New York City and heading to the airport to fly home to Chicago. He was on a mission to get home to his family for Thanksgiving. As fate would have it, O’Hare was shut down due to a blizzard and his flight was diverted to Wichita.  There is where Neal gets connected to another stranded traveler, Del Griffith (John Candy), a shower curtain ring salesman, and the adventures of getting home by plane, train and automobile begin. Each “traveling” method they used presented its own set of challenges. They did get home in time for Thanksgiving dinner but not before a lot of diversions, complications and “speed bumps”.

Just like Neal and Del experienced, there are always multiple ways to accomplish your next project; some are just more efficient than others. Before you take off on your “project trip”, consider the type of vehicle (project delivery method) that will get you there in the most efficient manner. Here are three common project delivery methods available to you…


  • Owner hires Architect/Engineer to prepare drawings & specifications.
  • General Contractors competitively bid the project from the completed documents.
  • Selection of contractor to do the work is generally based on cost or schedule.

Construction Management

  • Owner hires A/E to prepare phased documents and CM to manage the construction.
  • Trade-contractors bid or negotiate the work of their trade.
  • Selection of trade-contractor to do the work is based on cost or schedule.


  • Owner hires a team consisting of the Architect/Engineer/ Contractor.
  • The team controls scope, quality, schedule, and budget throughout the project.
  • Trade-contractors bid or negotiate the work of their specific trade.

We would be glad to help you decide which delivery method is best for you and your project; give us a call. Whichever method you chose, you can only hope you will have as much fun getting there as Neal and Del did.

Tis the Season…

The Christmas Season, this is one of my favorite times of the year, but I must admit the one thing that I have never been crazy about (I don’t want a bunch of emails from the winter sports fanatics out there) is snow. My wife says I am nuts, but if it snowed on Christmas Eve and melted on December 26th then “Let It Snow”, “Let It Snow”, “Let it Snow”. Otherwise I prefer dry roads.

So, this Christmas season:

  • Enjoy time with your family and friends. There is no better time of the year to reinforce and grow these relationships.
  • Be generous to all. You may not have “it all” or for that matter “a lot” but you do have more than someone.
  • Always remember “It is not about ME”. The only way to a “Purpose Filled Life” is to put others first and you second.

I have come to know that the Christmas season is all about relationships and here at PDMi we are thankful this holiday season for the relationships we have had throughout 2019 and look forward to strengthening those relationships in 2020.

Our Staff wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Talking to Doing

Last week my wife and I got to spend a day at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World with my son, daughter-in-law, grandson and granddaughter. Yes this is a picture of the six of us (and a random mother and daughter in the back seat) riding the coaster on “Splash Mountain”. I can confirm we got splashed! It was a great day. There was so much to see, so much to experience and so many characters (including those of Disney fame) to meet. All of that was cool but what impacted me most was the vastness of the parks, the many resorts and the commercial establishments that have been built around Main Street USA. To think that Walt Disney stood in what many considered swamp land in the early 1960’s and could see a complex of facilities that would entertain and educate thousands each day is truly amazing. You have to admire not only his vision but his ability to execute that vision.

As I stood in line for one of the rides I saw a sign which said: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney. I told my grandson “that says it all.”

PDMi has provided Engineering and Architectural design services to many clients over the years. We have seen many projects talked about, but the projects that are most successful have had owners that understand that the “talking” (vision/planning) phase must lead to the “doing” (designing/building) phase. I so agree.

You may not be building Walt Disney World but you’re visions can become reality. Contact us about how we can help you move from talking to doing on your next facility project.

See It…Then Decide

We are working with a facility manager on an expansion inside his existing facility. The goal was to expand his auditorium and add a cafeteria. In itself that can be a challenge, but when he told us that he wanted to enlarge his present mezzanine by 50’ x 80’ and put these two functions in that space – well he got our attention.

You can only imagine the building code issues that come into play with two large Assembly occupancies on an elevated mezzanine. We rolled up our sleeves and got going.

This client has built and renovated many facilities, but he understands that 2D drawing do not always tell the whole story. At his request we developed a 3D model of his building and placed the proposed mezzanine space inside. We then located and modeled the required stairs, corridors, and fire separation walls. The 3-D model allowed him to See it…then Decide how the expansion could be completed and where the conflicts would be. The added benefit is that he now has a 3-D rendering that he can show the boss so he too can See it…then Decide.

Contact us about how we can use our 3-D modeling tools to deliver a project you can “see it” before you decide to build it.