Jerry Naranjo teamed with two longtime project partners Bao Chongtoua (MHFD) and Deb Ohlinger (Olsson) to speak on reducing costs through relationships at MHFDs’ Annual Symposium on April 11th. With an overwhelming breadth of combined experience, this trio spoke convincingly of a common industry misconception regarding project costs and inflation.

“The people in this room matter more than inflation, recessions, banking or crypto crises, etc.,” Jerry proclaimed. Factors such as delays in the payment process, personalities of the client, design delays and performance history with owners can have a much greater impact on construction costs compared to inflation.

“…when your culture is your strategy, you can start playing chess instead of checkers; but I like it better said culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Naranjo stated. The message here is focus on your organization and the things within your control.

Jerry expressed gratitude for a recent journey to India with a group of like-minded leaders and entrepreneurs. Traveling in Varanasi and Amritsar, the 12-person group worked in soup kitchens feeding 100,000 people a day alongside 10,000 volunteers. There was no shortage of people that wanted to eat or volunteer. The Sikh people gave Jerry a massive takeaway: before you go on a journey of holiness and preach to others, you must first take care of your people. Feed and shelter your fellow man before you claim to be anything righteous or holy.

“Project partnership is very similar to that experience, it requires an extreme level of personal development, but the rewards are 10x… Fix you first, then you can focus on your department.”