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Nisha Jeyathas

Chief Estimator, Multiplex Construction Canada

Nisha Jeyathas

Chief Estimator, Multiplex Construction Canada

Milestones in a career and life are a wonderful way of inspiring our emerging young leaders. Please share a proud or “magic moment” that shaped your journey?

I recall my days as a fax runner, hustling during lump sum bid closings for a general contractor. Fresh out of school, my task was to hover by the fax machine, eagerly gathering bids as they came in and swiftly delivering them to the appropriate person handling that specific scope of work. The frantic energy of the closing room was oddly exhilarating as I dashed in and out, clutching fax prints. I admired the Chief estimator, who remained composed amidst the chaos, serving as a beacon of calm amid the storm of ringing phones and eager trades on the other end. Years later, I found myself leading my own bid, guiding a team of estimators to brace for the frenzy of closing day. Now, as the Chief Estimator at my current company, I recently orchestrated a half-billion-dollar bid closing, stepping into that familiar room, but this time not as a fax runner, but as the steady hand everyone looked to for direction. Drawing from the lessons of those before me, I navigated the high-stakes environment, managing stress and steering the proceedings. To some, it may seem like a whirlwind of frantic calls and number crunching, but for those involved, it’s a culmination of months of diligent work and readiness, unfolding like a meticulously orchestrated performance.

Who were your major influencers/mentors (up to 2) and what were the key lessons you gained from them?

Mentor #1: Risk Manager at Previous company. During my early years at a previous general contractor, I had a mentor who served as a Risk Manager. This individual took a hands-on approach, involving me in all project tasks right from the start. They provided me with invaluable exposure to client-facing meetings early on, allowing me to truly grasp the significance of our work’s outcomes. Additionally, they emphasized the importance of building trade networks and encouraged me to forge my own relationships with key industry players. This mindset has enabled me to cultivate a vast network of tradespeople, clients, and consultants in the construction industry today. Furthermore, I gleaned valuable lessons in work ethics and the importance of doing things the right way from my mentor. Their thoroughness and approach to estimating laid the groundwork for my skills development throughout my career. Importantly, my mentor never allowed me to perceive gender, race, or age as barriers in the construction industry. They consistently placed me at the forefront of meetings and opportunities, pushing me to showcase my abilities confidently and without hesitation.

What do you think are the next big challenges we need to tackle as an industry and as a successful city-region? Are there specific things you think we should be doing to meet the challenges?

Workforce Development and Diversity: The construction industry faces a shortage of skilled labor, exacerbated by an aging workforce and a lack of diversity. Addressing this challenge requires investing in workforce development programs, promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives, and attracting a new generation of workers to the industry. – Establish training programs and apprenticeships to develop a skilled labor force. – Promote diversity and inclusion initiatives to attract underrepresented groups to the construction industry. – Provide mentorship and career advancement opportunities for women and minorities. – Collaborate with educational institutions to align curriculums with industry needs. Technological Advancements: Embracing technology is essential for driving innovation and improving productivity in the construction industry. This includes adopting Building Information Modeling (BIM), virtual reality, drones, and other advanced technologies to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and deliver projects more efficiently. – Invest in research and development of construction technology solutions. – Provide training and support for adopting new technologies within the industry. – Foster collaboration between technology providers, contractors, and other stakeholders. – Encourage innovation through competitions, hackathons, and industry partnerships.

Tell us how you champion others in the industry.

Being a visible minority women in this industry coming from a very different background than many others; I have felt first hand the value that good mentorship does to young minds. I was lucky in my career to have had some very important moments of good mentorship and leadership which motivated me to be where I am now. I actively now mentor mentor and guide individuals, especially those who are new to the industry, by providing hands-on experience, sharing valuable insights, and fostering professional development. I believe in the importance of inclusivity and diversity, actively working to break down barriers based on gender, race, or age. Moreover, I encourage networking and relationship-building among industry professionals, recognizing the significance of strong connections in the construction field. I promote collaboration and cooperation, both within my own team and with external partners, fostering an environment of support and mutual growth.

What is your secret talent no one knows you have?

I am a very good Vacation planner! I take all my excel sheet skills and prepare very elaborate budget and itineraries for all my trips with friends and families. ALSO, I have competitively danced throughout my University years, so put some good Dancehall, Hip/Hop, Reggae and I’ll be breaking it down on the dance floor.

What is the best word to describe you? And Why?

Trail blazer. I challenge traditional norms and push boundaries whether it’s in terms of gender, race, or outdated industry practices. By breaking barriers and forging new paths, I inspire others to follow suit and contribute to positive change within the construction industry. My innovative approach and commitment to progress make me a true trailblazer in my field.