Donn Yan started working at Olympic International right after graduating from BCIT. We would like to celebrate his 30th work anniversary at Olympic International where he witnessed how the company and construction industry changed. From an Estimating role, Donn moved up to a Senior Project Manager position.
If you look at the 30 years, how has the company evolved or changed?
Olympic was much smaller back then. They’ve managed to grow the business by bringing on passionate people willing to drive new initiatives in the construction industry while maintaining strong business relationships.
What major change have you experienced within the industry?
We’ve been fortunate around here to work in a steady industry in terms of opportunity and work. A noticeable change has been in focusing more on efficiency and environmental impact.
How do you feel Olympic International reacts to these requirements?
I believe they’ve been fairly progressive. As Olympic grew, our team was proactive in exploring new technologies and products, such as VRV-type air conditioners or air source heat pumps. We had been open to new technologies in building design and didn’t stick to the “status quo.”
How do you see your career?
Working in construction can be quite unpredictable & be overwhelming and stressful. We might start a day expecting to work on certain tasks but end up working on completely unrelated items. My role here has some pros and cons. My work here is rewarding since we value how the project is managed as well as the outcome; that isn’t “just about the bottom line”! That’s a huge factor to me. I also enjoy working with the people here. It’s a good mix of people within the organization, and the culture is based on support and partnership with our customers and partners. It has been a pleasure to work here.
What did you learn?
I would say that my biggest take is that “Nothing is as bad or as good as initially reported.” Some issues can be technical & move quickly, so news is often reported before considering all the info. Mistakes can be made through incomplete or unclear communication. To me, the job really is about good relationships and communication with our partners on these projects.
Tell us about your most exciting project.
That would be the construction of the Olympic Village. I had never been involved in a project with such urgency, scope, or complexity; involving many parties with such high stakes. It involved coordination as it had many moving parts that changed over time. Experiencing the chaos and navigating through it gave me a better context in dealing with other day-to-day stuff. For a project of this scale, the “normal” process we might have in place doesn’t work and requires you to adjust.