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SVP Construction – Kitchen United

Pasadena, CA

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KU has been on a tear! The market timing of its concept and early product-market fit have created the critical need for a world-class Sr. Vice President of Construction (SVPC).

This high-impact role will be the linchpin for KU’s roll-out plan which calls for opening >100 sites over the next three years! Sites can range from flat concrete floor warehouse space in industrial zones, to vacant retail space in prime metro shopping districts to the ground floor of 1-2MM sq. ft. New York skyscrapers. At capacity (by mid 2020) there will be 15-20 simultaneous projects in some stage of bid/build with four new locations opening each month. This scaling portfolio should not intimidate, but rather excite KU’s selected SVPC.

The SVPC will report to the COO and have extensive collaboration with the CEO as well as critical relationships across the leadership team. Besides the CEO and COO, the SVP Construction will have the next largest span of control and responsibility and the largest organization alongside a sizable posse of external vendors and partners. The SVPC will be located in KU’s Pasadena, CA headquarters, but because of the scope and scale of its operation, the position will require upward of 60% travel from the outset.

In a perfect world, the SVPC will bring experience constructing commercial kitchens, ideally out of a construction outfit building food courts or from a food service platform (think Gate Gourmet, Sodexo, HMS Host, Compass, Bon Appetite, or Aramark). A restaurant background with multi-unit rollouts could be a fit but prefer someone who understands the complexities of multiple kitchens in one place. Either way, the table stakes are experience with restaurant basics like coving, grease traps, CFMs. A background in engineering would be a big plus as 80% of KU’s CAPEX investments and 25% of its ongoing operating costs are driven by MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) engineering decisions. $2-$5M project size and scope is typical and the cadence is very fast, from empty to launch in 90-days! BTW: The SVPC will NOT be responsible for permitting, compliance or regulatory  – all that is handled

Principal Charter for the SVPC

  • The SVPC will manage multiple, simultaneous construction projects for KU nationally in its hyper growth business
  • Oversee and direct the work of key General Contractors, sub-contractors, construction-associated consultants, and vendors to ensure conformance with contracts. Enforce contractor and subcontractor compliance with building and safety codes.
  • Innovate KU’s high velocity build process, to make it more akin to an “installation” leveraging the latest in modular, pre-fabricated and component-based infrastructure and fixtures
  • Ensure that architects don’t over-design, the engineers don’t over-engineer and the contractors don’t over-build!
  • Streamline the bid and build processes through simplification, standardization, common sense and pragmatism derived from years of experience and a wide variety of environments and governance
  • Build an A+ Team! Recruit and manage local and remote resources providing oversight and assistance on the ground during the bid and build processes. Let the business define the staffing plan and budget. The ideal SVPC will ask a ton of questions, first do and then staff.
  • As a member of the Leadership team participate in setting KU company direction, strategy and culture

Key Duties & Responsibilities

  • Ensure projects are documented and completed within budget and schedule
  • Provide leadership, direction and advice to ensure efficient delivery of services and completion of projects.
  • Meet with Sr. Management to discuss and convey activities, results and developments that could have an impact on corporate objectives and activities of other functions/departments.
  • Communicate priorities, provide guidance, evaluate performance, clarify issues, identify solutions, and communicate goals
  • Collaborate with large professional teams (project/asset managers, architectural/design teams, leasing/property management) on complex development projects.
  • Ensure the coordination, development and approval of architectural and engineering construction drawings with respect to budget, schedule and constructability.
    Oversight of:

    • Project budgets including cash flows for approval. Responsible for financial control/reporting on construction projects.
    • Project master schedules in coordination with project team including asset manager/development project manager, leasing, property management, operations department, architect, and general contractor
    • Procurement of materials, supplies and equipment to meet project needs
    • Capital expenditure projects
    • Project presentations to articulate proposals and planned project logistics and present to senior leadership
    • Project inspections to ensure all work is performed to contract design specifications and in accordance with safety standards
    • Vendor Selection and Management including negotiations and ongoing quality control
  • Negotiate agreements with third parties, including vendors and contract managers and manage purchasing agents, general managers, asset managers and other owner entities as necessary to execute projects
  • Assist in all aspects of the physical due diligence process for new acquisitions and prepare capital expenditure plan for potential new locations.

Qualifications and Core Competencies:

  • Not a role for a step-up candidate. KU requires a seasoned journeyman who has seen a multitude of projects and problems; brings the scar tissue from having DONE it–not just studied, supervised or strategized…
  • Demonstrated skills in managing successful projects; meeting client expectations and timelines. Successful track record of collaboration with design and project management teams on major commercial/industrial/residential projects
  • Highly organized portfolio management experience and deep project management roots. Experience managing multiple complex projects simultaneously. Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of project controls, project management, construction documentation, and sequencing.
  • Super pragmatic, a problem solver who is always grounded in the current business goal and opportunities as well as challenges of the project
  • Cross-trade experience and depth in working with engineering specs, teams and vendors across electrical, plumbing, HVAC, carpentry and other commercial scale trades
  • Critical that the SVPC bring knowledge and understanding in the physics of Airflow Efficiency and Ventilation across a variety of commercial environments. Mastery of CFM in construction and retrofitting in real life situations across many use cases and environments
    • Ducting, HVAC, Thermal Insulation, energy transfer, air quality, energy efficiency, exhaust
  • Mastery of reading, understanding and translating large scale plans, designs, blueprints, architectural drawings then digesting and debating estimates, bids, take-offs, etc.
  • Able to comprehend, analyze and interpret complex business documents and financial models
  • Skilled Negotiator with extensive experience with construction contractors, materials suppliers.
  • Disciplined, take-charge approach; Organizes resources and activities; sets clear goals.

Personality/Demeanor/Work & Management Style

  • The selected SVPC will be a high energy, hands-on, take-charge, confident and assertive leader with a tactfully aggressive style capable of driving a portfolio of projects on very tight timelines with high stakes
  • Brings an opinion, a vision and a reputation for high quality; at KU, “We don’t do bad!” Understands and implements quality control and adherence to plans and specifications to effectively deliver construction projects.
  • Vintage does’t matter, but energy, stamina and drive do. The pace, the hyper growth and the lack of precedent for this level of rapid scale make this a role for a high performance, fuel-injected, finely tuned individual in race shape.
  • Brings the gravitas and presence to swiftly earn the trust and respect of KU’s CEO, COO and senior team
  • Team Builder & Mentor with the gravitas to create accountability for the entire org; Player-Coach and mentor;
  • Demonstrated ability to assess, recruit and develop talent.
  • Metrics-Driven: Formulates and recommends the budgetary and operational objectives of the design and construction teams and monitors results according to these objectives.
  • Agile: Knows how to grease the skids and Get Stuff Done! A simplifier vs. a complicator.
  • Lean and Optimized: focused on getting a high quality facility OPEN without being over-architected, over-engineered or over-built.
  • High Velocity – KU may be the most rapid cadence you’ve ever experienced, but we’d love to meet the candidate who’s come from “even faster”
  • Ability to maintain professionalism in the face of deadlines; exhibits good listening, negotiation, and problem-solving skills; and handles confidential information with discretion and trustworthiness.
  • At scale: Ideally worked with very large customers, partners and vendors working under the pressure of make or break deadlines
  • The cultural fit will require a love of something eclectic; a passion in life for something artistic