Meet Jordan Tatro, an innovator focused on continuous improvement

By Merry Richter

June 30th, 2023

Jordan Tatro, June 2023 OpenSpace Pathfinder

Meet our June 2023 Pathfinder, Jordan Tatro, a Virtual Construction Engineer at Adolfson & Peterson Construction. Jordan’s social and collaborative skills are driving a fulfilling and challenging career in construction.

An early introduction to construction

Jordan Tatro childhood construction projectJordan grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin. Her dad was a contractor at his own business, so she grew up building things and being in the built environment. “I was always building things like little birdhouses or going out to jobsites with my dad,” she shares. “Construction has always been home. That’s where I got my start in the construction industry.”

As an only child, Jordan notes, “I’m super close to my parents because they’re basically my siblings too, so sharing construction with my dad was special.”

A focus on continuous improvement

Jordan Tatro at swim meetJordan started swimming competitively in middle school and continued year-round throughout high school. She would practice six days per week, often twice a day before and after school, which taught her how to structure her life and schedule efficiently. “That was the beginning of learning about responsibility, hard work, dedication, and being disciplined,” Jordan shares.

Math and science were Jordan’s focus in high school to the point that she was part of the science Olympiad, where she would compete on weekends. As she puts it, “I was always very into knowing things and getting better academically.” And this included taking many AP classes in high school that would later save Jordan time and money in college.

Finding her way “back home” to the built side

Jordan Tatro college graduationJordan went to the University of Minnesota to study biomedical engineering with the intention of becoming a doctor. But, after her first semester, she felt like she wasn’t living her truth. So, she considered alternate majors and decided to pursue architecture.

“I felt it was the perfect blend of the math and science side, the more artistic side, and getting things built,” Jordan explains. She also took construction management classes as well. “That was my segue from the more engineering-medical side to the built side,” she notes. “I went ‘back home.’”

Thanks to all the AP classes Jordan took in high school, she graduated in three years with a Bachelor of Design in architecture. Although three of Jordan’s six semesters in college were online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she managed to actively participate as a member of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) throughout college. This entailed being able to attend talks by industry professionals and participating in design projects for the community.

A desire to learn about “the other side”

As Jordan was applying for both architecture and construction positions, she recognized she would have to get a master’s degree if she chose to be a licensed architect. But, she wanted to take time off to get some real-world experience.

“I really wanted to learn more about the other side—the construction and engineering side of things, to make me a better architect if I chose to become an architect one day. I wanted to garner that understanding of how things actually get built,” Jordan shares. “The things the construction side has to go through to make sure that buildings get built and executed to the designer’s wants,” she continues. But she soon learned that there is more to the construction side than she ever realized.

Selected for a fulfilling role

During her job search, a recruiter from Adolfson & Peterson reached out to Jordan about a virtual construction engineer position to see if she wanted to apply. She didn’t think she qualified since she hadn’t been an engineering student. But the recruiter piqued her interest. “I was very intrigued by the whole VDC process and using technology to improve all the phases of construction, from proposal through to closeout, and providing owners with models for maintenance and systems records,” Jordan shares.

When she graduated, Jordan didn’t even know VDC was a thing. But when she started her position at Adolfson & Peterson, she thought, “This is great! I love problem-solving. One of my favorite things to do is just say, ‘Okay, we have an issue, how can we fix this…how can we make it better for everyone, and improve everybody’s experience on a project?’ That’s been really fulfilling for me.”

Plus, Jordan has always loved technology. She says, “In college, I was always utilizing BIM even if it wasn’t required. The tech side has always captivated me.”

Using OpenSpace at Adolfson & Peterson

Jordan Tatro on construction siteJordan’s experience has shown her why VDC and coordination are so important. “There are so many different systems and processes. I’ve found it really intriguing that we are both mitigating issues virtually and building everything virtually before we build them in the real world,” Jordan explains, “I didn’t understand the level of complexity in which our trades were modeling. I always assumed that it was just the architect’s shell structure and maybe some structural engineering.”

When Jordan started her job, there was one project in her region using OpenSpace reality capture for documentation. Team members did two site walks per week to track a remote job. She was fascinated by the technology and asked her manager about it. He showed her how OpenSpace works and its integration with BIM, showing side-by-side comparisons to see the progress of projects.

Not long after, Jordan started getting additional projects up and running in OpenSpace, helping field teams understand how to use it, and explaining to them the importance of using it frequently. “Using OpenSpace enables the whole team to see incremental progress instead of only documenting at the beginning and end of a project, since there’s little value in that,” she explains.

“I’ve found OpenSpace to be really seamless and very easy to use,” she notes. “It’s much easier to use than 95 percent of all the other software or anything else that’s integrated. The interface is super easy to work with. It walks you right through everything in the app—connect your camera, turn it on, turn it off. It really spells it out for you.”

Adofson & Peterson is currently using OpenSpace on 12 to 15 active projects, five of which are in Jordan’s region. Jordan explains, “It’s also been a great way for us to keep track of our photos. A lot of the time, we have people going out and snapping pictures. That doesn’t keep them organized or show us where they are in the plan.”

“That’s where the automatic linking of these photos to our plans in OpenSpace is very helpful,” she says. “It shows an area that needs an RFI, has a punch list item, or needs to be fixed. You don’t have to chase things down or ask questions about where a photo was taken or on what day. It’s all right there for everyone to see.”

OpenSpace “intelligently keeps all our information together and shows us our progress through time,” Jordan continues. “This, in turn, enables us to know when things get done and what’s happening on a given project at any moment in time.”

According to Jordan, what she likes most about OpenSpace “is tracking through time, the intelligent collection of information, and the fact that it really reduces our time to complete our workflows, like RFIs, punch list items, and observations.”

Jordan Tatro gazing at urban skylineWhat does being a Pathfinder mean to you?

“Being a Pathfinder means using technology to advance how we’re completing projects,” Jordan says. “Ultimately using technology to elevate the human experience for everyone on the project from the beginning, with the architects, through our trades during construction, all the way through to the owners at the end.“

“It’s also about making sure that we are using the progress we’re making in technology to improve everybody’s experience from beginning to end. That’s finding new technology, testing things out, and continuing to push our progress and efficiency forward.”

 

Pathfinders are power users like Jordan who excel at using OpenSpace reality capture. You can check out all of our published Pathfinder Spotlights in the OpenSpace Community gallery. If you’d like to be a Pathfinder, submit your Pathfinder application today.

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