We all know the saying, “Like father, like son.” We use this term when a son shows similar attributes or behaviors as his father and laugh it off as we watch the son grow into the person he’s meant to be. Well, what if “Like Father” is really what he’s destined to be?
Senior Superintendent Ray Chamberlain watched first hand as his son, Devon Chamberlain, worked his way up the ranks to become a Superintendent just like him. Now, both Ray and Devon are Clark/Sullivan (C/S) Superintendents leading multi-million-dollar projects, so we sat down with them to learn more about how this father-son duo came to be.
How early in life did you know you wanted to join the construction industry? Did your dad’s career influence it in any way?
DEVON: I’ve wanted to be in Construction, but more specifically a Carpenter and then Superintendent, for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I had the chance to walk one of my dad’s projects, the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, after construction was complete and before it opened to the public. Getting to go to the top of the tower before anyone with my Dad, I felt incredibly special and wanted to be able to have the ability to do the same with my kids one day. My dad’s career was the influence for me to know that one day, if I worked as hard as he did, I to could succeed in Construction.
Do you think you influenced your son to join the construction industry? Are you happy he followed in your footsteps?
RAY: Actually, yes! After many years of Devon coming on job sites and him seeing what was going with Dad being the Superintendent on the job, he immediately took interest in the construction industry. I am very happy and proud of Devon in all aspects. As we all grow and I get older, it’s nice to see your son take over in the Superintendent level and succeed.
Do you think your leadership styles are the same or different?
DEVON: I think for the majority of our work in-the-field, our styles are the same. However, I feel I am faster with technology and communicating / coordinating between the office and field teams.
RAY: I think they are the same, except Devon definitely exceeds Dad in being more diplomatic, detail-oriented, and better with technology.
What are some lessons/tricks or skills/attributes you feel you have gained from your father that has helped you grow into a Superintendent?
DEVON: Can’t is not a word. If there is a will, there is a way. Don’t give me a problem without first thinking of a solution. Learn every day to be the best at your trade. To understand each trade’s sequencing and obstacles will create the best Superintendent. Trust, But Verify.
What leadership skills/attributes do you hope you passed on to your son as he leads in this industry?
RAY: Organization, creating schedules in logical steps, never take no for an answer, and don’t be a pushover.
What’s your favorite construction-related memory together?
DEVON: We both take a lot of pride in building high-rise buildings fast! We had done one together as a team and I loved going through every step and milestone with him – from erecting another tower crane to the topping-out party. With us on the project together, it was an amazing feeling and accomplishment.
RAY: Well there are many but to choose one, I would say when we topped out an 11-story building together a few years back and he topped out the project with the American flag. That made me so proud, as I have service in the military and take great pride in the American Flag. Seeing Devon place the flag on top of the project was a great moment!
What advice would you like to give to future construction leaders who may have parents in the industry as well?
DEVON: Use your parent’s knowledge from the past as a foundation for your future!
What would you like to say to current construction leaders who may have kids industry as well?
RAY: Well, if you have a young person interested tell them, “If you build it they will come.” It’s great to show your kids different projects you have been a major part of all over the world. In this industry, there is always a challenge in some way, shape or form. If you like challenge then this is your cup of tea.
Ray and Devon are both currently C/S Superintendents leading projects at the new West Park High School campus in Roseville, CA. They continue to enjoy working together and learning from each other as they both play a role in the legacy of the construction industry and epitomize the power of a father’s influence and a son’s admiration. We are glad this son is like his father as they continue to excel in the industry and make C/S proud!