PMA People

Q&A with our People

Jerry Klanac

, Chicago

What current project(s) are you working on?
Since early June 2015, I’ve been doing extended work for AstraZeneca (AZ) as an assist to the Global Head of Project Controls, who is Pete Jackson, a former PMA employee. It is an exciting time at AZ because they are reorganizing their Global Engineering Group. Pete and I are assisting the vice president in a series of activities to transform the organization. PMA is actively involved in revising project organization structures and processes to best use the talents that AZ has gathered. In addition, we also review project controls efforts on all major AZ projects worldwide. One of the recent projects I reviewed was for expansion of their Dunkirk, France, operations.

I am also doing a similar engagement for the BP Whiting Refinery Mid-Cap project group. In this situation, PMA is asked to assess the project management competencies of project leaders and define mechanisms to close the gaps—whether through additional training or refining of current project development and execution processes.

What is your career highlight so far?
There are many career highlights but I am most proud of these two:

Development of Quantitative Risk Analysis: I have played a key PMA part in creating an exciting line of consulting work that relates to the application of project risk management principles, techniques, and tools. I was involved in establishing a six-step process for conducting cost and schedule risk analysis—a process seen by our peers as the industry standard for projects. Through this initiative, I have helped to mentor several colleagues in becoming extremely talented risk analysts, and they are now taking this effort to new levels.

Adjunct Faculty Member: I have always desired to be a teacher, and it is very rewarding to leverage my experiences on worldwide projects and to teach project management at both the university level at University of Dayton and at the industry level at venues such as the BPWay and Moscow School of Management. There is much joy in being the “know-it-all game show host” who gives the “Who Wants to be a Project Management Zillionaire” lecture. The version we delivered at the BPWay training was just as glitzy and theatrical as the television show!

What is something new or innovative happening in your industry?
I think project management and construction across all industries are trying to adapt to breakthroughs in technology that allow more data and information to be seen in real time and communications shared nearly instantaneously. There is a demand to analyze project performance information quickly and thoroughly, and then use illustrative graphics to convey information in a meaningful way. What I used to do in a week in the 1980s for project controls can now be done in a few hours when the technology at hand is used effectively.

What university or college did you graduate from?
I have an undergraduate civil engineering degree from the University of Dayton and an MBA in finance, business statistics, and policy studies from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

What is your favorite local establishment/feature (restaurant, museum, stadium, etc.)?
“The world is my oyster …” so something local is not necessarily nearby: 18 holes of golf at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island. I try to play there every year.

Fun Fact!
I pitched my co-rec softball team to the Ann Arbor City Championship in 1994 with only 9 players!