Project management is more than checking things off a list. It is about people. For Eva Abeniacar-Bigatel she can pursue her passion for engineering and work with some incredible individuals. Eva is Engineering Project Manager for Volta Charging and is responsible for East Coast operations, installing electric vehicle chargers.
Her project management journey is relatively new, but she credits her success to exposure to the fundamentals. Learn from this up-and-coming project management superstar as she shares her perspective on staying calm while managing hundreds of projects.
What do you do?
From the moment a project agreement is signed with a site partner such as a grocery or department store, I am responsible for managing its execution. This process begins when I create the project in Sitetracker, then I monitor and approve the creation of the engineering drawings, manage and oversee the permitting for the build and ultimately work with my peers in construction to begin installation.
How long have you been in project management?
My project management journey is relatively new. Before working at Volta, I was a mechanical design engineer with my former employer working on HVAC systems. I decided I was ready to move into the next stage of my career and chose to pursue an MBA at Lehigh University, where I was exposed to project management fundamentals. After graduation, I joined Volta ready to take on project management as a career and have been doing so for the past year and a half.
How many projects and types of projects are you responsible for?
I’m currently working on over 100 construction projects for clients such as Giant Food, AMC, and Macy’s.
What’s your first thought every morning?
I need a calming cup of jasmine tea then I get to work. These projects don’t manage themselves!
How did you get into project management?
After a few years in a technical engineering role, I decided to transition to a more people-oriented role though I still wanted to maintain an engineering focus. I viewed getting an MBA as a perfect way to develop the skills that could enable this transition. After graduating from Lehigh University’s 1-MBA program, I found my current position at Volta, and as they say, the rest is history.
What is your favorite thing about project management?
I love checking things off on a list. I’m a very organized person, and I get such a serotonin boost when I cross something off my to-do list. Project management enables me to do this all day long.
How has project management changed during your time as a PM?
To be fully transparent, I probably haven’t been in project management long enough to see significant change; however, the tools that I use are constantly improving to help make my job more streamlined.
What do you think the benefits of Sitetracker are to you and your team? Documentation is critical, and Sitetracker allows us to clearly and simply record, track, and document everything we do. Sitetracker helps me manage the small details of my projects, allowing me to focus on the high impact and human aspects of project management.
How has your experience been with Sitetracker so far?
It keeps me sane! Without Sitetracker, I wouldn’t be able to do my job. It’s a centralized place for my team to keep track of every nuance of a project, and with over 100 live construction projects currently on my plate, this is key!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your time as a project manager?
Documentation is key! It’s very easy to move projects along by simply checking a box or changing a date, but it can lead to major problems down the road if info is missing. I’ve been in situations where four or five months after “completing” a project, out of the blue a client asks a very specific question. In cases like this being able to pull up a detailed record of the project can be the difference between disappointing our clients or looking like a hero.
Thankfully we have tools that help with this process. Sitetracker is fantastic at helping to track project details, but frequently the tool is limited by the user’s habits. Good data in, good data out, which is why I make sure to document everything.
What advice would you give other PMs, whether they’re new or experienced?
If you’re in the early stages of your career, recognize that being a PM is a collaborative process. As you track project progress and document everything, understand that you’re not doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for your team. You’re not the only person who will read your notes, so you need to make sure that you’re managing the project for an audience, and you need to know what your audience needs to see.
Do you know a fantastic project manager? Someone who hits deadlines, has stories to share, can get around any roadblock, and pushes projects over the line? We want to feature them in our Projects Are Life series. Shoot us an email and tell us why they are fantastic at PaL@www.sitetracker.com.
About Volta Charging
Volta Charging is an industry leader in commerce-centric EV charging networks. Volta Charging’s vision is to build EV charging networks that capitalize on and catalyze the shift from combustion-powered miles to electric miles by placing stations where consumers live, work, shop and play. By leveraging a data-driven understanding of driver behavior to deliver EV charging solutions that fit seamlessly into drivers’ daily routines, Volta Charging’s goal is to benefit consumers, brands and real-estate locations while helping to build the infrastructure of the future. As part of Volta Charging’s unique EV charging offering, its stations allow it to enhance its site hosts’ and strategic partners’ core commercial interests, creating a new means for them to benefit from the transformative shift to electric mobility. To learn more, visit www.voltacharging.com.
In February 2021, Volta and Tortoise Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE: SNPR), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company with a strategic focus on energy sustainability and decarbonizing transportation, announced they entered into a business combination agreement. Upon the closing of the transaction, which remains subject to customary closing conditions, the combined entity will be named Volta Inc. and remain on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol “VLTA”.