Confronting COVID-19 Q&A Series: Patrick Aliu, PSA Management

PSA Management, a minority-owned Program Management / Construction Management (PM/CM) firm, expanded to the Dallas market in 2000, with work at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. In this Q&A, Patrick Aliu, Founder, President and CEO, describes how his firm has expanded to manage projects at health care facilities, sports & convention centers, and now, a project for Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Q: PSA Management is involved in numerous projects. Could you describe how your company grew? It started with just you, didn’t it?

Patrick Aliu, PSA Management
Patrick Aliu, PSA Management

A: Back in 2000, we were fortunate enough to partner with KBR for the Automated People Mover (Skylink) project at DFW Airport. Because of the skill that we employed using project management software called Prolog, when the Terminal D project came along, I think the airport recognized our effectiveness. They suggested that HKS negotiate with PSA Management, and that allowed us to add more staff.

Since then, we’ve managed projects at Orlando International Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. We’ve also expanded our work at DFW Airport, playing a major role with Freese & Nichols on three projects. We implemented the entirety of their projects using their Skire Unifier project management software.

Q: How does project management software help in project completion, from a layman’s perspective?

A: In a nutshell, project management software helps you manage a project efficiently, and cost-effectively. If you don’t apply good project management practices, chances are good you’ll have cost overruns because of change orders and other factors. Project management software helps you from the planning stage to commissioning (final review). It helps prevent delays.

For example, if you have a design meeting, or a team meeting … it takes time for people to get their markups (comments on plans), and to bring them back in. The software allows you to take that information, to break that information up, and to send it to others in the project. It speeds up their response time.

This is especially helpful during the construction phase, where things don’t always go as planned; perhaps the soil wasn’t in the proper condition, or something went wrong with the concrete mix, or perhaps the client changed their mind. Or perhaps there’s a conflict between the build, and the mechanical ducts. With the use of a PM software, you see these conflicts or problems ahead of time, and resolve them, before they become an expensive issue.

Q: Your firm recently launched the A.B. and M.E. Otokiti PSA Management Inc. Endowed Scholarship at Dallas College (formerly Dallas County Community College District). Tell us more about the thinking behind this, how the scholarship works, etc.

PSA Management team

A: This scholarship was established in memory of my father, A.B. Otokiti, who was a visionary change agent for education, and my mother, M.E. Otokiti, who believed that students deserve the opportunity and access to achieve academic success. It’s open to Dallas College – North Lake Campus, students majoring in construction management or construction technology.

We’re trying to give back to the community. And we’re doing it by launching the scholarship foundation with Dallas College, in the amount of $25,800.

In most of our prime contracts, we bring in some summer interns. Usually, we pick six students from six different high schools, from different backgrounds. DFW Airport allows us to connect department leaders to the team, from 9 to 3, every day. We provide the transportation; lunch, we provide everything. All we ask of the airport is to allow these kids the opportunity to see the operations of the different departments, and to observe the work of designated senior staff.

The hope is that the internship opens their eyes to a career path of PM/CM and encourages students to join the field. We want to give aspiring students real-world experience that will prove to be invaluable in their educational development and professional careers.

We can’t thank DFW enough for embracing this program and allowing these children the privilege of learning in such an exciting and world-class environment.