COO Credits MPM For Training Him to Navigate Uncertainty

Sam Tikriti (MPM '02) joined Volumetric Building Companies in 2020 and helped the company continue its growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction companies must routinely navigate obstacles like material shortages, labor constraints, supply chain issues, cost increases, or contract delays, but 2020 created an unprecedented business environment where all these challenges came together at the same time. 

That was the reality Sam Tikriti (MPM '02) faced when he joined Volumetric Building Companies (VBC) in September 2020 as its new chief operating officer. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tikriti worked with the management team to adjust the company’s short-term planning and become more agile in implementing alternative solutions and risk management strategies.

To do that, he relied on lessons learned in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Project Management (MPM) program. 

“The MPM program changed my career and positioned me for success,” Tikriti said. “The program was instrumental in helping me understand how to manage three critical components of a project – budget, schedule, and contract.”

VBC is a vertically integrated modular solutions provider that is innovating the business of building. By streamlining architecture, logistics, manufacturing, and construction under one umbrella, VBC can create modular housing solutions in less time than standard builds.

In his role, Tikriti oversees company operations across corporate, studio, manufacturing, and construction, as well as brainstorming business strategy and evaluating growth opportunities. 

Clearly, Tikriti came on board at an exciting time for VBC. 

“The company has grown 2,000 percent over the last five years and is in the process of building the operational infrastructure to support it,” he said. 

VBC is headquartered in Philadelphia, but the company also operates a manufacturing facility in North Carolina, a construction division in Philadelphia, and a design studio in Boston. In August, VBC acquired a California-based state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, a purchase that will allow VBC to expand its innovative approach to the West Coast.

“Our goal is simple: deliver a better way to provide housing solutions,” Tikriti said. “We think there is tremendous opportunity in advancing design and construction technologies to produce quality, feasible and scalable housing. To realize that, we have to innovate throughout the entire life cycle of a project and create a model that addresses current challenges and future opportunities.”

That ability to innovate was honed in the MPM program. Beyond technical principles, the program taught project delivery methods, key operations processes and the automated tools needed to effectively execute them.

“My instructors were a mixture of management professionals and seasoned professors,” Tikriti said. “Coming from an architectural background, and trying to enter the construction management world, this was extremely helpful for me. The courses are relevant to real-life construction and provide critical tools to manage projects utilizing proven strategies and expertise.”

McCormick News Article