Meet Sarah Shields of Harris Doyle Homes, a BBJ NextGenBHM in Real Estate and Construction for 2021
Harris Doyle Homes is proud to announce that Sarah Shields, Birmingham Division Project Manager, was recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as NextGen in Real Estate. Every year, the Birmingham Business Journal publishes NextGen Birmingham, an article introducing upcoming real estate and construction professionals. These are emerging leaders who have been identified by colleagues, clients, or industry veterans as key individuals to watch in Birmingham's real estate market. The next generation of leaders' fresh innovative ideas will be important considering the current market and what the future may bring. Luckily, Birmingham is home to a vast group of real estate and construction professionals that are poised to push the sector forward for years to come.
As a Project Manager, Sarah oversees four Birmingham new home communities – Liberty Park, Simms Landing, Griffin Park, and Longmeadow. Her job is to know the ins and outs of each home being built in the communities she supervises. This includes getting permits and proper documentation needed for each job, purchasing, and completing red line field drawings with the builder. Sarah is also responsible for updating the agents and builders on change orders and managing pre-construction schedules while tracking the job schedules through completion. Sarah is deeply involved in every aspect of construction as a house goes from framing to completion.
Sarah’s Real Estate and Construction Background
Sarah has worked in the construction industry since 2017, where she started part-time as an interior designer for Floor and Décor while finishing her undergrad at The University of Alabama. After graduation, her design role turned full-time, and she worked there until joining Harris Doyle in 2018. Sarah has continued to progress her career with Harris Doyle over the past three years, successfully transitioning from interior designer to project manager. She initially joined the Harris Doyle team as a vital member of the Interior Design team, where she worked one on one with Harris Doyle purchasers to bring their vision of a new home to life through paint colors, finishes and lighting. “When I graduated with my interior design degree, I still longed for a better understanding of building construction and how the entire building process works,” said Sarah. “When I first started, I was hired to be one of the interior designers. I was about two semesters into Graduate school for Construction Engineering Management at this time. I worked with purchasers to help guide them to the selections that best suited their needs. I loved meeting with purchasers and everything that came along with being their designer. I couldn’t believe I had found such an incredible opportunity to do what I love.” Around a year into Sarah’s design career, an opportunity came available to move into project management for Harris Doyle. Sarah, already being enrolled in graduate school at UAB for Construction Engineering, applied for the new position and started the interview process. “I was nervous and didn’t know if I was ready to make the move at the time, but I knew that this was the change I needed to progress in my career,” said Sarah. “I’ve been working as a project manager now for two years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
To get to know Sarah and her position as a project manager better, we asked her the following questions.
What is a project manager?
Project managers are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the completion of a project; all while ensuring these projects are on time, on budget, and within scope.
What does your typical day look like?
In the office checking my emails and/ or on the phone with trades and builders. I am typically reviewing design selections and field drawings to make sure all the purchase orders are correct for each job.
What makes you excited about your job?
I get excited about each home that I work on and seeing all the options they have chosen and being a part of it all.
What is the most rewarding part of being a Project Manager at Harris Doyle?
The most rewarding part of being a project manager for me is to drive through the communities and watch them come to life with homes and homeowners.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in Project Management?
I knew this was something I wanted to pursue after I graduated with my undergrad in Interior Design. I learned a lot from that program, but I wanted to learn more about the construction management side.
Do you have any tips for future homeowners? If so, what are they?
My tips for going through our process to purchase a new home would be to think through how you like to live in a space. Review the copy of your homes plan and draw furniture and electrical options you must have on the plans before your design appointment. This will help you think through how you like to live in a space.
Tell us about your favorite Harris Doyle floor plan and why?
My favorite Harris Doyle plan is the Sheffield A. I love the exterior elevation of this plan, and how open the living room, dining, and kitchen are. My favorite part is the stairs that go into the attic. Perfect spot for storage of Christmas decorations and such.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work I like to hang out with my boyfriend and his son. We like to go kayaking, hiking, and playing with my dog Piper.
Sarah has covered a lot of ground across the construction industry in just a short three-year period. Harris Doyle is proud to have her on our team and excited to see what the future holds for her in this industry. Click here to read the whole BBJ article.