On-Site With David Cameron

David Cameron on site
David Cameron, a general superintendent at Gilbane Building Company, standing in front of the construction site he is overseeing in downtown Providence.

David Cameron, RWU Class of 2012

Construction Management
Alumni

From the Gilbane Building Company field office in the heart of downtown Providence, David Cameron is overseeing the construction of a nine-story high-rise. Right across the street, the construction site is ringing with the sounds of hammers falling on stone and metal as the structure’s foundations are completed.

On a cold spring day, with snow in the forecast, Cameron, the site’s general superintendent, is focused on keeping things moving, safe and on time. Today he is waiting for the building’s architect to come approve a portion of foundation wall that will remain visible to the public.

: Cameron in the Gilbane field office on Fountain Street in downtown Providence marks up layouts of the building.
Cameron in the Gilbane field office on Fountain Street in downtown Providence marks up layouts of the building. The morning is his time to complete office work, like answer emails, before he heads on-site for most of the day.

Cameron, a two-time alumnus, is no stranger to big projects or to RWU. He first graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology. Most recently, he earned a master’s degree in construction management.

He did it as a challenge to himself, he says, and to continue his learning in the profession by successfully furthering his knowledge and skills.

Dave Cameron on-site in downtown Providence.
Dave Cameron on-site in downtown Providence points across the site.

Cameron came out of the master's experience with a different way of thinking.

He says at RWU he learned a more holistic approach to organizing projects. Put simply, “you learn to think before you act,” Cameron says, which in his role of overseeing everything from the schedules of around 150 tradesmen to worker safety, project planning, solving issues that come up on-site and keeping the project on time, has proven helpful in getting everything to run on “on a streamlined, efficient process.”

“It really connected all the dots for me,” he says.

As an employee at Gilbane, Cameron has worked on some of the biggest projects in the state. He’s overseen renovations at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and oversaw part of the construction of the Interlink, a 1,200 foot enclosed skywalk, at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick.

The project he’s working on now, a 176-room Residence Inn in downtown Providence, will be his first high-rise, Cameron says.

Dave Cameron points across the construction site to another piece of exposed foundation wall.
Dave Cameron points across the construction site to another piece of exposed foundation wall.

Right now, the site has been excavated and the foundations of the building are being finished. Cameron spent the morning making sure the underground plumbing pipe sleeves were installed.

When the architect arrives, Cameron takes him to part of the wall he has to sign off on. After a brief discussion to ensure the exposed concrete will look visually appealing, Cameron gets the architect to approve their work.

Dave Cameron shows the architect of the 176-room Residence Inn in Providence a portion of the foundation wall that will be exposed to public view.
Dave Cameron shows the architect of the 176-room Residence Inn in Providence a portion of the foundation wall that will be exposed to public view.

Then as the first snowflakes start to fall, Cameron heads back inside the field office to go over other upcoming logistics as the day starts winding to a close because of the weather.

Cameron walks across construction site
Cameron walks across the construction site in downtown Providence.

“I try to stay ahead of everything,” he says.