GGInsights: Q&A with Superintendent Andy McKahan

GGInsights: Q&A with Superintendent Andy McKahan

Andy McKahan joined the Gillis Gilkerson team in June of 2023 as a Construction Superintendent.  Originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, Andy’s family moved to Berlin, Maryland when he was in the eighth grade. Upon graduation from Stephen Decatur High School in 2017, Andy moved to South Carolina where he attended Limestone College with a concentration in Business Management and Marketing, while wrestling for the school all four years. Since joining GGI, Andy has spent time working on the Powell Building in Downtown Salisbury and the Fin City Brewing fit-out in Ocean City, as well as several smaller jobs and demolition projects.

Q&A Questions:


In a nutshell, how would you describe your role as a construction superintendent?  

The role of a Construction Superintendent is to supervise the day-to-day activities on a jobsite. It’s the Superintendent’s responsibility to document the status of each jobsite, create look-ahead reports to maintain scheduling and communication with all parties and to maintain and clean, safe and positive work environment.

How long have you been a part of our construction team? What initially drew you to this field? 

I am celebrating six months with the Gillis Gilkerson team.  I grew up working construction with my father, and I always enjoyed the dynamics of working on a jobsite.  I have always enjoyed watching projects come together and working around people that share common interests.  I particularly enjoy sitework and hardscaping – it’s been a hobby and interest of mine for a long-time and I still enjoy seeing those aspects of a job come together. 


Can you share a memorable or particularly interesting construction project you have worked on? What made it special? 

Working on the Powell Building fit-out for the Ward Museum for Wildfowl Art was my first big solo job working with Gillis Gilkerson, so it will always be a special project for me. That job was interesting because of the architectural details that were kept from the historic building in combination with new finishes, that gave the space a lot of character.  I will never forget the amount of work that went into polishing the original terrazzo floors, but they are beautiful – it was worth the effort.  Deadlines were met on time, and the tenants were pleased with the final product, which is always incredibly satisfying.   


What is the most rewarding part of your job? Any specific achievements you are proud of? 

Being a part of the creation of projects is always rewarding, but I also enjoy being around like-minded individuals and the camaraderie that you find on jobsites.  I have always enjoyed interacting with the various workers that are on-site each day and doing my part to create a positive work environment. 


How do you approach managing and coordinating construction projects? Any strategies you find most effective? 

Communication is key.  I always try to find a way to make sure everyone is on the same page when we start a project, and throughout the various milestones.  It can take different forms, whether it’s a meeting with all the subs together, or emails and phone calls.  It’s important to make sure everyone feels like they know what is going on. This strategy goes a long way to help identify potential problems before they become setbacks.


What are some challenges you face in your role? How do you overcome them? 

The biggest challenge is knowing what needs to be done ahead of each trade.  To overcome the challenge, I like to talk to the foremans on each of the trade crews and ask a lot of questions, to make sure scheduling works out for everyone.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in construction? 

Be ready to get up early!  Construction jobsites start early, and sometimes require travel time just to get there, so you have to be ready to get up and go to work every day. Up and at em!

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Subcontractors are there to help you out, just as much as you are there to help them.  If you aren’t sure about something – just ask!


Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies or interests? How do you unwind and recharge? 

I love to fish; local bay, saltwater fishing; and deer and duck hunting.  I also really enjoy cooking, and spending time with my family and friends.


What is the hottest/favorite lunch place for superintendents on our team right now? 

Well, my go to used to be cold ham and cheese packed-lunch, but now that it’s starting to be wintertime, I had to improvise.  I found a way to bring a microwave to our current jobsite, so I can heat up leftovers.  I just can’t do cold lunch anymore!  A job-site microwave is my new favorite luxury.