Pete Costulis, PE, Director of Technical Services
Peter Costulis, PE is AFG’s Director of Technical Services providing support services on as many as a dozen projects at a time. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry and has served as a Design Reviewer and Commissioning Agent on two GSA projects that have won Project of the Year Awards from Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Chapters. Pete recently celebrated 10 years with AFG, and to mark the occasion we decided to ask him a few questions about his career and favorite projects.
Congratulations on 10 years with AFG! How did you come to work with us?
AFG had just been awarded a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) Plumbing Mapping project here in Pittsburgh, PA and needed someone at this location. AFG’s recruiter reached out and though I had been a design engineer my entire career at that time, I decided to make a career change and accepted the position.
What has been your favorite project?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Building 49 Ventilation Engineering Evaluation on the NIH Campus in Bethesda, MD. We received an RFP from NIH regarding issues with the ventilation system in one of the laboratories. Because of my design experience, I solved the problem within 20 minutes of reading the RFP. I worked closely with Jeff Taylor, CQM (AFG Project Director) and Marcos Miranda (AFG Vice President) on that one. We worked very well together, with Jeff doing the fieldwork and Marcos working with the NIH staff. Troubleshooting problems has always been my favorite type of project.
What has been the most challenging project that you successfully managed?
My first project, the VAMC in Pittsburgh. I worked every single day from the day I started (May 25th) through the first week of September with no days off. I was also traveling between two different project sites for the entire project duration. There were so many issues with the project. Poor documentation of existing conditions which led to unexpected discoveries during construction, a inadequate contractor that was eventually dismissed from the project, and so on. It was at times, a nightmare. But I received a great deal of encouragement and support from my supervisors, Ken Reese and Paul Szmurlo. In the end, we received a five-star rating from the VA’s Contracting Officer.
Outside of your work, where can we find you?
Either in the music studio practicing away or outside in the garden working away.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out in AEC?
Always ask questions. I learned early on that no matter how busy someone may be, they will always stop to answer questions. Be confident in yourself, but also be humble. There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. This profession will teach you humility if you’re not careful.