Dan Patarozzi received a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Illinois State University and has been dedicated to providing professional construction services for more than 20 years. A pivotal moment in his career occurred in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy struck New York. At that time, the emergency department expansion project he was carrying out was overwhelmed, and Patarozzi led the effort to bring the project back online within 12 months.
Recently, Patarozzi applied emergency response experience during the COVID-19 pandemic to help solve the problem of a surge in patients. In March 2020, as the New York City government required all hospitals to increase their capacity by at least 50%, New York City Health and Hospitals and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) contacted Scanska Helped to transform the three-story building of North Central Bronx Hospital into a 120-bed intensive care unit within 90 days. Patarozzi said that he knew the tight schedule for the project meant that he needed to get the project partners to coordinate quickly to understand the goals, expectations and schedule.
As the head of operations for the project, Patarozzi held daily update conference calls with all major stakeholders to provide the latest information and discuss key quick response items, such as expedited inspections. Patarozzi worked closely with the project team to outline possible strategies, while relying on his industry knowledge and relationships to purchase equipment within an expedited timeframe, including multiple air handling units within six weeks.
In addition, he also solved the safety and health problems of workers by installing external lifts on the building for all workers to enter the project site and conduct daily health checks with on-site nursing staff. Under his leadership, the project team delivered 20 ICU beds in the first 30 days and delivered the remaining 100 beds in the next two months.
Patarozzi also took the opportunity to maximize the use of FEMA funds to renew the hospital, which has not undergone major upgrades since it opened in 1974, including the purchase of additional air handling units, the upgrading of the facility’s oxygen farm, and the creation of new administrative spaces. “When you lead a group of people (many of whom have never worked together before) and build a cohesive team within a few weeks, it’s really great,” he said. Its success is attributed to Patarozzi’s position.
What do you like best about your job?
I like leading teams and mentoring young professionals to help them grow and become leaders. I believe that your work team is also your family. If you have a sense of teamwork and a sense of family on the job site and care about the person sitting next to you, then I don’t know why you want to work in other ways.
Who inspired you?
My family is at home and at work. It’s great to have a job that truly impacts the lives of others in a positive way.
What do you expect to be the next major trend in healthcare design?
As contractors, we see that the healthcare sector is more interested in collaborative delivery methods. The focus of working under integrated project delivery (IPD), “IPD lite” or other similar contracts is to create an integrated environment that will lead to better teamwork among designers, contractors, owners and other key stakeholders.
What have you learned in the past year?
The power of teamwork. The North Central Bronx Hospital ICU project is an example. When the team is fully committed and focused on the end result, anything is possible.