Meet our October Employee of the Month: Mark Leonard

“Lean principles were designed for manufacturing, so they can be tricky to apply in construction; however, we are investing and applying the Lean principles to our current and future projects. The processes are evolving constantly, and we, as a company, are adapting in the name of efficiency, which makes TFS an innovative and vibrant place to work.”

— Mark Leonard, Project Manager — New York


There is an exciting companywide culture shift that is taking place at TFS to fully adopt a Lean construction mindset and embrace continuous improvement in our service offerings to advance facility construction. Mark Leonard, one of our driven project managers at our busy Northeast office, is helping to lead this vital effort ensuring the successful adoption of the Lean culture. As part of our implementation team, Mark is focused on identifying and improving in the name of efficiency. He has firsthand experience applying the approaches to our high-profile projects, and uses those experiences and principles to lead the company in streamlining workflows and maximizing productivity. Mark’s leadership serves as a tremendous benefit to our high-tech/life science manufacturing and research clients in the form of trust, speed and profitability.

“TFS has seen an increase in performance, and we have been able to share cost savings with the client on specific projects. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that people seem empowered to make changes under the Lean banner; they now have the resources to effect positive change at TFS, and it really fosters a culture of continuous improvement,”

Leonard said of the current atmosphere surrounding TFS.

Mark continued: “Cost savings for our customers is a big benefit. With the prefab, we are keeping pipefitters out of the field, which benefits protocol and manufacturing, and it also reduces the risk of an interruption to production. One other kind of unintended benefit is that it challenges the customer to improve.
Lean efficiencies can come in many forms: “We spent about $500 on a telescopic pole that extends up to18 ft, and you can mount a camera on the top. The camera is controlled using an iPhone app, so now we can make observations at height without the need for a lift or in areas a lift can’t access. On another project, we needed to verify routing for a clean steam system at one of our client’s facilities. It was in a congested corridor about 15 ft up above a dropped ceiling. We avoided renting a lift, hiring an architectural contractor to remove the ceiling, and have a detailer with a spotter go up to take a look; however, with the pole-mounted camera, the detailer just opened one tile on the ceiling, extended the pole up through the hole, snapped a couple pictures, streamlining the whole process.”

Mark is helping TFS adopt this mindset using small smart solutions initially to build the culture, while having larger initiatives to move our company and industry forward in an era of conservation. He is consistently focused on identifying and eliminating waste on our clients’ projects. He has 11 years of engineering and construction operations experience, and has been a respected leader at TFS Northeast jobsites for 5 years.

For those familiar with Lean Construction principles, you know about the challenges the construction industry as a whole is facing, and the push to identify more efficient systems and uses of technology to improve transparency for clients and stakeholders. To get involved in the construction productivity conversation, you can find more information at the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). TFS’s executive leadership and our clients are involved in the LCI and sharing the benefits of leveraging Lean Construction on their projects.