Five Questions with Tyler Fritz

Alicia Krieger

January 02, 2020

Tyler Fritz joined Olsson in the summer of 2019 as the Lincoln/Omaha Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP) team leader. We recently caught up with him and asked him five questions about his role, the industry, and what it’s like working with his team at Olsson. Here’s what he had to say.

Q; What sparked your interest in mechanical/electrical engineering?

A: I grew up in a family of teachers, so it only made sense I would be an engineer. OK, maybe not. Honestly, I was always attracted to the building/construction industry. Growing up, I really thought I wanted to be an architect, but as it turns out creativity is required. I switched to structural engineering, but that was more structured and rigid than I wanted. I was drawn to the building sciences in their general form and had the opportunity to intern with a great group of people who just happened to be MEP folks. We spend a significant part of our lives at work, so working with good people is extremely important, and that particular team of people pulled me into the MEP design, and I haven’t looked back.

Q: What is your management philosophy?

A: First – collaboration and communication. Our industry and our team require us to be highly collaborative, nimble, and great communicators. I endeavor to be highly transparent and honest with the team while engaging and encouraging everyone to have and share their voice. 

Second – mentorship. Understanding each team member, their strengths, and growth goals is very important to me. Promoting and building from those strengths is something that I will always encourage. 

Third – strategery. (If Will Farrell says it’s a word, it is a word.) We as a team can’t be everything to everyone and knowing who we are and what we ultimately want to be should be our guiding principle and define our direction. 

Finally – fun. We all spend a lot of time at work; let’s work together to make sure we have a blast doing it!

Q: How can you use your experience in healthcare to help Olsson grow in this area? 

A: I have spent the past 15 years focusing on all types of healthcare designs and deliveries, and honestly, it’s a passion. After coming to Olsson, I was encouraged by the desire and deep experience everyone had in healthcare. I’m excited for the opportunity to add intentionality and strategy to our pursuit of this market. Within our facilities team, there isn’t a type of healthcare or size project we haven’t done or can’t handle. Much of this growth will happen in building relationships and sharing our knowledge, experience, and expertise. 

Q: When you’re not working, what activities do you enjoy?

A: I have two small children (a 6 year old and a 9 month old) so much of my time is spent negotiating with a very convincing 6-year-old and chasing a full night’s sleep. Pre-kiddos, I spent a lot of time chasing whitewater in my kayak, bombing the mountain-biking trails, and traveling with my lovely wife, Jade. Now I’d like to think I have gotten a little smarter. We still love to travel, but now I have traded the high-risk activities for something a little safer. I really enjoy getting out and spending time on the road bike and anxiously await the time my daughter can handle a long ride with me on her own bike. The move back to Nebraska has been a wonderful transition for me and the family; I love catching Nebraska football games, spending time at the family cabin, and remodeling our 1920s home.

Q: What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

A: Ultimately, my goal is to positively impact society by engaging in meaningful work for people and communities. Professionally, my best example of this is a project I worked on in Denver. The project was an 80-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s and required renovations within a 1920, 1954, 1956, and 2002 structure. This facility was designed to handle the most acute (and smallest) patients. Ultimately, the MEP engineering team had to flex a lot of muscle to make the project even possible. We employed four different types of mechanical systems, created a new central plant seven stories up in the air, and overcame numerous, near deal-breaking, challenges. I spent a lot of time with some of the most amazing caregivers to understand how we facilitate them to be their best. 

The project became very real and reached a crescendo when, on moving day, I watched each little baby move to the new space. To move each baby less than 500 feet within the hospital to their new NICU space, 10 members of the care team were required alongside the bassinet every step to ensure a safe transition. Being able to support these patients and families during their most vulnerable time, knowing we created a safe environment, was a great feeling and reaffirms why we, as engineers, do what we do.

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