Employee Spotlight: Matt Baker
Name: Matt Baker
Title: Project Manager
Brief Professional Biography: Matt has been involved in construction since high school and college where he spent his summers building custom homes. He joined the commercial construction industry in 2001 and has been with Lewis since 2007. Matt holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University. Currently, Matt is project manager for the 158th and Baseline housing project, renovations at the Moda Center, as well as a variety of other higher-education and private development pursuits in Portland.
Q: Before joining Lewis you worked for larger, multi-national construction firms. What drew you to Lewis?
A: After moving around and working for larger firms, I came to value a company that was local and personal. With Lewis, I learned that I was not just a number and that my contributions visibly impacted the company. As a result of the type of work that Lewis pursues and the reasoning behind those pursuits, I also quickly learned that Lewis’ business model is one that is driven by shared company values. I appreciate the fact that Lewis cares more about the client and doing the right thing than just the legal and monetary aspects of business. I wanted a place to settle down and enjoy my work, and that’s exactly what I found.
Q: Talk about your views on the importance of family and community involvement.
A: Ultimately, I believe in living for a cause greater than myself. My wife and I share that belief and one of the ways we have personified that is through our involvement with foster care. It was through foster care that we were blessed with the adoption of our four precious children. It is through our kids that we’ve been humbled to learn what is most important in life, and how to truly love. On Christmas last year, we were able to take our kids to the Portland Foster Hotel and serve the homeless dinner. My wife and kids also serve in our home town clothing closet as well as deliver food baskets from the Oregon Food Bank. Amongst the challenges of daily life and parenting, these experiences serving others have been some of the most fulfilling for us as a family.
Q: What attracted you to the construction industry?
A: Ever since I was young, I’ve been drawn to building. It wasn’t until I got the chance to work on a custom home crew in high school that I realized that building was for me. The variety of work, tangibility of my labor, and the high-paced activities was completely fulfilling. Early in my career I worked in Hawaii where general contractors are responsible for a significant amount of self-performed scope and my skills as a problem-solver and constructor were refined. In my interview with our CEO Bart Ricketts, I asked if Lewis preferred to self-perform. With his answer of a resounding ‘yes,’ I knew Lewis was the right place for me and that my skills would be put to good use.
Q: You manage projects both in Portland and in the South Willamette Valley. How do you effectively manage your project teams in balance with your office obligations?
A: First off, I have a deep loyalty to my team members. On each project, my team’s morale and performance is paramount, and I will do anything to help them succeed and have fun at work while they understand my priority for a family life. I make every effort to work onsite with my team. My teams always know that I will set aside time to talk, pick up the phone, or engage in a joke. When I establish this type of relationship with my team members, I can attend to other tasks outside the jobsite with confidence that my team is driving toward our common goal.