Sharon Jozokos grew up loving art but didn’t want to pursue it as a career because she wanted something more “stable.” She turned to architecture to satisfy both desires.
However, one year into her studies at Wentworth Institute of Technology, the dean encouraged her to transfer into the construction management program because she was excelling in her engineering and math courses.
“I knew immediately it was the right direction,” says Jozokos.
She’s spent most of her career managing projects in the healthcare sector, joining Columbia Construction (North Reading, Mass.) in 2016 as director of healthcare services. She’s worked on a variety of projects, including an MRI suite at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Peabody, Mass., and a renovation and expansion at Fenway Health in Boston.
These days, she’s welcoming the trend of construction managers coming on early in the project process. “It allows us to participate in the design and user goals, help guide budget objectives, and plan the work well to minimize cost and schedule risks,” she says.
What was your first healthcare construction project?
I was an assistant project manager on the 265,000-square-foot Center for Women and Newborns at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (now called the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women and Newborns).
What lesson did you learn on that project that you still carry with you today?
How imperative teamwork is to the process and to achieving a successful outcome. At that time, I was the only woman in operations. I learned to never sit back and wait for opportunity. Being one of the very few women in the industry at that time, I worked hard at being trusted with more responsibility and was rewarded with larger project opportunities.
What’s one thing about the construction side that you wish healthcare project team members knew? How many people are actually involved down-stream, from subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, distributors, and manufacturers, that we rely on to make progress on-site happen as promised.
Two items on my desk
- Panic button. When I was working in North Africa, I bought a couple of these panic buttons for my colleague and myself as a joke. The work was so stressful and challenging, and we used the buttons for comic relief.
- Golf pin flag signed by Barbara Bush. My client, Maine Medical Center has an annual Golf Charity event for The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. As a major sponsor for many years, they gifted this to me.
Dog or cat?
I grew up with cats. Now that I have a dog, I no longer understand why anyone would own a cat! My dog, Scooby-Doo, is excited to see me, follows me around the house, and literally forces me to sit so he can curl up on my lap.
Coffee or tea?
I’m addicted to chai lattes. Anyone who has worked with me knows this. I’ve traveled the world and am always on the lookout for the perfect chai. I had a co-worker who would call me in the morning, and if it was bad news he had to convey, he always knew to ask if I had my chai yet.
Morning person or night owl?
100 percent morning person. I’m typically in bed by 9 p.m. If not, I fall asleep wherever I am.
Fiction or nonfiction?
Reading is a passion, and my favorite books tend to be historical fiction. When history is woven into a good story, I cannot put the book down (unless it’s 9 p.m.).
Window or aisle seat?
Window. I try to avoid getting up during a flight and really hate having to get up for others.
Outside the office, you’ll likely find me…
Traveling. (Pictured with family in Cape Town, South Africa.)
Weekend activity Driving my two teenage boys to soccer and lacrosse games and tournaments in the region.
Band/musical artist Currently Ed Sheeran and Train.
Guilty pleasure. Chai lattes.
App/website Amazon. Do I need to say more?
Social media outlet LinkedIn.
Snack when you travel Almonds and Life Savers Gummies.
Ice cream flavor Chocolate.
Sport Lacrosse and soccer due to my kids.
Team New England Patriots. The only team I will watch on TV.
Book “Paris” by Edward Rutherford.
Place to visit I’ve visited many countries. Seeing the pyramids in Egypt is on my bucket list.
Jozokos served as project executive for a new ambient MRI suite at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. (photo credit: John Horner)