Hylan is pleased to announce that our very own Rob Schaffer has been appointed as our Western Utility division’s new General Manager. Rob, who began working with Western Utility as an Estimator in 2010, is eager to begin his new leadership role and has big plans for the future. His extensive industry experience and the opportunities he has had to work in various stages of the construction process throughout his career make him a valuable asset as Western Utility’s new GM.
With former roles such as Area Manager, Senior Project Manager and Director of Operations for Western Utility, Rob brings an impressive amount of hands-on experience to his new position as GM. In addition to his positions held at Western Utility, Rob also took two years to work as an engineer for a sanitary district in Illinois where he completed his Professional Engineer (PE) license. He returned to Western as a Senior Project Manager just ahead of Hylan’s acquisition of the company in 2018. This experience gives him a valuable perspective: Rob feels both Hylan and Western Utility have very similar histories, making the transition to working with the other three Hylan divisions smooth and allows the companies to remain competitive.
Rob has cited the fast and ever-changing pace of the construction industry as his favorite aspect of the business. The changing locations and unique challenges faced on a daily basis make for a stimulating and interesting work environment. Solving the various puzzles with the Western Utility team makes the day-to-day experience enjoyable.
“I am really excited to serve as Western Utility’s General Manager,” he says. “With [former President] Tim Hayes departing the company, I definitely have some big shoes to fill but I am looking forward to the opportunity and have already been active in most of the GM responsibilities aside from the back office. I have a great team of foremen, superintendents, project managers, and administrative support to help me.”
“My current focus is streamlining and efficiency; I have a goal to be completely digital on the project management and accounting side by June 1st,” Rob continues. “We have already begun eliminating duplicative processes, utilizing cloud-based resources, redistributing workload, etc. and hope to improve our capacity without backfilling some recent position openings.”
The pace of utility expansion shows no signs of slowing, which is why Rob feels it necessary to streamline these internal operations; Western Utility needs to be ready to move quickly and mobilize into new territories as networks grow. As for the future of Western Utility, Rob predicts a rise in private fiber projects for municipalities and 5G infrastructure. There are already a number of these projects under way with Hylan / Western Utility; and in the case of 5G, Rob notes that we are severely lacking infrastructure. This is a huge growth opportunity for Hylan as a whole; building widely available infrastructure is necessary for the success of 5G and this trend will spread across the country as the 5G rollout continues.