Making the Right Call
Making the Right Call
Making the Right Call
2 minute read

Wes Hardin has found himself in a position as an innovator, providing projects with management software in the form of OneTouchPM, Burns & McDonnell's integrated 3-D program management tool.

Wes Hardin is used to making tough calls. From his first job as an umpire to coaching football to running his own company, he has proven that he’s a take-charge kind of guy. Since joining Burns & McDonnell in 2004, Hardin has taken on a new moniker — innovator. As national product manager for OneTouchPM® the company’s integrated, 3­-D program management tool, he has led the effort to develop the product, designed to simplify project management for all stakeholders.

Changing Paths

Although Hardin’s background is in engineering — he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia and began his career as
an engineer at Kansas City Power & Light — he always had an itch to start his own company. With a master’s degree in business administration emphasizing entrepreneurship from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Bloch School of Business, he seized an opportunity in 1996 to form, with a partner, Danara Technical Group, a large-scale scanning and data integration business.

There, Hardin found his niche. He developed his talent for leveraging the latest technology to convert legacy data into modern GIS and CAD applications. That expertise led him to Burns & McDonnell and the genesis of OneTouchPM.

In a nutshell, OneTouchPM organizes all of a project’s data into a single, user-friendly interface. “We accomplish this by linking into any and all source applications associated with a project and translating the data into a common format,” Hardin says. “Work products can be shared with everyone in near real-time and in a common platform, allowing easy communication across disciplines.”

Using Google Earth Enterprise, OneTouchPM creates a geospatially accurate platform that anyone with a web connection can access. For example, users working an electrical transmission line project can select a component, such as a transmission tower, and with one click find out what type of structure it is, when it will be constructed or whose property it is on.

The Birth of OneTouchPM

Hardin’s initial concept began as an effort to help manage schedules on Northeast Utilities’ $1.4 billion Middletown|Norwalk Bulk Transmission Project. Burns & McDonnell was the program manager for construction of the 69-mile, 345-kV transmission line through heavily populated southwest Connecticut.

Hardin discovered the project needed a way to effectively track public information and concerns. Data was being collected but was not readily accessible to project staff in the field.

Hardin and Brett Williams, the associate vice president who heads the Burns & McDonnell New England office, collaborated to define the desired output.

Hardin developed his talent for leveraging the latest technology to convert legacy data into modern GIS and CAD applications. That expertise led him to Burns & McDonnell and the genesis of OneTouchPM.

“We rolled out the first version of OneTouchPM in a few weeks, and our volume of field issues went from 15 or 20 events per week to two or three practically overnight,” Williams says. “Our project managers began making additional requests to track material and deliveries, environmental hot spots and real-time schedule progress. Wes worked tirelessly to enhance the capabilities of OneTouchPM to meet our needs.”

In the end, the tool was instrumental in reducing construction delays and saving costs. The project was completed a full year ahead of schedule.

Beyond Transmission

OneTouchPM has been adapted for other uses, including tracking rainfall in the Everglades and assisting with cleanup of an oil spill in Michigan. Hardin worked with Enbridge, an energy distribution company, to implement OneTouchPM.

“The use of OneTouchPM during our response enabled Enbridge personnel who were not in Michigan to come up to speed on the project conditions and provide informed knowledgeable input without traveling to the site,” says Tom Fridel, general manager of Enbridge’s Chicago region. “It provided a real-time evaluation of what was occurring no matter where you were located, which was extremely valuable and cost saving. In addition, we now have a time-based archive of all the cleanup efforts and site data.”

Taking OneTouchPM beyond its initial purpose was Hardin’s call in response to Burns & McDonnell client needs. It’s the entrepreneur in him.

“Wes is the driving force behind OneTouchPM,” says Jeff Greig, vice president of the Business & Technology Services Group at Burns & McDonnell. “The power of what he created is the visualization. You no longer have to search through pages and pages of project information; it’s all available in a visual dashboard format.”

Contact Wes Hardin at 816-822-4361.

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