Ryan Meeks: Intel, Quality Program Manager

Highlighting Innovative Quality Executives in Construction

Highlighting Innovative Quality Executives in Construction

Ryan Meeks, Quality Program Manager at Intel

How did you get into construction?

When I was a teenager, I liked to play with things like fire and metal. This pushed me towards welding school when I was 19. When I was in school, we had a company called Purity Systems that came around to recruit for new inspectors they could bring into the pharmaceutical industry. I started my career with them spending nine years doing pharmaceutical inspections on high purity tubing.

In between, I taught welding for about 5 years. Funny enough, I learned more from teaching than I ever did taking classes.

If you want to learn something well - teach it.

From there, I did some general industry inspection on things like food grade industrial. Eventually, I wound up at Intel as a contractor with one of their QC’s. After about two years, the quality manager at Intel convinced me to come to Intel direct. I’ve been here since 2019 where I oversee the quality management of multiple technology development sites.

You’ve worked for both the owner side and the contractor side. What is the biggest difference that you’ve seen working from these two perspectives?

I would say the biggest difference is the influence and ownership. As a contractor you’re focused on doing high-quality work and the bottom line. As a sub-contractor, you’re focused on ensuring things are up to spec and code. For both, your level of influence is dependent upon how the owner wants the work done.

Working for the owner, you have much more influence in the outcome of the product. It’s helpful being in the owner’s seat to have a direct influence on how things are done versus having to rely on someone else’s direction. You have more ownership around the outcome, which is something I’ve enjoyed.

What are some of your best practices to ensure quality in a project?

The most important thing is ensuring that quality is involved upfront in the project. We want to make sure that they’re involved from the time the project starts through the commissioning phase. We want to make sure they’re in the design reviews or BIM model reviews, making sure they meet spec and code requirement.

We’ve seen errors on the design packages where if someone is in a hurry, they might just copy and paste from another design. We’re catching those up front, which saves a lot of time on the back end doing inspections, RFI’s, etc. We’ve really moved the needle to the left a lot over the past few years which has been probably the biggest help in getting us more efficient.

This process of involving quality upfront has also allowed us to track every inspection that we do along the way. Everything from designer view up to final inspections is tracked and logged. We share this data across the globe. We have the ability to track work down to the specific foreman or people doing the design. This way, we can get a sense of what good looks like and how we can lift other professionals who may need more help.

This allows us to enable better collaboration across the globe, leveraging data that has typically been fragmented.

Any final thoughts?

I’m excited to see how much the quality industry has evolved. It’s gone from being seen as a necessary evil to being much more collaborative. Instead of feeling like the projects are being policed, there’s a clearer sense of alignment. Especially seeing how our processes have improved by including quality upfront, not just for the quality team but for the construction project as a whole.

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