In 2015, Southland’s Executive Leadership Team tasked the organization’s leadership development and research team, Built to Lead V, with a goal of creating a strategy to motivate, educate, and empower our people to embrace lean thinking as a way of life.

As a company, we’ve been practicing lean concepts on our projects, holding leadership roles on integrated project delivery (IPD) jobs, and integrating lean thinking and our information technology accelerated projects. However, using lean in all aspects of our everyday actions and spreading them companywide will be a vital process for Southland. We know that when a team is on board with instilling lean practices and everyone’s thinking is aligned with lean project delivery methods, our teams and our customers receive the best value.

While some of our divisions are further ahead with their lean journey than others, we have found a need to foster companywide knowledge and create structure. Based on the Built to Lead V team’s findings, we are currently in the beginning stages of our lean journey to standardize work and continuously improve.

Standardizing processes allows our leaders within our offices and on our job sites to create an environment where our employees are able to see a demand for an improvement. The idea behind this is that once a need for an improvement is found, our employees can demand the change immediately. If an interruption in a process is found, our teams instantly know where to move next without any hiccups. This allows us to continuously improve our processes and make each project our best one yet.

With our lean journey currently underway, we realize that our end goal is to continuously improve. This journey is about teaching our employees what they are doing and why, training them on how to react when situations go awry, and keeping the conversation going so that when processes do go wrong we know the process is not designed properly, and adjustments must be made.  We understand that this journey will never end, and we can always do better. Knowing this allows us to continuously improve our growing company and commit to our clients on a personal level. The end goal is to move our management positions from a defensive position to an offensive one, and create an opportunity to add more value for our customers.


  • Chuck Allen

    Executive Vice President, Operational Excellence

    As Executive Vice President of Operational Excellence, Mr. Allen leads Southland’s lean and process improvement initiatives with a focus on continuous improvement. Overseeing the company’s dedicated commitment to creating a lean culture, he facilitates best practice sharing, planning, and implementation efforts that ultimately lead to increased efficiencies, effectiveness, and profitability. With more than 25 years of experience in design-build mechanical engineering and construction, Mr. Allen is able to provide unrivaled operational support across the organization. Previously, he was responsible for the development of five of Southland’s regional construction divisions, served as a division leader, and led Southland’s advanced technologies efforts, as well as functioned as chief operating officer. Focusing his expertise on design-build projects within the government, healthcare, hospitality, and commercial market sectors, Mr. Allen has contributed immensely to the overall success of the company. He has helped lead some of Southland's most important projects to noteworthy outcomes, including the historic renovation of the Pentagon Wedges 2-5 in the nation's capital, as well as Kaiser Downey Hospital in Downey, California. Mr. Allen received a bachelor's degree in building construction from Virginia Tech. He has served on Southland's Board of Directors since 2005.

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