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Employee Spotlight: Patrick Weller

J.S. Held’s Inaugural Global Risk Report Examines Potential Business Risks & Opportunities in 2024

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June 17, 2021
 
Patrick Weller, Senior Consultant – Surety Services
Patrick Weller, Senior Consultant – Surety Services

What truly differentiates J.S. Held is our people — world-class talent driven by a common set of core values. Together, these shared values inspire a culture of integrity, excellence, teamwork, and service.

 

Patrick Weller joined J.S. Held in 2019 as part of the Benchmark Consulting Services acquisition. Based out of Newport Beach, California, Patrick is a Senior Consultant within our Surety Practice consulting on matters involving surety claims investigations, pre-and post-default, construction project management, surety underwriter support, and takeover/tendering assistance and monitoring. “I primarily handle claims filed against payment and performance bonds issued by our surety clients on behalf of general contractors and subcontractors,” says Patrick. “Though we’re based in California, I handle these types of claims on many different types of construction projects throughout the Western United States.”

Patrick describes himself as “enthusiastic and optimistic, perhaps even a bit overoptimistic.” He enjoys digging into the latest file and starting new projects. Still, by the time a surety gets involved in a project, it typically means something has already gone awry. Understandably, Patrick enters the case at a point where clients are usually worried or anxious. “It helps to be able to balance realism and optimism in these situations,” Patrick explains, “That way, clients get reassurance but also reliable expectations.”

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“Patrick has many great qualities that make him an invaluable part of our group. He can always be depended upon to respond to our clients’ varying needs and trusted to provide excellent work product regardless of the task. Not only does Patrick have a tremendous work ethic, he never looks for shortcuts. One of his most impressive attributes is his ability to absorb complex concepts and effectively communicate them to our clients. Simply put, he is great at what he does and couldn’t be more enjoyable to work with.”

Richard Tropp | Vice President – Surety Services | Newport Beach, CA

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Background

Patrick received his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering from North Dakota State University. “In high school, I sat down with a guidance counselor for five minutes and was quickly advised toward construction engineering since I was good at math and had been working at a lumber yard,” he says. After college, he became a LEED Accredited Professional and studied Solar PV Design and Installation. “I took an internship in California with a company doing private negotiated construction work. It clashed with the engineering background because in that field, everything had been pretty black and white.”

Regardless, Patrick stayed on for five years before venturing into public works. “In that realm, I didn’t need the ‘salesmanship’ skills of my previous job as much,” he recalls, “but I did eventually end up in surety, where I was able to use a balance of engineering and negotiating experience. I hadn’t known that such a role was even possible, and it ended up being a great fit.”

The company Patrick worked for most recently was acquired by J.S. Held in 2019. “My two bosses, both partners in the prior firm, had exhibited good judgment and taken care of their employees, so coming on board was an easy decision.” Presently, Patrick specializes in performance bond claim analysis, construction project management, project loss and cost to complete estimating, payment bond reviews, delay analysis, and claim preparation and defense planning. He is also currently an Engineer in Training pursuing his Professional Engineering License.

Professional Interests

On a typical day, Patrick works on behalf of surety companies in situations where a project-in-progress is at risk of failing or where a contractor is going bankrupt, failing to meet a schedule or to pay downstream to suppliers. The role involves a balance of in-office work as well as being on-site, where a big part of his day-to-day consists of monitoring the completion stages of complex construction projects.

“It’s split into two worlds,” explains Patrick, “There’s the performance side and the payment side. For a performance claim, we look at schedules and change orders and other claims going upstream. We look at subcontractors’ documents on the payment side when they don’t get paid or materials suppliers who didn’t get paid. We go through the documentation and try to find a way to settle those claims.” When these situations don’t initially settle, Patrick and his team can also get involved in mediation and arbitration.

Mediation, Patrick says, is one of the more exciting aspects of the job. “I like getting to peek into the world of law now and again. I notice that there are usually three versions of every story. One side, the other side, and, of course, the truth.” Personalities can also make these situations even more complex. “Clients don’t always have the same expectations,” he says, “Some are more focused on accounting, some on construction. Some have ideas about what key questions need to be asked, and others are surprised at the level of investigation needed.”

Travel comes into play quite often, as Patrick’s team handles projects all over the Western United States. Getting on-site to do the job isn’t always a simple matter, either. “We had a case one time involving a train ‘car wash’ for a major metropolitan railway,” Patrick says. “The case itself was simple, and there wasn’t much to the site. Just walls, hoses, and blowers, but it was all in the middle of a large trainyard, meaning you had things like electrified rails surrounding you. Before the investigation, we needed to get safety clearance and certification, and everything needed to be on-site. We got to see much more of what went on in that environment than you would normally expect.”

 
Employee Spotlight: Patrick Weller
Employee Spotlight: Patrick Weller

Personal Interests

Patrick started running half-marathons in his spare time about 10 years ago, but recently traded in the interest for backpacking. “I got bored pretty quickly, especially with the speed I was going,” he says. “Luckily, I was able to transition to road biking and back-pack hiking, which offered better scenery.” Patrick recalls watching a documentary about the John Muir Trail with his wife and family, which ultimately inspired them to hike its entire length. “We were able to do the entire 230 miles over three years.”

When he is not biking or backpacking, Patrick spends most of his time with his wife, three kids, and their labradoodle. Patrick also enjoys projects around their semi-remodeled house.

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“Taking the right risks can bring us out of our comfort zone to see places, be with people, and experience events that change who we are and what we do with the world around us.”

Patrick Weller, Senior Consultant – Surety Services | Newport Beach, CA

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Contact

Are you interested in learning more about Patrick Weller? Send him an email at [email protected] or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 
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