Keeping Up with Senior Project Manager Ryan Bluhm
Managing multiple projects in different stages of development as well as supervising his design and engineering staff, Ryan Bluhm has no problem staying busy as a senior project manager for the Land Division in Minneapolis. His work involves designing infrastructure/site plans for new residential projects for private sector clients throughout the Twin Cities area. Residential developments include single- and multi-family homes, apartment facilities, and town homes.
With over 23 years of experience, Ryan enjoys the challenges that each site brings and working with clients to provide cost-effective solutions. “Before we begin design in earnest, we always look for ways to match the proposed site plan to the existing topography to help minimize grading and keep costs down,” he shares. “We also provide surveying and environmental due diligence to prevent any surprises that might arise later and potentially delay construction.”
Keeping abreast of new and changing trends in site development is also part of the job for Ryan. Some of the trends he sees in residential site development include:
- stormwater reuse systems, which harvest and store excess runoff to use as irrigation for yards;
- association-maintained communities, which offer low-maintenance living with provided yard care and shoveling; and
- single-family homes built with slab-on-grade foundations with no basements.
Working closely with clients, solving problems, and mentoring his team is what Ryan enjoys as a project manager. “Unexpected issues may arise that demand immediate attention,” he explains. “I love thinking on my feet and working closely with clients to develop solutions, while also keeping costs to a minimum.”
One of the biggest challenges with site design is stormwater management. Minnesota has many Watershed Districts that manage permitting for development on a property. Ryan and his team have developed strong working relationships with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies and work closely with them during the permitting process. “Land area is at a premium, so being creative with our stormwater designs helps preserve area for our projects,” notes Ryan. “There are many options for stormwater BMPs. We balance the size and expense of these solutions with each project to yield the best result.”
Leading through Avonlea’s Stream Modification and Stormwater Routing
A particularly challenging and rewarding project that Ryan worked on was the site design for a large residential development in Lakeville, Minnesota. Avonlea consists of a multi-phased development of 834 single family homes and 247 multi-family homes on 405 acres. Ryan led the team through design and permitting for a stream modification, management and routing of offsite stormwater runoff through the site, and overcoming the overall poor soil conditions.
The initial development phase included plans for 240 homes. Five phases are now complete with the design ongoing to complete the remaining 40% of the project. “I have been with this project from its beginning in 2013,” says Ryan. “It’s very satisfying to see a home development of this size through to the end. Everyone on the team should be proud of this project, as a lot of hard work went into it.”
While away from his work as a leader and shareholder within Westwood, Ryan enjoys golfing, reading, working out, and spending time with family.