Broadway Bridge, Arkansas River

Garver USA

Garver - Consultant - Owners Rep - SmartPM Customer


Since 1919, Garver has been on the ground floor of the highways, bridges, airport runways, and water treatment plants that our communities need to grow and prosper. What started as a one-person engineering firm with a short list of projects, has evolved into a leading multi-disciplined engineering and consulting firm impacting communities across the country

Today, Garver is an employee-owned multi-disciplined engineering, planning, architectural, and environmental services firm with 36 offices and more than 900 employees across the United States. Garver offers a wide range of services focused on aviation, construction, facilities design, federal, survey, transportation, water, and wastewater

Chris Taylor spent much of his career working in the transportation sector for the Arkansas Department of Transportation as an engineer.  He joined Garver in May 2020 as part of Garver’s Construction Scheduling Team for their transportation division. In less than two years, Chris has seen Garver add five more offices, with plans to add at least two more in 2022. 



DOT construction has its own unique set of challenges that can vary by state. But one of the biggest challenges, across the board, is time. In the DOT world, the #1 cause of delays are change orders. Many of these projects span over four or five years and determining if a change order, from a year ago, caused the delay is a very manual time-consuming process.

According to Chris, he’s had “contractors go back and change actual dates in the schedule calendars from five or six updates prior just to make an impact look worse than it was.”  This is a common occurrence in construction, and often takes weeks and weeks pouring over spreadsheets, running macros, printing calendars and comparing them at each update cycle, just to make sense of the information. Despite his painstaking, time-consuming efforts, there was always data that couldn’t be accessed at all. The delay in providing concrete evidence to contractors–proving causation–often leads to arguments and claims. 

With more and more projects on the horizon, Chris began looking for alternatives to Garver’s, mostly, manual process of analyzing schedules and changes.




Chris first heard about SmartPM when he joined Garver. A couple of schedulers were using it to analyze time impacts (TIA), so Chris decided to check it out for himself. He missed the initial onboarding, but found that he was able to navigate through the software relatively easily. He was also impressed that all of the data he was missing was right there. In fact, the analytics that normally took him months to calculate were instantly calculated with every schedule update.  Because the metrics are mathematically calculated from data, all of the results are unbiased.  

Based on these initial results, Chris realized that SmartPM was being underutilized and reached out to SmartPM’s customer success team. He began meeting with them regularly to ask questions and learn more and more about the product as well as gain more insight into the very foundation of the Critical Path Method (CPM), from which all scheduling software programs are derived.  

We have completely changed our process. I’m spending less than half my time on schedules and reviews.”

Chris Taylor

Lead Scheduler



SmartPM inspired Chris to start changing Garver’s schedule management process. The time savings alone provided immediate results. Before SmartPM, one scheduler was able to  manage 3-4 projects, and now they’re managing 7-8 projects at a time. 

As mentioned, change orders are the #1 cause of delays and proving one is a root cause of a delay is always a struggle . . . until SmartPM. Armed with the critical insights SmartPM now provided Garver, the company was able to show clients the huge impact their change management process was having on delays: it was taking their clients months to negotiate change orders! SmartPM’s delay analysis was able to show the impacts to their projects through visual data and graphs. From that point on, there were no more arguments: Garver’s change order process became faster and more efficient. 

Since bringing SmartPM onboard, Chris has been promoted into Co-Lead for the Scheduling Team and oversees all of the work they do for Kansas DOT and Texas DOT, as well as assisting with the work they do for Arkansas DOT.  

Garver understands that the metrics and analyses generated through SmartPM provide value to all parties involved in their projects. According to Chris, most stakeholders don’t have access to Microsoft Project or P6, and SmartPM allows everyone to see the data in one place. Being able to see important project metrics on the Dashboard generates meaningful conversations between stakeholders they couldn’t have before because they didn’t understand enough about schedules to know what they were seeing. SmartPM translates schedule data so it makes sense to everyone, not just the schedulers.

SmartPM has made such an impact at Garver it’s now to be their competitive advantage. Chris recalls a phone call from his boss, Mark (last name) title, after a presentation to a potential client. Mark was asked what set Garver apart from their competitors. His answer was “SmartPM.” According to Chris, SmartPM usually comes up in every presentation because Garver includes metrics generated by SmartPM. Being able to provide more data has proved to be a big advantage for Garver.

When Chris first logged into SmartPM, his goal was to save time in the schedule management process. What he actually found was that SmartPM provides more than just a time savings–it has changed Garver’s entire process and has more than doubled their productivity. SmartPM has also helped their partners become more efficient, creating a culture of transparency and collaboration between all parties involved on the project(s). Garver is continuing to add SmartPM to more of their projects, with plans to leverage SmartPM on their projects in other sectors.  

I’ve learned a lot from SmartPM. From a scheduling standpoint and from a claim standpoint.  I feel like I have had personal and professional growth from utilizing SmartPM.”

Chris Taylor

Lead Scheduler