Editorial: 09.15.2021

Ashley Govero is Energized by the Challenges of Estimating Solar Projects

ashley govero

Ashley Govero got a jumpstart on his construction career by hanging around his dad, who worked for an excavation contractor.

“He was a superintendent who ran crews during the week and estimated on nights and weekends,” he says. “I'd tag along with him a lot and just enjoyed learning about construction.”

Those experiences convinced Govero to follow in his dad’s footsteps. “Growing up, I pretty much knew that I wanted to go into construction,” he says. “There was a brief instance when I thought maybe I'd be a firefighter, but that didn't last very long.”

After earning an engineering management degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology, he gained hands-on experience as a project manager at a few local grading, excavating and construction companies.

Govero’s introduction to Castle came while serving as a project manager on the excavation of the Lambert St. Louis International Airport expansion project. He brought Castle on as a subcontractor and began learning more about the company from former Castle Chief Operating Officer Mike Myers.                                                                                      

“The economy was changing at the time, and Castle's approach to doing work made a lot of sense,” he says.

In 2013, he signed on with Castle as a project manager and began working on grading and utility projects, including the Ford Motor Company Kentucky truck plant in Louisville, the redevelopment of Gateway Arch National Park and pedestrian trails for Great Rivers Greenway.

A couple of years later, his focus shifted to estimating the civil construction portions of solar projects, working with McCarthy’s Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) contractor team on large-scale solar installations across the U.S. His current project work includes a 264-MW solar farm in Calhoun County, Michigan, and other projects in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan.

“There are always three or four projects in play at any time, and there's a diverse group of people from across the country who contribute to these job, which is pretty neat,” he says.  

Because most solar projects involve a multi-phase procurement process that requires a series of cost estimates based on limited available information, they are uniquely challenging.

“These are very open-ended projects with not much more than a napkin sketch provided by the owners,” Govero says. “It’s like a two-dimensional puzzle where we have to fill in the blanks based on our earthwork experience and proven strategies for developing the civil aspect of the site. I really enjoy the challenge.”

He also likes helping clients get their arms around the trickiest part of every solar project: the site. “Owners can figure out the cost per watt in a heartbeat based on production and component costs, but the civil side is the variable they can’t get a handle on without our help because every site is different,” he says.

One of Govero’s favorite parts of working at Castle is the collaborative culture. “You never feel like you're working on an island,” he says. “There are always people around that you can collaborate with or just take a break and hang out with.”

He also appreciates the company’s commitment to work-life balance. “They want us to enjoy time away from work and encourage us to do so.”

Outside the office, he and his wife stay busy shuttling their three kids—ages 11 to 15—to volleyball, basketball, track, cross country and wrestling events. The family is also involved in Immanuel Lutheran Church & School in St. Charles.

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