Chris Macbeth: mechanical engineer and PMI-certified technical project manager

Chris Macbeth recently joined Czero as a technical project manager, bringing 35 years of cross-functional experience, macro-to-micro systems thinking and an appetite for meaningful creative work that makes an exceptional fit for our team. An experienced mechanical engineer with PMI project management certification, Chris spent the last decade managing complex, large-scale capital engineering projects, from concept through commissioning.

He began his career as a machinist and engineering technician, working in the field for 15 years before pursuing an engineering degree at Colorado State University (CSU). He then worked at HP, improving high-volume manufacturing processes for consumer electronics, followed by a number of years at Agilent, designing sophisticated electromechanical test systems.

Interested in a new kind of challenge, Chris then joined Solix Biofuels (now Solix Algredients), where he managed engineering projects including the nine-month, fast-track build of a 4-acre algae bioreactor demonstration facility—which Czero helped engineer—on Southern Ute tribal lands near Durango, Colorado.

Most recently, Chris worked for Agrium U.S., Inc., one of the world’s largest fertilizer producers, managing development of a new 17,000 square foot R&D facility in Greeley, Colorado. As he had done for the Solix facility, Chris brought Agrium’s Greeley build to completion both early and under budget—no small achievement for a complex $11 million project with nearly 100 stakeholders.

Now at Czero, Chris is managing our ARPA-E funded project with CSU and the Colorado School of Mines, designing and building a national facility for testing methane emissions sensors.

His practical framework for keeping projects on track

Chris attributes his success completing projects on time and within budget to a number of factors: systems thinking; planning with the right level of granularity; proactive intervention; flexibility; humility; and a holistic view of what project management means.

I think of any project as a machine in motion. I make sure all the parts are synchronized, operating smoothly and moving in the same direction. If something causes it to get out of sync, the earlier we can correct it the better.

If a project does need course correction, I never assume I know all the answers. We need to understand not only the root cause of what’s off track but also what’s important to the people involved. Then we can find ways to meet their needs and still get everything done.

Considering both human and business realities is essential for keeping projects running smoothly, within budget and on schedule.

—Chris Macbeth
Engineering Project Manager, Czero