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Five Questions With ... Aparna Bapu

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Five Questions With ... Aparna Bapu

   Bapu leads a hard hat tour for staff

By Helen Cherry
Guest Blogger

In our latest personality profile, you'll learn more about the project manager for our expansion and renovation project.

Q: As Project Manager what does your job entail?
A: I am the Owners Representative for the Rise Group, an international program management, technical services and strategy consulting company. Rise acts as the client’s advocate, for the Cleveland Museum of Art, helping the museum to meet construction deadlines and budgets through project leadership, effective decision-making and communication. I oversee the design team of Rafael Vinoly Architects and the construction managers for Panzica /Gilbane.

Q: What is your background that led up to you coming to Cleveland?
A: My family came to the U.S. from India and I grew up in Chicago where my parents, brother, his wife and my new nephew all still live. I attended the University of Illinois studying architecture and structural engineering. I spent two years teaching structural engineering at the University of Illinois Architecture Program in Versailles France. I have worked on numerous construction projects, one of my favorites being Millennium Park in my hometown of Chicago. Before starting with Rise, I worked for The Josef Gartner Company, which specializes in Atrium Construction. I was hired by Rise and moved to Cleveland in 2007. Construction of Phase 1 was just beginning at the museum.

Q: How is the project going now?
A: Meeting deadlines and budget for Phase 1 was a challenge but Phase 2, which began in 2008, is going great. I have never been on a project that has run as smoothly as the second phase! Phase 2 is on schedule with construction to be completed in 2012 and then installation of art to begin. My work should be finished up in the first quarter of 2013. The staff of the museum has been great and so appreciative of our work. They have made me feel welcome and at home.

Q: Do you enjoy living in Cleveland? 
A: Cleveland is great! I think it is a very under-appreciated city. The cost of living is unbelievable; I was able to buy a condominium on the lake in Lakewood. In Chicago, that would not have happened. Cleveland has much of what Chicago and New York have to offer on a smaller scale. University Circle is amazing with great art, music, theater, restaurants, and it is easy to get around. I go back to Chicago every two weeks but thoroughly enjoy my weekends here.

Q: What are your favorite restaurants and food?
A: Mint Café and Melt are two I really enjoy. When I want Indian food I go to Café Tandoor and Saffron Patch. I am a vegetarian and love spicy food so Samosas are my favorite. You can never go wrong with an Indian lunch buffet. For $10 you can sample lots of different dishes and decide what you would like to go back and have for dinner another time.