Neil is the leader of FTI’s construction solutions practice in the Americas. Neil’s practice specialises in analysing disputes on large industrial construction projects in the oil and gas, mining, and power generation sectors. Neil has been appointed as delay or quantum expert on more than 75 occasions and provided oral testimony subject to cross-examination over 25 times. Neil is based in Atlanta, but regularly works throughout the Americas.
What motivated you to specialise in the field of construction?
Being a mechanical engineer by training, construction was a field that allowed me to satisfy my technical curiosity, but also enter one of the world’s largest industries. From new technologies to economic trends, the industry is always adapting and dynamic – which makes it very interesting.
What qualities make for a successful expert witness?
Persistence. Objectivity. Composure.
How do you prepare for a testifying case?
Preparation is a process. It starts with engaging, at the outset, with a rigorous analysis of the facts of each case to understand the case issues.
It also requires listening – to counsel, your client and the opposing side of the dispute to independently cut through what is argument and what is materially relevant to the opinions I am asked to render. In the world of high-stakes disputes, testifying as an expert witness requires that you see the full picture of the dispute and recognise that there are several different viewpoints in any situation.
What is the most memorable case you have been a part of?
I was involved in an international arbitration with hundreds of millions in dispute between the parties. During the evidentiary hearing, I thought our case was well founded and went well. However, you never know if the Tribunal will see things your way. In this particular case, the award went as I had hoped and the best result was that several jobs were saved by salvaging a bad situation into a positive result.
As senior managing director and leader of the Americas for FTI, what are your main priorities for the group’s development over the next five years?
Since I joined FTI in 2007, our global construction practice has experienced tremendous growth, including our existing business in the United States and expansion into new geographic regions. In the next five years, we plan to continue that growth by investing in our people – which is our most important asset.
What significant trends are you noticing in the construction market at the moment?
Given the uncertainty of global trade, I see that uncertainty flowing down to our clients in terms of hesitancy in initiating new projects.
I also see in the Americas that the lack of young professionals entering the construction field is thinning the ranks of management of construction firms – although market demand is growing. This will be a challenge for the industry to deal with this “brain drain” going forward.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Put your head down and figure it out. Most challenges can be solved with hard work.
Global Elite Thought Leader Neil Gaudion is a “market leader” and “one of the most recognisable figures in the United States”.
Neil Gaudion is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting and leader of its construction solutions practice in the Americas. Mr Gaudion has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, with a particular emphasis in industrial construction including the oil and gas, mining, power and chemicals sectors. Mr Gaudion has diverse project experience, having worked in multiple jurisdictions in North America, Latin America and Africa.
Mr Gaudion has acted as delay expert in numerous large construction disputes in US and Canadian court proceedings, as well as international arbitrations administered by the AAA, ICC, UNITRAL and other forums. In this capacity, Mr Gaudion has quantified the effects of delay on numerous process facilities (the in mining, oil and gas and chemical sectors), power generation facilities, and many large infrastructure projects.
In addition, Mr Gaudion also has frequently served as quantum expert related to additional costs associated with disruption, acceleration and reduced labour productivity. Mr Gaudion's combination of technical and financial skills allow him to substantively evaluate the cause and effect nature of disruption and labour productivity claims.
Mr Gaudion also regularly consults with clients regarding projects in cost and/or schedule distress. Mr Gaudion's unique problem-solving skills, and his ability to identify the root causes of cost and schedule problems and implement efficient strategies to course-correct, have provided him with numerous clients who rely on him as an ongoing and trusted adviser to their construction portfolios.
He is certified as a cost professional, and a planning and scheduling professional by AACE; and as a chartered quantity surveyor. He is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.