- Construction Management
With 25 years of experience and a rewarding career as a superintendent for the pharmaceutical industry, construction management graduate Anthony Detweiler credits his Penn College education for where he is today.
TAKING THE LEAD
Q&A with Anthony
HOW DID YOU KNOW CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT WAS THE CAREER PATH FOR YOU?
I didn’t know immediately. I was interested in a program that was a hybrid of engineering and a tradesman. I experienced architectural CAD Design in high school and stumbled onto the Construction Management program at Penn College. As I progressed through the course, I became more and more convinced that the industry was for me. I enjoyed seeing how the management practices were part of the construction industry and I saw the ever-growing possibilities in residential or commercial construction. The idea of looking back on each day and seeing work in progress and ultimately seeing projects through to completion piqued my interest.
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
I currently work for my second employer since graduating from Penn College, IPS-Integrated Project Services, LLC based out of the corporate headquarters in Blue Bell, PA. I work in the southeast PA and NJ region for major pharmaceutical companies.
WHAT FASCINATES YOU ABOUT YOUR FIELD?
Every project I work on has a direct impact on human illness threats that pharmaceutical companies are determined to find medicine to cure or improve the quality of life for the greater population globally. Who knew that construction industry niches, like what I am a part of, have such a potential impact on the world?
WHAT GIVES YOU THE GREATEST SATISFACTION WITH YOUR JOB?
I get to do something different each day and try not to spend too much time behind a computer. I often get to see the end-to-end process from design inception through commissioning efforts and turnover of a building facility that will impact society in ways I can’t imagine.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS CONSIDERING A CAREER IN YOUR FIELD?
There are so many options and opportunities in the construction management field from working for general contractors and subcontractors to clients and owners. The demand for professional construction management personnel is way bigger than the supply of young, educated employees getting into the industry lately and there doesn’t seem to be any let-up of that soon. The work is extremely rewarding and provides a sense of accomplishment as you get to the end of a project.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE PENN COLLEGE?
It fit my budget to pay for college on my own at the time. As a young school, and before rising tuition costs, Penn College was the most practical. It was also located at the distance I could commute home regularly for weekends to help my family farm business.
HOW DID THE HANDS-ON APPROACH AT PENN COLLEGE SET YOU UP FOR SUCCESS?
The Construction Management (BCM) program is as hands-on as the next management curriculum. We worked on specific technical abilities that were used in the business and provided a practical learning experience that is used regularly by all contractors. The BCM program prepares students to be marketable in the construction management field and able to get a head start on most other engineering students who move into the construction positions.
HOW DID PENN COLLEGE PREPARE YOU TO EXCEL IN YOUR CAREER FIELD?
Penn College professors taught real-life skills on topics used in the business and provided an understanding of those processes that most engineering schools never touch on. The professors I had worked in the industry and knew what they were teaching and explained why it was important. It’s always well received when real-life experience accompanies the academic delivery process.
WHAT'S SOMETHING COOL YOU'RE WORKING ON OR HAVE WORKED ON?
Being in the pharmaceutical construction industry, I’ve worked on multiple new expansions, renovations & new ground-up buildings that house manufacturing operations for different stages of medicine manufacturing like the Rotavirus vaccine, Varicella vaccine, HPV vaccine, and more recently, a Dengue fever vaccine.
I’ve managed aspects of a Covid-19 vaccine syringe filling line and contributed to a project that worked to provide a vaccine to the world. I’m currently working on a research facility that will be one step in the process for small-scale organics that is intended to contribute and progress toward clinical studies and trials for a new type of cancer treatment in the future.
IF SOMEONE WERE INTERESTED IN PENN COLLEGE, WHAT MIGHT YOU TELL THEM?
Penn College provided me with an education that I was able to use immediately upon graduation. Employers were pleasantly surprised that I was provided a solid overview of the main technical abilities and understandings of practices used in the industry.
REFLECTING ON YOUR TIME AT PENN COLLEGE, WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST?
The school provided a workload that allowed me to enjoy myself and yet was disciplined enough to ensure that expectations were met academically. There were endless amounts of great staff that were easy to talk to and humble. The faculty and staff went out of their way to provide support and direction when students asked. They were real people and went beyond my expectations of a faculty staff position.
Take the lead in the boardroom and on the job site, running all types of construction projects from small to large.
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