- Construction Management
After graduating from Penn College with a bachelor’s in Construction Management, Tom began working for one of the country’s top builders. His hands-on skills and work ethic were immediately recognized and rewarded. Today he’s serving as assistant superintendent and thriving alongside a team he’s proud to call his own.
TAKING THE LEAD
Q&A with Tom
HOW DID YOU KNOW CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT WAS THE CAREER PATH FOR YOU?
I have always been a hands-on, outdoor, active person who gets great satisfaction learning how to build and fix things. Ever since I can remember, my parents took the time to teach me handyman skills, as well as life skills and guide me to the rank of Eagle Scout.
I wasn’t sure if college was the right move for me, but while researching construction degrees, I came across Construction Management. At the time, I had no idea that I could go to college to learn about estimating, surveying, safety, BIM, contracts, and drawings. After learning that, I decided to pursue this career.
WHAT FASCINATES YOU ABOUT YOUR FIELD?
What fascinates me is the fact that every day is different, and I get to work with amazing people from all walks of life and come together for a common goal: Get the job done safely, on time, and on budget.
Our jobsite environment is consistently changing and I think it’s really gratifying to constantly adapt and push forward to do the best you can as well as to have a chance to learn something new around every corner. Construction is evolving every day with new technologies, whether it comes to production or safety, and I love the idea that we as an industry, are always in the pursuit of making it better, faster, and safer.
WHAT GIVES YOU THE GREATEST SATISFACTION WITH YOUR JOB?
Seven years ago I set a goal for myself of where I would be and what I would be doing and I have far exceeded my expectations. In my opinion, it’s uncommon these days to say that I have a specific degree and am working in that field using that knowledge every day. The work we do is engaging and uses skills that I learned at Penn College and skills that I’ve taught myself or learned from mentors, friends, co-workers, etc. I love the challenge and working hard to find an answer.
It also gives me great satisfaction to know I made the right call when I joined Allen Myers. We have a world-class safety culture, different career development opportunities, flexibility and work-life balance.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE PENN COLLEGE?
I chose Penn College because the Construction Management program is hands-on with professors who have been there and done that. The program builds up from the fundamentals and covers everything a construction professional needs to know. I entered the program with zero knowledge and left with way more than I bargained for, and I couldn’t be more grateful to all the faculty and industry professionals who helped me along the way. I had just figured out a degree to pursue and I was reading about 99% job placement with 90% hired before graduation, plus a hands-on program with real industry professionals; all of which ultimately made my decision easy to enroll.
HOW DID THE HANDS-ON APPROACH AT PENN COLLEGE SET YOU UP FOR SUCCESS?
The hands-on approach was the key to success for me because I’m the type of person who learns by doing. It was impossible for me to imagine a packed lecture hall and think that I would absorb everything presented. The hands-on approach is specifically designed to be taught using real-world, current situations and methods.
The hands-on approach for Construction Management is where I look back and remember having the most fun while learning. Everything I do on a daily basis was ultimately taught to me through those labs, surveying, drafting, estimating, and even how to read drawings.
HOW DID PENN COLLEGE HELP YOU PREPARE TO EXCEL IN YOUR CAREER FIELD?
If you're looking to earn a Construction Management degree, Penn College needs to be at the top of your list. They offer experienced faculty, up-to-date curriculum, and a hands-on approach in small class sizes. I left Penn College hired and more than qualified to begin my career.
I came into my program with no specific knowledge and I was hired during graduation feeling legitimately prepared. If you're looking to earn a technical degree in the best, most innovative and efficient way possible, then you seriously need to consider Penn College.
WHAT'S SOMETHING COOL YOU'RE WORKING ON OR HAVE WORKED ON?
I’ve been a part of some special project teams and cool projects. The first was a project at the Virginia International Gateway terminal, a marine cargo port in Portsmouth, VA. We doubled the container yard capacity and it was my first time working with rail, as well as on a wharf. At the time, it was crazy to me to think that our milestone dates were based on when ships would arrive from Europe with new rail-mounted cranes; trust me, anything can happen. But, we did it. And working on a marine port makes you realize the significance of the work we do in our own neighborhoods and on a global scale.
IF SOMEONE WERE INTERESTED IN PENN COLLEGE, WHAT MIGHT YOU TELL THEM?
I would tell them that Penn College is an amazing opportunity to fast track your career following school. I think it’s extremely beneficial that for every hour of class time, there is three hours lab time. That time share, on top of the small class sizes, gives every student the ability to learn in the best environment and meet industry expectations. Penn College is designed to produce working graduates and they do just that, plain and simple.
REFLECTING ON YOUR TIME AT PENN COLLEGE, WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST?
I enjoyed the small class sizes because I made some lifelong friends and learning was easier for me in a more intimate setting led by experienced faculty. I also enjoyed the hands-on experience. I got the chance to learn the best way I know how, and be taught exactly what I do today. I really didn’t know what to expect when I enrolled, but looking back, I can’t envision myself having gone anywhere else and being where I am today in my career.
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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