The greatest contribution that I can make to the field of construction management is as an educator and researcher. Ironically, this realization occurred while working in the industry. In the late spring of 2013, I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Construction Management and moved to Raleigh, NC to start my first job out of college working for the regional home builder, Dan Ryan Builders. Six months into the job I was asked by my boss to help train new employees. I took the assignment seriously and created a training program complete with a schedule, written tutorials, and learning goals. The program was a success and drew notice by the management team. They asked me to share it with my counterparts in other divisions of the company. Not long after this, I was asked to extend my reach to a broader portion of our division by developing a course to train all employees in every department on the basics of residential construction. I called the course “Construction 101” and it was launched in August of 2016. This course covered the home building process from permitting through warranty and included assessments, homework assignments, a field trip, and an end-of-course survey. Sixty-one employees, in groups of 10-16, completed the six-week course over the next of two years. By the summer of 2017, news of the success of Construction 101 reached the executive leadership team in Frederick, Maryland. The timing was good because they were looking for new ways to reduce the employee turnover rate and increase efficiency and output. Knowing I had a successful training history, they asked me to spearhead a company-wide, online training program for all employees of the seven divisions of the company. Though I had no formal training or experience with online instructional design, I worked hard to qualify myself to meet the expectations of the executive team. Within a few months I had researched and chosen a learning management system, established the foundation of the curriculum, and developed course materials. To date, 24 online courses have been fully developed, over 300 learners are enrolled in the learning management system, and by the end of this month the company expects to have its 1000th course completed by its employees.
One of the most rewarding experiences of my time on the industry side was recruiting and advising sixteen college interns over the course of two summers. Throughout the summers, I met with each intern weekly to ensure they were on track and having a good and productive experience. As part of the internship program, I proposed to the Raleigh management team that each intern should contribute further by undertaking a research project that offers lasting value to the company and improves his or her understanding of the business. To ensure that progress toward this goal was made, during our weekly meetings we discussed the work of developing good research questions, making observations, collecting data, and summarizing and reporting findings. Some of these intern research projects were titled: Analysis of Frequently Failed Municipal Inspections; Quantity Takeoff Impacts of Field-Verifying Lumber; Hidden Costs of Speculative Inventory; Relationship Between Quality Scoring and Customer Satisfaction; and Trends in Scheduling Delays. At the end of the summer, interns presented to members of the executive and senior management teams.