About C-School and Michael Nelson



C-School Blog is a weblog dedicated to addressing trends in construction management education, providing coverage of student construction competitions, and discussing methods of outreach to generate more interest in construction industry careers.

You can provide ideas for topics that you would like to see covered and I will do my best to address them.


I grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa and attended Iowa State University’s Construction Engineering Program in Ames, Iowa. During my undergraduate studies, I worked summer construction field jobs including a summer as a concrete laborer, followed by a summer as a carpentry laborer in central Iowa. My final internship jobs were in the field of construction management, when I worked for two summers in the Minneapolis division office of PCL.

After finishing up my Construction Engineering Degree in 1999, I started my full-time career with a subsidiary of Centex Construction that focuses on healthcare construction. I worked on a series of construction projects in Rochester, Minnesota for Mayo Clinic. My projects in Rochester ranged from a new 20 story facility to subterranean pedestrian tunnel extensions which allow the patients, visitors, and staff to avoid the chilly Minnesota Winters.

In 2003, I transferred with Centex to Charlotte, North Carolina to work on a children’s emergency department interior renovation at the Carolinas Medical Center. In 2004, I started a part-time correspondence Masters of Business Administration Program through the University of Florida. I completed my MBA degree in early 2006 and my business school studies gave me a new perspective on the construction industry. I have become interested in how a construction company can differentiate itself from its competitors in order to succeed. My interest in differentiation has lead me to focus on entry-level recruiting and uncovering which college construction programs are consistently producing the best entry-level construction professionals.

Now back to my career path, in 2005, I was offered a position in San Jose, California to assist a project team with a women’s and children’s center expansion. Once out in the San Francisco Bay area, a position with my current firm, Skanska USA Building, presented itself and I am currently working as a project manager on a hospital expansion project in San Jose, California for the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).


4 Responses to “About C-School and Michael Nelson”

  1. Alex Liu Says:

    I am researching a construction management professor career.

    I am trying to access the salary survey of associated schools of construction or any other surveys. Do you know where there might be additional information?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Alex,

    Since many construction schools are found at public universities, the salary information for a particular college should be available online. This information is available to the public because the professors are state employees.

    If you know the specific university or region where you are interested in pursuing a construction management professorship, you might “Google around” for specific salary information on the current professors in the construction management program.

    Do not be shocked when you find that the construction management positions in academia pay quite a bit less than a similar candidate may be able earn in the construction industry. My guess is that pay will vary according to the level of education, geographic region, construction experience, research expertise, and whether the position is tenure track.

    – Michael

  3. Randy Perkins Says:

    I am fifty years old and looking to get into the construction management field. While not currently in a management role, I have twelve years experience as a distribution center manager. I am a fork lift operator right now and have been working part-time for some general contractors.

    I am taking classes at a local community college towards an AAS degree in construction management. Do you have any comments on what I might expect from larger construction firms as it might apply to my age and current employment?

    How about suggestions for summer or longer term internship in Denver?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. Randy –

    Congratulations on making the decision to join the construction management industry.

    Regarding employment in the industry, I recommend that you decide what type of construction opportunity you would prefer – field supervisor role or office management role – and then start networking through the general contractors that you are working with part-time and also see if your professors at the community college know of firms that are hiring folks for the position that you seek.

    You might also check to see if your community college sponsors any career fairs that will have construction employers in attendance.

    Hope these ideas help and let me know how things turn out.

    – Michael Nelson

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