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HPM Talks Webinar: Emerging Leaders

July 20, 2021
HPM’s Emerging Leaders Program offers undergraduate students a unique perspective of the planning, design, and construction process through hands-on experience at our projects across the country. Medora Gaddes oversees the program and, as a former HPM co-op herself, recognizes the immense value of experiential learning. During this HPM Talks webinar, Gaddes and co-ops Iriana Molusky and Ben Smith discuss their experience in the program and what they’ve learned along the way.

Webinar Details:

July 29, 2021 at 11AM CST


Medora Gaddes, Assistant Project Manager and Talent Development Coordinator at HPM
Medora is not only an Assistant Project Manager at HPM, but also our Talent Development Coordinator and heads up the Emerging Leaders Program. She herself was a co-op with HPM before becoming a full-time employee. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in civil engineering, she joined HPM as a project engineer and as a full-time HPM team member in the Huntsville office.

Q&A from Webinar

  1. We heard about precon and program management. What is field coordination like as a co-op?

Ben Smith: During the field rotation as a co-op, a day usually consists of walking with the Field Coordinator (FC) as he makes his rounds around the job site to track the progress of construction and look for items that might need to be addressed with the owner/general contractor. For me, this was a time to pick the brain of the FC and ask as many questions as possible about what is happening on the job site and why/how they are doing it. You can be given miscellaneous tasks that help the FC with his job. For instance, one of the tasks I was given was keeping track of the progression of concrete pours and ceiling paint in a large warehouse. The FC used this information to update the weekly report that was sent to the owner. Other things I experienced were on-site meetings with the general contractor and the owner, taking meeting minutes to send to the HPM team on your specific project, site walks with the general contractor and owner about issues that need resolving, and much more. The field rotation is a good way to get a feel for what a construction site looks like and how things are run during construction both from the Construction Management side and the General Contractor side of things.

2. My major is Architectural Engineering. I have learned that very few companies are hiring ArchEs or understand what ArchE is. Does HPM recruit ArchE’s and how are they used?

Medora Gaddes: HPM is less focused on your specific major and more focused on what you are interested in doing upon graduation. Obviously your major plays a role in that, but I’ll give you an example. I have a bachelor’s in civil engineering and if I wanted to do structural design as a career path, HPM would likely not be the best fit for my interests because HPM does not have engineers designing and stamping drawings. HPM has been a good fit for me since I was interested in the management of design and construction upon graduation. My civil engineering degree has supported my ability to manage, understand, and communicate the civil aspects of design and construction. So ask yourself if you want to work for a company that will utilize the technical skills of architectural engineering and likely the skills you’ve learned in school? Or do you see your architectural engineering degree as a foundation or launching pad into a different career path? I think every engineer can ask themselves this question and it will help you be intentional with your job search. Does HPM hire architectural engineers who are going to use their technical engineering skills? Not at this time. Does HPM hire architectural engineers interested in the management of design and construction? Absolutely!

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