Purdue University North Central graduate Jason Sturgeon recently relocated to Seattle as a project manager with Schuchart, a construction company known for taking on challenging and innovative projects.
His first project with the company was The Chihuly Garden & Glass Exhibit, for the renowned local artist, Dale Chihuly. This exhibit sits at the base of the Space Needle and is truly a remarkable project, described Sturgeon.
Sturgeon earned his Bachelor's degree in Engineering Technology with a focus in Building Construction Management from PNC in 2005 and was immediately hired by Lewis Builds Corporation. His first assignment there was working on the $103 million headquarters for Amazon.com.
Next, he was sent to Toronto where he was a project coordinator for the construction of the $500 million Trump International Hotel & Tower. This 60-story building is Canada's third-tallest structure.
His professional accomplishments include:
- Controlling more than $30 million of commercial construction.
- Saving two projects more than $350,000 by negotiating with the City of Seattle for project fee reductions.
- Independently consulting on a $700,000 remodel of an occupied 35-unit condominium.
- Proposing revision of an outdated employee database to include more accessible communication of information, prompting the development of a new companywide system.
- Promoting and enlisting a pilot program for the introduction of AutoCAD drafting software as an onsite project tool.
- Spearheading development of a mentoring program now in use by more than 50 employees.
- Creating a new company program for national "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day" by planning and facilitating educational group activities.
Immediately after graduation, Sturgeon moved to Seattle to work for Lewis. He was assigned to coordinating mechanical, electrical, plumbing, elevator systems, all earthwork, excavation and shoring or a five-story commercial building with two floors of parking.
He was then assigned to work as project engineer for the Amazon.com headquarters project.
In the meantime, Sturgeon and his wife Mary were busy raising a family.
“My wife and I were high school sweethearts and met in journalism and yearbook class,” he explained. “She convinced me to go back to school and finish my degree. The choices I’ve made led me to a job I love and a family who make me whole. This is a choice I would make again.”
Both of their children were born while he was a PNC student. Daughter Cadence is 7 and son Gawen is 4. Mary is an unpublished novelist who is looking forward to writing full time once the kids are settled in school.
As a student he was a project manager for Streicher Homes in Michigan City.
Sturgeon credits PNC with giving him skills essential for his successful career, “I use knowledge gained from PNC every day. From using drawing or estimating software to structural engineering principles, these are skills that began at PNC.”
He also found out how far the Purdue reputation reaches. “In Seattle I was surprised by the name recognition. This recognition continues out of the country. Purdue University provided me with an international gold standard for an engineering-based education. PNC further developed my sense of team work, respect for a common goal and the value of leadership and its importance.”
Sturgeon also recognizes the PNC faculty who had a hand in his development.
“Martha Garcia-Saenz (associate professor of Building Construction Management Technology) played a critical role in my career path, both personally and professionally. She inspired me to do great things.”
“She went out of her way to make sure I had the tools to succeed. At PNC, she was “school grandmother” to my newly born daughter and supplied snacks and goodies.”
Dave Burris, continuing lecturer of Building Construction Management Technology, “taught me that the best leaders and mentors are not afraid of being wrong. If he was challenged on an answer or concept, he would say, ‘let me look at this again.’ He allowed us to take leadership roles in our education.”
Thomas Dobrowski, assistant professor of Building Construction Management Technology, “brought real life examples to put the gravity of our work into perspective.”
Tom Brady Jr., associate professor of Industrial Engineering Technology, and his late father Tom Brady Sr., professor emeritus of Industrial Engineering Technology, were cited as “exemplary professors and men.”
“My time at PNC taught me that sometimes have a professor who busts your chops and doesn’t seem fair. Years later you realize these professors prepared you the most for the difficulties in real life,” he said. “PNC is a excellent preparation for the real world. It provides a world class education. PNC instructors care about the success of their students.”
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