North Lake College alum Keri Manuel helps companies build gigantic industrial complexes, like the Pluto LNG natural gas plant in Western Australia, as a Project Controls Engineer.
Before she could help build great buildings, however, she built the foundation of her career in Construction Management at NLC.
The McAllen, Texas native had been interested in construction for a while. After studying at five different colleges and universities and changing her major from communications to construction management, Manuel had started a new job at MEDCO Construction when she took her first course at NLC in 2004. Introduction to Construction, along with her new job, got her hooked.
“The classes that followed were courses like Blueprint Reading and Estimating for Commercial Construction. These allowed me to advance into the assistant project manager position at Aguirre Corp, where I was working at the time. The classes DCCCD offers in its Construction Management program give the student practical, usable information that one can apply in the workplace,” Manuel said.
Manuel continued her education and completed a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering technology at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Manuel started her career in the construction industry making $27,000 per year in 2003. As she got into project management and pursued her goals in the classroom along with gaining experience, she’s increased her salary to $270,000 while having the opportunity to play a key role for Jacobs Engineering.
As a senior planner, she helps create and maintain schedules for repairing equipment and tracks progress. She also creates manpower forecasts, mobilization and demobilization plans for the company’s projects.
It was difficult to balance her schoolwork with her job while attempting to have a social life as well, but the encouragement of the NLC staff and her relationship with her fellow students helped her continue as she pursued her career.
“Most of us were working in construction while going through the program. We were also sacrificing time with family because we were in class at night, which seemed to create a unity with students in the program.”
To really build on your educational experience, don’t just rely on NLC’s great professors, she says. “Get to know your fellow classmates. These are the people you’ll be working with, and possibly for, during your time in construction in the DFW area.”