Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, De’Ohndre (Dre) Jackson is a first-generation college graduate. A four-year varsity basketball player in high school, Jackson turned down a couple of basketball scholarships in order to pursue the academic route. “I felt like that route would take me further in life; that has been one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Jackson.
Having attended a CSU alliance high school, it made financial sense to apply to CSU. Initially drawn to civil engineering, Jackson had friends introduce him to the Department of Construction Management. After his sophomore year, he met with a CM adviser, and changed his major to construction management. Jackson notes, “The CM department seemed to have more student support by faculty, advisers and staff; they were very personable.”
During his junior year, his involvement with Key Communities allowed Jackson the opportunity to serve as a mentor for underclassmen. He served as a student project leader for the Morris Project, as part of the CM Cares program, which included wheelchair access with a ramp, and expansion of the patio with access to the front door. Jackson loved being able to give back to the community, and utilize his personal experiences and skills. Also during his junior year, Jackson received the first JHL Legacy Scholarship, as well as the Denver Metro Alumni Scholarship.
Driven to make a difference
Jackson is a young man driven to make a difference. “I was always looking for ways that I could help, but I felt like I was too small to make a difference. However, with construction, I can make a big difference in the world. I feel like the next generation of working adults care a lot about the environment and wheat they can do to make a big difference. Being a big brother, role model, and first generation student, I want to show the wold and others who look up to me, that anything is possible, if you have the right education and determination to go with it,” said Jackson.
During his senior year, Jackson competed as a member of the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Design Build competition team that is an intense competition against teams representing universities from around the country. He values the experience afforded him by the competition, along with people he met, and lessons learned.
Advice for CM students
Asked for his advice for new CM students, Jackson responded, “Get involved as early as possible. I got involved a bit later thinking I didn’t know enough, or didn’t have anything to offer. But, if I had it to do over, I’d dive in sooner and be more involved in CM activities. It’s a great way to meet a lot of industry people, because it’s a small world, so when you see people again, having them recognize you is a plus.”
After graduation, Jackson will be employed by PCL Construction, Denver, Colo, as a full-time field engineer. Jackson says, “I plan to work for a commercial construction company for the first part of my career. Eventually, I want to open up my own custom home-building and renovating company. I want my company to specialize in sustainability and being green. We can build houses that are more efficient and better for the earth. This way, we can save money for home buyers on monthly utility bills, while simultaneously helping the earth.”