Connor Madigan (’13) – served in and is now involved with CM Cares leadership through industry

Connor Madigan in suitConnor Madigan, a 2013 CM alumnus, comes full circle through his involvement with CM Cares, the service-learning program that promotes leadership traits, team building, and ethics through community service activities. Madigan embraced these concepts then, and embraces them now by teaching, coaching, mentoring, and supporting CM Cares projects each year.

Madigan moved from Guam to Fort Collins at age 9. He attended Rocky Mountain High School and selected CSU for his undergraduate degree. Originally a civil engineering major, he changed his major to construction management upon arriving at CSU.

Two summers before starting college, Madigan worked with a commercial fence contractor digging holes, pouring concrete, setting posts, and installing wood and steel fences – everything from school baseball diamond fences to residential fences. He also worked with his parents doing house projects before that – all of which helped to solidify his passion for the construction industry.

Learning to give back

After working at the fence company for a few summers, he also was framing basements for friends and family in his off time. He thought residential construction was going to be his path forward. Taking an internship with Habitat for Humanity in the Vail Valley, he wanted to learn from trade partners’ hands-on experience and guide volunteers to complete all the tasks required for building a home.

Madigan worked approximately nine months with Habitat for Humanity that included a six-month internship and working during a couple of other school breaks. Upon attending the fall and spring CM career fairs during his senior year, Madigan started talking with some of the commercial contractors and getting to know more about that side of the industry.

He was offered an internship post-graduation at Swinerton to get “boots on the ground” in the commercial industry and understand if a large company was the right fit for him. He fell in love with Swinerton as a company and all the great people he worked with at the Denver office. Upon completing his internship, he was offered a full-time position as a project engineer.

He worked his way up through the ranks and is now a senior project manager and market lead. He works with all different groups in the office such as project management, estimating/precon, and marketing and business development to make sure they have a successful project every time.

Leadership development through CM Cares

CM Cares group 2013; Madigan back row, 2nd from left
CM Cares 2013-Brinkman family in center; Madigan back row, 2nd from left in shades and hard hat

During Madigan’s senior year at CSU, he was accepted into the CM Cares Leadership course, along with about 14 other students. He worked on the Brinks Project with a handful of other skilled men and women.

Their project consisted of helping a family update their home to better meet their needs. They had a son who had a disability but wanted to be engaged in the resources around him, whether it be playing in the backyard or in his room. The group focused on updating his room to have an interactive water feature, better storage capacity, updated energy efficient furnace, enclosed fenced backyard area, and additional insulation in the attic for a more energy conscious home. Swinerton was the company sponsor for the Brinks project, so Madigan got to know a lot of the great people at the company prior to later joining them.

Once he was working full-time, Madigan helped continue Swinerton’s presence at CSU and regularly attended the recruiting events and helped with the company involvement in the CM Cares program. About eight years ago, he became the main point of contact for Swinerton and the CM Cares program. Each year Swinerton sponsors the program and is a part of the great projects that the program completes.

Madigan and 2 other students working in CM Cares 2013
Madigan, 1st on left – CM Cares Project 2013

“This year I was fortunate enough to come down and give the leadership presentation to the class along with a colleague,” said Madigan. “Every year I have been a part of the Swinerton volunteer days for the projects, but this year, getting the opportunity to talk with the students and have that open dialogue, really meant a lot. Swinerton is always striving to continue to be the best contractor out there and really has focused on the involvement with the CM Cares program and all the opportunity that entails, to develop the future leaders of our industry.”

Madigan continued, “Being able to help problem-solve with the students on how to efficiently spend their budget and schedule impacts to complete the project on time is something that we always try to start discussing up front to ensure success for the students. Making sure they can focus on the specific details, while keeping the big picture in mind for the program, is wonderful.

The program has evolved since my time at CSU but still the mission and industry support has not waivered. It is one of the many, truly great things that the CM department can give so much back to the community, along with student and industry partnerships.”

Lessons learned, advice offered

Madigan spoke to how the CM Cares program prepared him for his career, “My time at CSU was very impactful on my career growth and really helped me understand all the different relationships and opportunities that come in this industry. Having the CM program focused on work experience and internship requirements throughout students’ time in school really gives the students the understanding to be prepared for what the industry holds for them after school.”

About the importance of giving back, he added, “I have always had some of the give-back mentality in me through my experience at Habitat for Humanity; but getting to be engaged in the CM Cares program really showed me how other partners in the industry strive to make it a part of their mission also.”

Madigan appreciates his employer taking huge pride in its non-profit, The Swinerton Foundation. He said they will continue to keep that as a core value with the local community and partnership with CM Cares.

His advice for current or new students in the construction management program, and specifically those working on CM Cares projects:

“I recommend that all students really take advantage of the work experience and internship opportunities that the industry has,” he said. “The options are endless and really give everyone the hands-on experience needed to apply the great education gained at CSU to individual success. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions; there is no way to grow without asking questions on how to be better and fully understand the task at hand. The industry really values its contributions back to the CM Cares program so the best thing individuals can do is get in front of companies to engage for support across all projects.”

The Department of Construction Management is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.