“When I was in high school, I didn’t know what all of the options were,” said CM alumna Lindsey Blatz, a senior project manager for Webcor Builders in California.
Blatz, who graduated from CSU in 2006, nearly chose to attend another university to play golf competitively, but was inspired to pursue construction management after her father acquired a subcontracting company in Colorado Springs. “I liked the idea of doing something that I could actually see happen — it wasn’t phantom numbers on a computer screen,” she says. “You could see the physical progress.”
Time as a student
Blatz’s internships and participation on the ASC Civil competition team provided her most memorable moments at CSU. “I had a great opportunity to learn more about real-life experiences.” While invaluable academically and professionally, they also were the building blocks of the camaraderie and relationships that were the highlight of Blatz’s college career.
Blatz encourages students to get out of their comfort zones. At graduation she had a job offer from a Colorado company that she interned with, but decided to accept an offer from Webcor Builders in San Francisco. “I was scared to move to a new city on my own, but knew that I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the skyline of a big city. I told myself that if I didn’t like it I could always pack up my car and move back home. People have the biggest regrets about the opportunities they turned down, rather than regretting an opportunity they took.” Reflecting on her time in the industry, Blatz noted that the construction field is stressful, but extremely rewarding. “When I look back on the most difficult times on my projects, those also end up being my proudest moments.”
Returning to campus
Over the summer she returned to CSU to help with the department’s inaugural Women in Construction Institute, which brought a group of female high-school students to campus to learn about construction management. “They don’t know exactly what the industry is yet, but they might know they want to do something that’s life-changing and skyline-changing,” Blatz says of the high school students. “It’s not a very well-publicized industry to get into, so when we see young people who are interested and are going into construction, I get excited because these are going to be my future coworkers that I’m going to be able to mentor — and then eventually work alongside.”
Blatz’s advice to young women interested in a construction management career, “Don’t take no for an answer. Trust your gut, and work toward the things you believe in. Be confident, and people will realize you are smart. Once people realize you know what you’re talking about, the gender bias goes out the window.”
Asked about her experience as a woman in a male-dominated industry, Blatz said she never felt different, “The students and teachers in the program were all a tight-knit group. Whether it’s people in the CM program or the construction industry, once they realize you are smart and know what you’re talking about, they don’t care who or what gender you are as long as you’re good to work with.”
Top Young Professional
Blatz was recently named one of California’s 20 “Top Young Professionals” by Engineering News Record. She credits CM faculty, the program’s connections with industry, her internships and, ultimately, the sense of community in the department as the foundation that launched her career. “I think the program and the professors really get you prepared for taking the next steps when you graduate,” she said. “They are a group of people that I lean on for advice, even 10 years out of school.”
The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.
This story originally appeared in the Fall 2017 Department of Construction Management newsletter.