In September 2021, the Colorado State University Department of Construction Management Certificate Program was re-launched, after being placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The construction management department has offered this Denver-based non-credit certificate opportunity for more than 20 years, in partnership with CSU Professional Education to provide an overview of the commercial construction industry to a diverse community of adult learners.
Since its inception, over 600 individuals have earned a professional certificate in this 6-month program. CSU faculty, as well as industry professionals, teach the course, which is designed to target people employed in the construction industry who do not have a prior educational background in construction management.
Two of the CM department’s alumni, Chad Olivier and Dan Rondinelli, based on their passion and enthusiasm for the course, were commissioned in early 2021 to use the hiatus driven by the pandemic to complete an exhaustive audit of the program, evaluate the curriculum, and prepare the course for re-launch. This audit effort led to some minor changes in the course content, and an enhanced approach to the course delivery. The course is now structured to walk participants through the “life cycle of the project,” from early design and preconstruction, through construction, and post-construction aspects of construction management.
Rondinelli shared, “Our diversity is our strength. The program instructors were hand selected for their experience and ability to clearly present complex subjects, such as structures, mechanical, plumbing, electrical systems, preconstruction, estimating, scheduling, safety, contracting, finance, field management, and project close-out.”
In September 2021, 25 participants began their course work, and in early March 2022, a ceremony was held to commemorate the completion, and the issuance of the certificates. The re-launch of the course included a new partnership with AGC of Colorado, who provided one of their Denver training rooms for hosting the course.
Looking to the future, the vision is to grow the enrollment, including the goal to double the participant count to 50 for the 2022-2023 offering. The department plans to host the certificate program at the new CSU Spur campus. The state-of-the-art facility, along with the use of the latest technologies and software, will enhance the program.
Students of the CM certificate program offered support and perspective on various aspects of the program:
“The program filled knowledge gaps and provided the credentials I need to advance my construction career.”
“I have a better understanding of how important preconstruction is in the project life-cycle.”
“I always knew the importance of safety, but I learned how to implement strategies to build a real culture of safety on the jobsite.”
“I discovered the importance of relationships, including trade partners, clients and design partners.”
“The scheduling class was amazing; I had never taken the time to ponder the incredible effort it takes to schedule a project. I was very challenged in this class, with ways to come up with a schedule that would work properly. I had no idea that a schedule was in reality a living document.”
“I can’t begin to describe how much I have learned from this course, and how many ways I have been able to use what I have learned in my job. This has far exceeded my expectations, and I am highly recommending it to anyone (especially my co-workers).”
One of the students told the class how the knowledge she gained actually saved her project over $75,000, based on her new understanding of concrete cure times and increasing strength. She was able to convince an inspector to re-test the capacity of embedded anchors into concrete after 28-days of cure time, which averted the need for major re-work on a restaurant patio canopy.
Meet the instructors
Dan Rondinelli’s construction career spans over 30 years with one-third of his time serving in operations in the field, a third in estimating, preconstruction, and business development, and a third owning a Denver-based commercial construction business.
Rondinelli is a licensed constructor with business management, estimating, project management, CPM scheduling, training & development, business development, and project controls experience. He is a clear, written and verbal, communicator with experience on design-build, construction management/general contractor, and lump sum delivery methods.
Rondinelli loves to share his experiences and has been teaching in the CM certificate program since 2000. When not building exciting projects, you will find him in his woodshop working with his hands. His experience provides a unique perspective that allows him to help students on many topics. He has a passion for teaching and training. For over 20 years, he has guest-lectured and taught part-time for CSU. Course topics include: leadership, estimating, quantity take-off, project management, cost control, and scheduling.
In 1994, he received a Class A contractor’s license. He is also certified as a cost consultant, and accredited as a USGBC LEED Professional.
Rondinelli is committed to personal and professional growth. As a dedicated, life-long learner, he enjoys sharing his experiences while helping others grow their construction careers.
Chad Olivier has a CSU pedigree in construction that traces back over 35 years. As a Colorado native, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in CSU Construction Management in 1988, before enjoying a 28-year career with PCL Construction.
Olivier’s career with PCL included direct involvement in over $1.5 billion worth of large commercial projects including high rise office buildings, sports and entertainment venues, airports, hotels, and hospitals. Upon “retirement” in 2016, he launched an independent construction consulting firm, (“Lean on Me”) LOM Services based in Castle Rock, Colorado, and specializing in owner representation, dispute resolution, corporate training, and safety management support.
In 2017, Olivier accepted a part-time teaching position at CSU, teaching the undergraduate construction safety management course at the Fort Collins campus. His real-world field experience allows students to better understand what will be expected of them from a safety leadership perspective.
In 2018, Olivier earned a masters in leadership from Denver Seminary, and uses this training inside and outside of the classroom to coach and motivate students and industry executives to understand philosophical and practical strategies to enhance leadership effectiveness.
Olivier has taught in the CM certificate course for three years, and leads sessions on project management and safety management. In his spare time, you can find him on the golf course, or hunting or fishing, and enjoying the Colorado outdoors with his wife of 26 years, Karen, along with three grown children. He is passionate about construction education and strives to promote excellence in the CM Certificate curriculum.