Colorado State University’s Department of Construction Management has no shortage of seniors who have excelled in more ways than one during their time in the program. MacKenzie Brock is no exception. In fact, she’s quite exceptional!
Originally from Boca Raton, Florida, Brock considers Colorado home having lived here for eight years. She was raised by her father, and has a younger sister who attends Florida Atlantic University. While the first to graduate from CSU, Brock is not the first in her family to graduate with a degree in construction management.
Brock transferred to CSU after playing softball on scholarship at a junior college in Colorado. Her father and his brother had a building materials company in Florida that gave Brock the idea of getting involved in the industry.
“I saw my dad travel 200+ days out of the year for this company, but enjoyed what it did for him and our family,” she said. “They sold everything from nails and screws to doors and windows, but I was never able to see actual construction activities happen. I was going to get a business degree when I found the CM program, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to choose construction management.”
Introduction to concrete work
For her internship credits, Brock elected to stick with the same company, but worked under different umbrellas within the company. Her first internship was at a water treatment plant in Chandler, Arizona, that had more than 100,000 cubic yards of concrete. She was given the opportunity to work beside those placing and finishing that concrete, as well as ordering the mud.
“That’s the summer I will never forget,” said Brock, “because it confirmed I made the right decision with what I wanted to study and the career path I wanted to take.”
While in the CM program, Brock immersed herself in leadership roles for both clubs and competition teams. She served as treasurer of the student board of directors for CM, as president of the AGC student chapter, as captain of the heavy civil competition team, and co-captain of two concrete competition teams. She was a teaching assistant for the CM CON 101 course, to both Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez, associate professor, and Jeff Wilkes, senior instructor.
When asked about reflecting on her time in CM, Brock replied, “With life comes ups and downs, but it’s how you react to them that’s important. Traveling to the ASC competition in 2019 with the concrete competition team, I felt unsure of what to expect and unsure of what was going to be asked of us as a team; that showed when it came to the award ceremony. Taking what I had learned from that experience, I wanted to be able to go into the ASC 2020 heavy civil competition like a well-oiled machine with my amazing team, and put our best foot forward. Because of that hard work, time, and dedication we had as a team, including our coach, Jeff Wilkes, we were able to come out on top.”
Future career plans
For life after graduation and future plans, Brock is happy to have a job offer from the company with which she interned, Sundt Construction, Inc., in the concrete division, relocating to sunny Arizona.
“Throughout my college career, I have been able to learn the most from those professors that came from the field and worked in the industry before coming to teach,” Brock said. “With that being said, I want to soak up as much experience as I can before one day returning to teach what I have learned in the field.”
Asked if she believes she’s well-prepared for her career, she said, “Although I have only been at CSU for three years, I believe those years have shaped me into the adult I am today. I love the family feel CSU has given me, and I know the hard work professors and faculty asked of me will only make me stronger for what’s next in life.”