The Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University recently welcomed its new department head, Paul Goodrum. Before coming to CSU, Goodrum worked at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering as a professor in the construction program.
Learn more about Goodrum’s plan for the CM department and his research in the intersection of construction productivity.
What is your background and experience and what drew you to the Department of Construction Management at CSU?
I grew up in a Navy military family and moved quite often. I went to three different high schools before graduating from Poulsbo, Washington (North Kitsap High). I earned my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with a construction concentration from the University of Washington and then my M.S. in engineering with a concentration in construction from The University of Texas at Austin. Afterwards, I worked in industry for almost five years in both heavy construction and site civil design. After earning my professional engineer’s license, I returned for my Ph.D., again at the University of Texas at Austin. I was first a professor in the construction program at the University of Kentucky (Civil Engineering) for 12 years. Eight years ago, I joined the civil engineering faculty at CU Boulder as a professor in their construction program. My family and I moved to Fort Collins six years ago due to the city’s proximity to both my wife’s job as well as CU Boulder. The ability to work in my hometown along with the Department’s reputation are what drew me to CSU.
How do you plan to incorporate your experience into the future?
Most of my successes have come from never stopping learning, being a good listener, and grit. While some successes occur on an initial attempt, my greatest successes are a result of not giving up. I have always done my best to learn from my mistakes in order to do a better job the next time.
What are you most excited about regarding your new role and your potential to make an impact?
Over my career, I have had the privilege of mentoring others and find great joy in experiencing the success of those around me. There is already great pride in Construction Management, and rightly so. I look forward to doing my part of continuing the Department’s successes and elevating the program to make it an eminent destination for both undergraduate and graduate studies in construction.
What have been your favorite courses/subjects to teach?
I have always enjoyed teaching a course on construction productivity. It was a course that I took 26 years ago as a graduate student and was ultimately influential in my own construction career. It is a great course that bridges theory to industry applications. I teach students how to observe construction operations using traditional industrial operations techniques and strategies on how to improve jobsite performance, and then they are assigned to apply the techniques on actual construction jobsites. Ultimately, the students share their results and recommendations for improvement with the construction firms, which is a win-win for the students and the companies.
What is your research focus?
The thrust of my research focuses at the intersection of construction productivity, demographics of the U.S. construction workforce and its influence on craft availability, and the influence of the format of visual information on human performance. I am passionate about addressing the industry shortage of craft professionals, as I see this one of the major challenges for our nation as we begin to address infrastructure renewal.
What do you like most about living in Fort Collins?
I love the people, the parks, the weather, and access to so many affordable outdoor recreation activities. After living in 24 different domestic and international locations in my lifetime, I cannot imagine a better place to live.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to hang out with my family, fly fish, ski, and help coach baseball for my son whenever I can. As far as I’m concerned, a perfect evening is watching teams play ball at Spring Park, cheering for both teams, and watching the shadows grow long as sun begins to set.