Young Alumni Q & A: De’Ohndre Jackson

De'Ohndre "Dre" Jackson smiles in a corporate office wearing a gray blazer and a blue button down shirt. Dre is a black man with medium-dark brown skin and a medium length fade haircut.

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, De’Ohndre (Dre) Jackson graduated from CSU in 2019 with a B.S. in construction management and was featured as a Spring 2019 outstanding graduate. After graduation, Jackson moved back to Denver to begin his career with PCL Construction as a field engineer. Read the Q&A below to learn more about Jackson and his current position. 

Describe your current position and some of the responsibilities that come with it.

Being a field engineer at PCL construction comes with many responsibilities, and they differ depending on the project that I am assigned to. However, the following are a few basic responsibilities that I have on a daily basis:

  • Reviewing shop drawings, product data, schedule, and requests for information (RFIs)
  • Building relationships and communicating with owners of construction sites, design teams, subcontractors, and consultants.
  • Resolving field issues and conflicts
  • Tracking procurement of material required on site
  • Implementing our quality control and safety program in the field

Why did you decide to pursue your current career path?

I chose construction because I have always been interested in business and engineering. I was interested in the processes and procedures that go into building large structures. I was also interested in how businesses ran and how cash flows worked.

While in college, I discovered that construction management was the perfect mixture of the two. I get to see what goes into the engineering of each project as well as help manage the business aspect of a construction project.

Dre Jackson, equipped in construction gear stands on the marble floor foundation of a construction project.
De’Ohndre Jackson on the site of a construction project spearheaded by PCL Construction.

How has COVID-19 impacted your company and industry, and how are you responding to it?

COVID has been very difficult to navigate for many. However, PCL did an amazing job responding to the pandemic and keeping the employees safe and employed. The pandemic did however have an effect on owners who employ construction companies to build.

Owners had difficulties securing funding from banks because everyone was so unsure of the financial impact that COVID-19 would have on the economy. As the vaccine begins to roll out, things are starting to get back to normal in the construction industry. I am extremely grateful for PCL and how they responded to this unfamiliar situation.

How have your education and experiences at CSU helped you in your career?

CSU CM has a great course load that gave me real-life scenarios which helped me develop skills to use in my career. I was also involved in multiple extracurricular activities while at CSU. I was involved in CM Cares where I had the opportunity to lead my own community service construction project. I also participated in the CM competition teams where we got to compete nationally with other universities.

I was also a key mentor and led a group of freshmen students through their first year of college. All of these experiences have molded me into the person I am today. It helped me become a leader, it enhanced my public speaking abilities, I became a critical thinker, and most importantly a great team player.

What advice do you have for students looking for a full-time job in your field?

  • Make sure you do your research on the company and see if that company aligns with your values as a person. You will be at work most hours of your day, so make sure you like the company.
  • Protect your reputation. This industry is built off of relationships. Make sure you do things that make people remember you in a good way.
  • Be like a sponge. Soak up as much knowledge as you can. Although CSU gives you a great education that prepares you for your role, you will still have a steep learning curve once you become a full-time construction professional.