Young Alumni Q & A: Sergio Ortiz

Sergio Ortiz in an office space. 

Sergio A. Ortiz graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 with his B.S. in construction management and a minor in business administration. He’s worked in Colorado for nearly ten years with the Neenan Company based out of Fort Collins; notably completing the Powerhouse Energy Institute, a LEED Platinum project for Colorado State University. To learn more about Ortiz and his current position, read his interview below.

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

I am currently in operations and, as senior project manager, I am responsible for team collaboration, production, and results.  Through numerous projects and teams, I am involved at all project levels from the early stages of concept design to final building completion.  The company I work for is different in that it is an Integrated Design Build Firm, meaning there is in-house design and construction.  Through this approach, fostering relationships with clients, internal design & construction teams, engineers, and subcontractors have become priority.

What led you to your current field?

CSU offered all interests for me; including my initial interest in engineering. During my first year at CSU, I found out about the construction management program from my roommate while living in Allison Hall on campus.  I have always had a desire to be hands on, to influence design, and to contribute to solving complex problems.  After hearing about the program, I researched what Construction Management opportunities were available through the undergraduate degree. In doing so, I found that this degree suited my wants and needs better than that of an engineering degree.

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

Colorado State University’s CM undergraduate degree competes nationwide as a top program.  The CSU CM department also set up direct introductions to companies through Construction Management Career Fairs and industry led presentations. The companies who attend the career fairs come for one reason, the quality of the graduates.

Experiences at CSU and through the CM program give students opportunities to collaborate in a team setting; in some cases, tying your team outcome to your grade. This experience gave me an edge coming into my career to understand how to work with others.  Through time, you start to understand that successes do not necessarily come with your individual successes, but rather through others you work with/influence.

What career tips/advice would you lend to students who aspire to similar career goals?

  • Relationships are key. Your effectiveness to work with others will directly tie to how strong of a relationship you have with them.
  • Meet your commitments. Some believe meeting a commitment is for someone else, but the reality is that you should be holding your commitments to yourself.  The rest will work itself out!
  • Focus on the interpersonal skills. Technical skills can be learned.  I believe as automation and AI become prevalent with technology gains, it will be those with interpersonal skills who stay ahead.
  • Be open to new ways. Once you become fixed on something, you have missed the mark.
  • Always look for ways to balance work and personal life. You will understand how the day to day quickly passes once you are out of school. The saying “stop to smell the flowers” is so true.  Should you want to make work priority, it will always be there for you to do so.  The subtleties of life will not.

The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.