On June 12, 2015 at Club 101 in New York City, M.S. in Construction Administration student Gerry McHugh was one of the honorees at the 22nd annual Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) NY/NJ Metro Chapter Awards Banquet. One of the recipients of a 2015 CMAA Metro NY/NJ Scholarship Grant, he will use his award to help fund his education at Columbia University, which will help him embark on his second career as a construction or facilities manager.
McHugh has nearly 25 years of telecommunications experience under his belt as a field technician for Verizon. He was a member of the response team that repaired the New Orleans telecommunications systems that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He was deeply affected by the valiant efforts of the construction managers who worked in close proximity to him: “I never thought the place could be rebuilt. It was in such disarray,” he told Columbia. “I was very impressed when the rebuilders came...and got the city back on its feet.” The experience inspired him to pursue a career in construction management, an endeavor upon which he will embark once he has retired from his role at Verizon.
He said that he values the mentors, the training, and the scope of the Construction Administration program. “Jaime Daniels, the other professors, and [program director] Dennis Green have been very supportive. They have an open door policy and are very approachable.” He also said that he appreciates the breadth of the program: “It touches upon every topic [in construction] and gives you a good overview.” He mentioned construction law and engineering as particularly useful components of the curriculum.
McHugh is expected to graduate in spring 2016, and the father of two said that he is thankful for the financial support. “Times are tight.” He said, “This generous scholarship grant, from the NY/NJ Chapter of CMAA, combined with the tuition assistance I get from my employer, Verizon, has made attaining my M.S. degree in Construction Administration here at Columbia a whole lot easier on me.” The funding will help him invest in his skills and, ultimately, help others build – and rebuild – their lives.