Jake Gallagher is less than two years into his career, but is already in a position that many in the construction industry aspire to have. The Howard Community College (HCC) alumnus is part of the Whiting-Turner leadership team, serving as an assistant superintendent for a multi-year, multi-million-dollar development project in Rosslyn, Virginia. And he couldn’t be happier.
“I knew from the time I was a little kid that I wanted to work on construction sites,” said Jake, who oversees project scheduling, site logistics, safety, and collaboration with architects, engineers and other subcontractors on the job. “New challenges present every day, but you keep going knowing that someday a new building will stand, or a new community will be present, because of the work you did. It’s pretty exciting.”
Jake earned an associate degree at HCC in 2016, studying as a Silas Craft Collegian during his years on the community college campus. He went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship, at University of Maryland College Park. While in school, an opportunity presented for him to work as an intern at Whiting-Turner. It was the break Jake had hoped for, worked hard for, and was committed to making the most of.
“HCC prepared me well for the courses I was taking at College Park; I went in with a solid foundation,” he said. “The internship gave me a chance to link everything I had learned in the classroom to the field. I wanted and needed practical, hands-on experience, and I knew I would get exactly that at Whiting-Turner.”
Jake impressed his supervisors at Whiting-Turner – so much that he was offered a full-time job, upon graduation, before the start of his senior year. Landing such a promising job opportunity before he had even completed his degree was one thing. Landing it with a nationally-known, highly reputable company that would offer him tremendous long-term opportunities for personal and professional growth, was another.
“Whiting-Turning has a diagram that lays out career progression opportunities because they realize how important it is for people like me to come into a company, and have the potential to stay with the company,” said Jake. “There is so much opportunity here. This is a place where I plan to stay and grow my career, for many years.”
Jake commends HCC for its commitment to building the next generation of professionals that will join his industry, noting the value of the school’s recently introduced construction management apprenticeship program. It’s a structure that he feels will set future construction management professionals up for success.
“Every construction site is different so its important to get out there to really experience how the process works and be part of it,” said Jake. “The more knowledge you have, the more valuable you are in this field. HCC is creating that pathway for success by helping its construction management students find internships and take part in apprenticeship programs.”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.