Project Managers, a career keeping construction on track

Thursday, June 25, 2020
Written by: Emily Hollingshead

There are few drives you can make that don’t take you past some sort of construction. We watch city skylines shift as we pass renovated buildings on newly paved roads almost without question. The construction industry has managed to keep people safely at work while setting their eyes on the future. At the heart of it all is the project manager, keeping the lights on and keeping us on track for a brighter tomorrow.

Ira Locks, professor Architecture and Construction Management

What do project managers do?

It is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure the construction project is completed on time and on budget while ensuring no one gets injured at the job site. “Project managers bring in the right people at the right time and make sure they are using the right materials,” said Ira Locks, professor of architecture and construction management at Seminole State College of Florida. Project managers act as the leader of a construction project, handling contracts, budgets and resources to ensure each team has what it needs to complete their jobs effectively.

Where do project managers work?

“If you are a successful project manager you are in charge of your schedule. For me, rainy days I was in my office doing paperwork and on beautiful days I was at the construction sites,” said Locks who worked as a project manager for 20 years. While project managers work closely with superintendents, who are always on the job site ensuring the day-to-day operations run smoothly and safely, project managers are often working on multiple projects at a time. They split their time between the office environment and coordinating with the superintendents at the job site.

What types of projects do project managers work on?

There is almost no industry that construction does not have a part in. From healthcare to education to infrastructure, project managers have a role to fill and often will specialize in a specific area. “The thing that I love about this career is that you can do it your whole life and never get bored. Every building is different, and every site is different,” Locks said. “And after you build your building you have a huge sense of accomplishment.” While the coronavirus has put many industries through hard times, construction’s role in building and maintaining essential infrastructure from roads to water management has kept the industry busy and kept people safely employed.

How do I become a project manager?

To become a project manager you will need a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction and experience on the job in roles such as assistant superintendent or field engineer for example. Being detail-oriented and a problem solver are also important qualities to have. Project managers can encounter hundreds of problems on a job site and will need to come up with quick and creative solutions. Most of all, however, Locks stresses that project managers need excellent communication skills. “Project managers have to be able to take a diverse group of stakeholders and get them to work together for the common goal of the project. It takes a high level of emotional intelligence to lead your team on complicated construction project and have a successful outcome at the job site.”

To learn how Seminole State can prepare you for a career in project management, view our Bachelor of Science in Construction. For more information on the College’s construction programs, visit

About the School of Engineering, Design and Construction

Seminole State College of Florida's School of Engineering, Design and Construction offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, including bachelor's degrees in construction, engineering technology, information systems technology and interior design. The programs prepare students for a wide variety of careers in the built environment and information technology.