Rinker School of Construction Management graduate Travis Kolbjornsen, BSBC 2007, shares his experiences working for Disney as well as his fond memories of being a DCP student.
Can you tell us about your career?
After graduating UF BCN, I started my career as a Project Engineer with James A. Cummings, Inc., a Tutor Perini Company working in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. We worked on projects near the beach and in the city. One of the cool projects we built even brought me back to the University of Florida to construct the Southwest Ticket and Transportation Parking Services Office and Parking Garage Complex. I truly enjoyed working for James A. Cummings, Inc. and learned a great deal about construction management in my initial years after graduating UF BCN.
After just four years being out of school however, our design and construction industry felt the impacts of the recession and, as a result, there was declining work in Florida. Rather than travelling out of state to build U.S. Military projects with James A. Cummings, I was fortunate to reconnect with my former leader from a Disney professional internship I completed one summer while attending UF BCN, and he offered me a project controls position scheduling and estimating theme park resort work. A couple of my UF BCN professors always used to say preconstruction and controls are the building blocks of construction management so working on the Project Controls team at Walt Disney World Company as a Project Scheduler definitely honed my preconstruction and project development skills.
While working for Disney, after a few years I transitioned from Project Controls back into Project Management—as a Project Manager working on capital projects at Walt Disney World Resort associated with food & beverage, textiles and merchandise. I had a great time working for Walt Disney World Company and grew professionally in ways I would not have imagined, not just preconstruction and construction management, but also increased my business finance acumen and professional soft skills.
After seven years with Walt Disney World Company, I decided to make another career change and joined Barton Malow Company working on their business development and strategic pursuit team as a Sr. Project Development Manager. I am excited about this new opportunity with Barton Malow Company, leveraging the professional skills I have sharpened during my career journey as well as my innate ability to build relationships and develop business.
What was your favorite class you took at DCP and why?
My favorite class was Scheduling and Estimating—so that’s two classes. I think it goes back to that saying “preconstruction and controls are the building blocks of construction management”.
Who was your favorite professor at DCP and why?
Both Dr. Smailes and Dr. Cook—they both taught me a lot about preconstruction and “real world” application. I still keep in touch with them both today—whether on the river, golf course or a random email. I try to remember to always give back and pay it forward through mentoring and volunteering—values that Dr. Smailes and Dr. Cook instilled in me during my years at UF BCN.