By: Grace Ballantine
When you become a Gator, you’re a Gator for life.
Chris Shepard is a testament to that. Shepard graduated with his bachelor’s in construction management from the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management in 2004, and he’s kept close ties with the university ever since.
Currently, Shepard is a senior project manager at Parrish McCall Constructors, Inc. in Gainesville, Florida. Most recently, he oversaw one of UF’s biggest projects to date, the James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Training Center that just opened this past August at the price of $85 million. The facility is approximately 142,000 square feet, with a 14,000 square foot weight room, a 10,000 square foot locker room for the football team and a dining hall big enough to serve all UF sports, to name just a few aspects of the facility.
The UF alumnus looks back at his time at UF with great fondness and credits the Rinker School for being part of his success.
“Rinker is among the best in the country and provides the education and tools necessary to excel in any market condition and sector,” Shepard said. “The doors that are opened to graduating students are endless. The alumni base spreads across the globe.”
The Indiana native said he’s been so grateful for the education he received at UF, but Shepard’s extracurricular positions also made a huge impact on him. During his time at UF, Shepard was the vice president of both the Associate Builders and Contractors chapter and the Construction Management Association of America chapter.
“Whether it was the time between classes interacting with other students, or selling ABC products to support the student organizations, the relationships I made via the socializing outside of class continue to this day,” he explained.
Shepard went on to say that he is immeasurably blessed for everything that has happened in his personal and professional life. He is beyond grateful to have played a role in this project for Rinker and the Gator Nation.
“I, just like every other UF student or alumni, bleed orange and blue,” Shepard said. “To have the opportunity to not only work for UF and the University Athletic Association, but to be part of the new state-of-the-art facility that will house the football team, coaching staff and provide a space for all athletics to eat, relax and interact with their fellow athletes, is amazing. This is the capstone of my career to date.”
Shepard says that while this project was the capstone of his career, the ultimate capstone of his life is his wife, Kate and their three children: Aubrey, Layne and Ashlyn.