M.S. in Construction Management
"I think it’s a great program, especially for someone who knows what they’re wanting to do next in life, whether that be in project management or owning a construction company."
Quenton Wyrick has a blueprint for advancing his career. Step 1 was enrolling in the Sam and Janet Alley Master of Science in Construction Management online degree program at the University of Arkansas.
"I hope that I can get a leg up with the master’s program that I’m gaining from the University of Arkansas," Wyrick said.
Wyrick, who works for Hugg and Hall Equipment Company in Conway, AR, learned on the job that the opportunity is great for leadership positions such as superintendents and project managers, he said. He decided to pursue a master’s degree with a built-in project management graduate certificate to increase his chances of gaining an advanced position in construction.
"With most construction companies, they require you to have a project management degree in order to step foot into a project management role," Wyrick said.
He was inspired while working in the field, he said.
"It sparked my interest that maybe this is something I would like to do," he said. "I started shopping for what that next step would be. I already held an undergrad degree in business marketing, and I wasn’t a big fan of just obtaining another four-year degree."
Wyrick, 25, of Conway, wants to move ahead in the construction field to build a better life for his wife and newborn daughter, Willow, he said.
"Immediately after I graduate, or maybe even a few months before, I hope to join a construction company and begin making my way up the ladder to a project manager role," Wyrick said. "My long-term goal would be to own and operate a small construction company that build customized homes for single families and first time home buyers while being partnered with my wife, Brittny, who holds high interest in interior design."
The College of Engineering began offering the Master of Science in Construction Management program in fall 2020. When searching for his next steps toward studying construction, Wyrick found this program on the U of A website. He then began doing research, emailing advisors and talking to mentors about it, he said.
"For me, I thought it was a ‘perfect timing’ thing," Wyrick said. "I think it’s a great program, especially for someone who knows what they’re wanting to do next in life, whether that be in project management or owning a construction company."
Wyrick’s advisor plays a crucial role in helping him navigate through the course load, he said.
"My advisor, Dr. Micah Hale, checks on me frequently, asking how it’s been, asking me how my classes have gone, asking me if I know what I’m doing next, or which classes to sign up for next?" Wyrick said. "I just email Dr. Hale, he always gets back to me very quickly, as well."
Wyrick has gained practical skills from coursework that he was able to apply on the job site immediately, he said. A course on project scheduling is a specific example of a class that produced real-time knowledge.
"I’m on job sites every day, and I was seeing what I was learning being used on the job sites, as well, which was really cool," he said. "Scheduling teaches you how to break down your tasks into smaller tasks so that you can keep up and make sure that your project is staying on schedule or on time. Another course would be legal aspects. In that course, you’re learning the multitude of different contracts that you can use. Within the same course you also learn what happens when disputes arise between an owner and a contractor, and how to handle those professionally."
Outside of work Wyrick is known as "Coach Que" because he coaches a competitive travel baseball team for youth named the FieldHouse Force. That team of players, ages 9 to 10, plays in tournaments across the state of Arkansas on the weekends. The flexibility of studying online was a great fit for Wyrick’s lifestyle, he said.
"To be an online student has been absolutely wonderful for me," he said. "I think it’s great because of the flexibility that it allows. The deadlines are set up-front, and it allows you to work within those deadlines. When getting your assignments done on time, the course is very flexible to which days of the week you use to complete them. It can be a large workload at times, but you’re able to schedule those tasks as your time permits."