McEneney ’21 to Enter Suffolk Construction’s Career Start Program
Michael McEneney ’21 took the chance to embrace an unexpected job opportunity, ultimately leading him to a profession that complements his academic experiences at Hamilton. Below are some of McEneney’s thoughts about college and his professional career.
Talk a little bit about your job.
I’m joining the Career Start Program at Suffolk Construction [which] entails estimating, project management, and a superintendent role. [I’ll be doing] onsite project management … leading the construction efforts and handling logistics and planning. And so that’s going to be something new for me, obviously, something that I don’t really know much about yet. We’re looking at construction and construction technology, innovation [and] using AI to try to make the productivity in the construction industry increase because it’s one of the few industries that has a big gap between productivity increase and technology increase.
Is Suffolk a nationwide company?
Yeah, it is. There are locations all over the country: Texas, Florida, California, New York, Boston ... it’s $3.5 billion in revenue. They make a habit of taking on the most challenging construction projects around the country. They built the Hard Rock Hotel, the one that’s shaped entirely like a guitar, the Encore in Boston, [and] they did an expansion on LAX recently, which actually came in under budget and ahead of time.
Majors: public policy, art history
Hometown: Alexandria, Va.
High school: Saint Stephens and Saint Agnes School
Will you be at any particular location?
I’ll be in Boston, so I’m looking forward to that — [my] first experience with the city will be moving there. That’s where the headquarters are.
What attracted you to this field or profession?
I’m a public policy and art history double major. I really don’t have much knowledge of the construction management industry. And really, how I even got interested was their recruiter or head of the Career Start Program reached out to my [basketball] coach and said, ‘Hey, this is the description of the job. Do you think anybody would be interested?’ I said yes, I spoke to him, went to the interviews, learned more and more that I liked the job, and ended up here. So I’m really excited about it. I mean, coming from a liberal arts school and having a lot of varied interests ... studying architecture actually, as part of my art history major, really drew me to construction.
As soon as I heard about the opportunity I was interested, because through learning about architecture, you learn about how advancements in construction technology actually allow architects as artists to communicate different ideals about society, really using architecture as the way in which societies communicate the most important things about themselves.
How has your time at Hamilton prepared you for this job?
Big lessons that I learned at Hamilton are that the skills you learn in one portion translate over to the next, then over to the next, and over the next one — there’s nothing that you can’t learn from one experience, no matter how specific it is or how concentrated it is on one academic discipline. You really have to take all the skills that you’ve learned through all your studies and all your work and apply them together in order to actually be a successful person in life. And it can push you to places that you didn’t think that you were necessarily qualified for, like construction management.
I mean, coming from a liberal arts school and having a lot of varied interests ... studying architecture actually, as part of my art history major, really drew me to construction.
Some of the [Career Start Program] class is other liberal arts-educated people like myself. I’m going into this class in Boston with, I think, another basketball player in the NESCAC who played at Trinity. But it’s also a lot of engineers and a lot of people who actually studied construction management as their major. So I think what Hamilton’s given me is the ability to compete with people who may have more specific knowledge about what we’re actually doing. But because I have the skills that Hamilton’s trained me [to have] … hard work, obviously, is the biggest one that Hamilton gives you. But, you know, feeling confident applying your knowledge to different sectors that you are not familiar with is really what Hamilton’s given me, I think.
What are you going to miss the most about Hamilton?
What I’m going to miss the most about Hamilton is also what attracted me to Suffolk, which was the guarantee of being around people who really want to do their best. That’s something that I’ve loved about Hamilton, being surrounded by people who … are willing to make sacrifices … to try to be the best they can be. That’s something that drives communities, and that’s something that drives the world, really, those people who really strive to be their best.