Director of Construction, Central Division
UCF Degree in Civil Engineering
Describe your job and responsibilities.
After nine years with Walt Disney Imagineering, I’m relatively new in my role with Starbucks Coffee as Director of Construction, Central Division. I currently lead a team that manages construction operations across the 27 states in our Central Division. These projects can include anything from a ground up new store build to an existing store renovation. The role is actually fairly new as well, so I’m excited to be a part of the direction for both the role and the future strategy of construction with Starbucks.
What do you enjoy most about this role?
I am truly enjoying leading a team (and projects) across such a diverse geographical region. Each area presents different opportunities and challenges unique to the local jurisdictions and social characteristics of that territory. Despite the current circumstances, I’ve enjoyed encouraging my team to become nimbler and more innovative and watching them devise and execute plans on an ever-changing baseline of information.
I’m also excited to be working alongside first-rate real estate and design teams to deliver an experience that our consumers love. I’ve been quite fortunate in my professional career to have had time learning from and working with some of the greatest minds, talents, and people in the world. Starbucks and Disney are both wholesome and innovative brands that focus on an outstanding Guest Experience.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment was being a part of the Walt Disney Imagineering team that brought Shanghai Disney Resort to life. In 2015, I was asked to relocate to Shanghai, China in order to help lead construction efforts of the new Disney Park. I joined the team in the pivotal final year of construction and faced enormous hurdles associated with the completion of my projects in the Adventure Isle portion of the park. I was able to work closely with teams of international workers and artisans to overcome cultural boundaries and unite them with a common vision, pride in work well done. Being there to experience the first Guests enjoying the park definitely brought tears to my eyes.
What are your future professional aspirations?
I want to continue to grow as a leader of people. I read a lot and am currently an avid consumer of Dale Carnegie. I guess you could say my future professional aspirations are actually a bit more philosophical “to be” than concrete “to do.”
How did UCF prepare you for your career?
UCF provided a fast pace and rigorous curriculum that set me up for success. It also provided a significant level of career and leadership development through opportunities for team leadership that I leveraged to grow into a better leader.
I was on the UCF Steel Bridge team through the American Society of Civil Engineers for three years. This was a team of students led by students that handled budgeting, scheduling, design, and execution of building a large steel bridge. Many of the skills I learned working with my peers directly translated to my future workplace. While interviewing for an internship at Disney, I was able to build an almost instant connection with someone on the panel who was also a UCF Engineering and steel bridge alum.
What advice do you have for UCF students?
Take advantage of opportunities and activities that go beyond your coursework. These activities build your toolbox of both practical skills and interesting experiences that will allow you to connect more easily once your time as a UCF student is complete. Also, reach out and network with people in careers that you aspire to have. More often than not, industry leaders are happy to share their stories.