• Joe Modica.
  • Caleb Laughlin.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Just a few years after graduating from the MU College of Engineering, Joe Modica is already climbing the leadership ladder, now serving as an assistant project manager at Nabholz Corp.

So when he saw an opportunity to expand upon his engineering and leadership skills at Mizzou, he seized the opportunity.

Now, Modica is one of 36 professionals who successfully completed the inaugural Construction Management Leadership Institute, a three-day intensive training for civil engineers and construction professionals developed by Mizzou Engineering and MU Extension.

The Construction Management Leadership Institute, or CMLI, is designed to help professionals learn best practices in the industry alongside leadership skills, team building and effective communication. Instructors were Professor Carlos Sun and Assistant Teaching Professor James Kereri from civil engineering and Rae Lyon from the Missouri Training Institute.

“I took construction management courses with Dr. Sun as an undergraduate, so I was excited to learn more from him,” Modica said. “And Kereri’s sessions on scheduling and budgets were extremely valuable as I work with those every day. The leadership speaker was also fantastic—Rae Lyon provided really insightful information about emotional intelligence that will be helpful as I continue on this leadership path.”

Caleb Laughlin, who graduated from Mizzou Engineering in December 2023, also saw CMLI as a good way to gain more experience and knowledge.

“My boss suggested it, and I know how great Mizzou Engineering is, so this was an ideal opportunity to learn more,” he said. “I learned a lot, not only from the instructors, but from other people there. It was valuable to hear other people’s experiences in the field and to know that we’re all facing the same challenges and opportunities.”

Hearing more about bidding, accounting and scheduling will help in his immediate role as project engineer at River City Construction, Laughlin said.

“Since I just graduated, I’ve not had much leadership experience yet, but it was valuable to hear about what constitutes good or bad leadership traits,” he said. “Now, I know what I should do to become an effective leader.”

Both Modica and Laughlin stressed that the networking aspect of CMLI was especially beneficial, as the institute drew professionals from a range of construction companies across Missouri.

“I’d recommend it to anyone in the industry, no matter what their experience level,” Laughlin said.

The institute consists of three days of lessons held on campus over three weeks, The next CMLI will be held in November 2024. For more information, visit the CMLI webpage.

Originally posted by Mizzou Engineering.