Business school construction is MBA alum’s dream project
DPR Construction didn’t have to look far and wide for a project manager for its work site overlooking historic Bowman Field on the campus of Clemson University.
Justin Tetor ’11 MBA was first in line and “wasn’t going to take no for an answer” for the general contractor’s construction of the new College of Business building adjacent to Walter T. Cox Boulevard.
“More than any other assignment I’ve worked on in my 17 years in the business, the College of Business project is personal for me,” said Tetor, whose dream project is scheduled for completion in early 2020. “My time in Clemson’s MBA program, including a class taught by Bobby McCormick, has left an indelible mark on my career, and life. I’m honored to have this opportunity.”
DPR’s role in the project is as construction manager and includes self-performing interior framing and drywall. As construction manager, DPR is charged with balancing the project’s scope, schedule and budget, and coordinating the subcontractor trades so they don’t get in each other’s way.
“There was no class more influential in my professional development than managerial economics. The behavioral economics taught in that class not only pertained to my work, but to life in general,” Tetor said. “I remember every lesson that was taught and, to this day, I benefit from them on the job and at home.”
McCormick, retired College of Business dean, was a catalyst for getting the business school project out of the starting blocks. At the request of newly appointed Dean Wendy York, he is now serving in an oversight role on the project.
Tetor was introduced to the construction trades at an early age, having worked summer construction jobs as a teenager and while in college. After earning an undergraduate degree in economics, he worked in commercial construction.
“If the opportunity presented itself, I had always wanted to study business in grad school,” Tetor said. “My wife, Heather, and I were living in Charleston, but decided to move closer to her family in Pickens. When we moved to Pickens, it made sense for me to enroll in Clemson’s graduate business program.”
He said his taking the class taught by McCormick and having the opportunity to lead a project that was being driven by his former instructor years later, was fortuitous.
“The College of Business impacted my life in a formative way. When the opportunity arose to become project manager for one of the biggest construction projects in Clemson’s history, I jumped at it,” said Tetor, a father of two girls (Ella and Anna) and two boys (Whitman and Benjamin). “It was an opportunity for me to give back to the school and to an individual, who did so much for me.”
Tetor said he was determined to recruit the best DPR had for the project and is convinced he has.
“One of our key people is Clyde Brannen, the construction superintendent. It was important for us to have people with the appropriate level of passion and dedication to the project because of the importance of delivering exceptional results,” Tetor added. “Clyde is one of the best in the business. We needed to make sure he was leading this one.”
On an average day, 60 to 80 people are working on the twin-tower, 180,000 square foot new home to Clemson business education. At peak construction, likely next summer, 200 to 300 workers will be on location working on mechanicals, electrical, plumbing and drywall, to name a few.
Tetor has been a project manager on a number of big projects in South Carolina. Among them, are Clemson’s Football Operations Center, Google’s Data Center near Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina Ashley River Tower in Charleston.
At this point, though, the College of Business project is hands down, the crown jewel of his career.
“The magnitude of this project, and its importance to the university, sets this one apart,” Tetor said. “This building’s size, design and its location will make a statement about business education at Clemson. As an alum of the MBA program, I couldn’t be more proud about having a key role in one of the biggest building projects in university history.”
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