Martin Schmedt MCM ’18, project engineer for WCU’s Tom Apodaca Science Building, spent hours drawing plans for dream houses as a child. “After drawing so many, I began to envision building them for my friends and family,” Schmedt said. His artistic flair led to a major in architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and Schmedt worked as an architect briefly after graduating.
He found the job unfulfilling and decided to change careers. For several years, he held various hospitality industry jobs and also served as a youth counselor. “I spent some time finding myself,” he said. Eventually, he returned to the building arts and enrolled in WCU’s master’s degree program in construction management. He chose the program, he said, because it offered broad exposure to the industry and networking opportunities. “As I progressed through classes, I regained a long-lost passion for making a blueprint come to life,” he said.
Serving as engineer for the $110 million building named after former state Sen. Tom Apodaca ’80 has been something of a real-life dream project for Schmedt. When completed in 2021, the facility will have state-of-the-art labs and classrooms for teaching students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM fields.
The building features many innovative aspects, Schmedt said, including the challenging design of the south façade radius shape, a complex infrastructure and the use of unique materials such as slate tiles on exterior walls and ambrosia maple for interior accents. Schmedt, whose employer is the building’s contractor, Skanska USA, still remembers the day two years ago when he saw the company’s job post for a project engineer at the WCU site.
“I couldn’t send my resumé fast enough,” he said. “The job provides everything I’ve been looking for.”
App Deadline: Jan. 1, May 1, Aug. 1
Pre-Requisites: GRE NOT required
Time to Complete: 30 Hours, 24 Months
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