Academic Excellence Award Winner: Erica Kegler, Construction Management

Erica Kegler, Academic Excellence Award winner
Erica Kegler, Academic Excellence Award winner

After taking time off from school, Erica Kegler, a recent Construction Management graduate, was not sure if she would ever return to finish her bachelor’s degree. Then she discovered her passion for construction, which led her to a Dunwoody education.

“In my previous college experience, I felt overwhelmed when I had to pick a major. There was some fear and anxiety in deciding exactly what I wanted to do,” Kegler said. “I just felt passionate about so many different things I didn’t know what direction to head in.”

Prior to Dunwoody, Kegler worked in hospitality where she explored an interest in event planning. When there was an opening at her husband’s workplace, McGough Construction, she decided to give it a try.

“By nature, I’ve always been a detail-oriented person who enjoys working with diverse groups of people, and the construction industry has proven to be a perfect fit,” Kegler said. “There’s been nothing more satisfying to me in my career than seeing all the parts and pieces of a project finally come together.

“My husband David helped foster my initial enthusiasm for this field, and helped support the timing of my decision to return to school,” Kegler said.

One of the biggest things that drew her to Dunwoody was the flexibility of evening classes, so she could both work and earn her degree.

“As a night student, it helps that the Dunwoody professors have experience in the construction industry and have a good understanding for teaching only what is relevant,” she said.

Although there are some challenges that come with working during the day and attending class in the evening, Kegler felt support from her family, friends, instructors, classmates, and coworkers who helped her succeed.

“You are not alone in the trenches. I’ve been blessed with some wonderful role models at both Dunwoody and McGough. Many of these role models being strong women in construction, so that is huge for me,” she said.

Active outside the classroom, Kegler traveled to Las Vegas for this years’ National Association of Home Builders competition. And this summer she will be taking part in Hearts for Hammers, and a tiny home project with the Girl Scouts.

Instructors speak highly of Kegler’s ambition, work ethic, and drive to succeed.

“In the classroom, Erica is prompt, dedicated, engaged, and diligent, and her grades show that,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management and Surveying and Civil Engineering Program Manager. “Erica is able to apply her education immediately to her profession working at McGough, and her life experiences enrich it all. I am so grateful that Erica has been working on the Girl Scouts camp with us for this past year, and I look forward to building on site with her in June!”

Erica Kegler, with Heather Gay, program manager
Erica Kegler, left,  with Heather Gay, Construction Management and Surveying and Civil Engineering Program Manager

Throughout her classes at Dunwoody, a valuable experience for Kegler was taking Karie Johnson’s professional development course.

“I went into the construction management program with a narrow-minded focus, but since taking this course I have been able to explore related careers paths I could take in the future,” Kegler said. “It’s nice to know I am not pigeon-holed to one area of expertise.”

Kegler is currently a project engineer at McGough, but hopes to become a project manager and inspire others, especially women, in the same way she was inspired by her role models.

“Dunwoody is unique in providing an individual college experience for each one of their students, by meeting people where they are at in life, and helping them reach their goals to get where they need to go,” Kegler said.