Theresa Lujan has been an integral member of Vibrantcy’s design team for almost three years, and Vibrantcy is proud to announce that she recently graduated from UNM School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management/Civil Engineering. Ms. Lujan’s passion is to learn about the ever-evolving, various building materials and methods, specifically those related to sustainable living and design. This passion is precisely why she decided to pursue a career in construction & engineering. Theresa, a lifelong NM resident, before attending UNM school of engineering, graduated with honors from CNM with an Associate’s Degree in Architectural/Engineering Drafting Technology in 2009. With almost ten years of industry experience in mechanical and plumbing drafting and design, she takes great pride in working for Vibrantcy, a firm that understands the importance of conserving Mother Earth.
We recently sat down with Theresa to ask her more about her interest in engineering and construction management, her balance of work and school, and what she hopes to accomplish in her career.
1. How and when did you decide to become an engineer?
After receiving my Associates Degree in Architectural/Engineering Drafting Technology from CNM, I worked as a drafter for an architect and mechanical engineer, as well as an estimator for a general contractor and subcontractor over the course of almost ten years. I knew I wanted to further my career in construction with a bachelor’s degree in either Architecture or Construction Management but wasn’t too sure which to pursue. My passion for the project management, estimating and scheduling side of the construction process along with my variety of work experience ultimately helped me decide to pursue a degree in Construction Management through the Civil, Construction, & Environmental Engineering Department at UNM.
2. Tell us more about the engineering discipline you decided to go into, and why?
I decided to pursue a degree in Construction Management because it is a very diverse program! While the Construction Management program resides under the Civil Engineering Department at UNM, it offers a very broad variety of courses from Engineering Economics, Surveying and Geomatics, and Construction Law, Safety, Estimating, and Scheduling courses.
This program combined with a Minor in Business Management courses such as Financial and Managerial Accounting, Business Law, & Operations and Marketing Management opened my eyes to the variety of businesses that exist, how they’re managed behind the scenes, and the management tools they use to run as efficiently as possible.
Overall, Construction Management appealed to me because I felt it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about managing a construction project from beginning to end with an engineer’s mindset as well as learn about business management to advance my project and business organization and planning skills.
3. What was your university experience like as an engineering student?
My university experience as an engineering student was great! While it was the most stressful time of my life, I learned a lot from the faculty and my peers and have a new appreciation for UNM’s beautiful campus, my home away from home for the past few years.
4. How has working at Vibrantcy during your college years affected your studies?
Working at Vibrantcy during my college years affect my studies very minimally. If a crucial deadline was upcoming, I would work evenings or weekends, but this wasn’t too often. When the workload began to increase more than usual, we brought on two more drafters to our team to accommodate the increased workload. I will forever be grateful and appreciative of the entire Vibrantcy staff for all their support while I worked on finishing my degree!
5. What has been your most challenging experience working as an engineer thus far?
My most challenging experience working as an engineer so far has been learning the variety of different systems involved within the construction process. As a Construction Manager, we are responsible for the coordination of many different disciplines to achieve project completion. Working at Vibrantcy as mechanical designer/drafter has taught me a lot about mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and photovoltaic systems. While I know a lot about every system, I don’t know everything, which only pushes me to learn more. I’ve learned that the construction industry is a forever evolving process making it an endless learning industry which is one of the main reasons why I chose this career path.
6. What do you want to accomplish in your career and what do you want to be remembered for?
I plan to work towards a master’s degree in Business Administration further down the road, continue my training and certifications to advance as a Construction Management professional, and obtain a GB-98 New Mexico General Building Contractor’s License. Owning or co-owning a business is also something I hope to accomplish. I hope to be remembered as a role model for other young women considering a career in engineering and most importantly, someone who always followed through on what they say or promise.