Spotlighting Alumni Excellence: Purdue University

Our partnership with Purdue University has proven to be an invaluable asset in our recruitment efforts. With a faculty of distinguished experts, cutting-edge research facilities, and a diverse student body, Purdue fosters a culture of innovation and forward-thinking solutions.

In this week’s “Spotlighting Alumni Excellence” Q&A, we had the pleasure of speaking with Sean P., a program manager in our Infrastructure group and proud Purdue alum. He shared his insights on the significance of teamwork that he acquired during his time at Purdue and discussed his pivotal role in facilitating Parsons’ recruitment of top talent from this esteemed institution.

What is your current role at Parsons?

I am a Program Manager for Parsons’ Structures in Parsons’ Indianapolis office for the East Central Region. I have worked on numerous federal, state, county, and private highway bridges and railroad structures. Notable projects include the new Interstate I-69 Project Sections 2 and 3 where I served as the overall Bridge lead for over 125 new bridges, the US 52 Major Bridge Project over Wabash River, and I-69 over Black Ankle Creek design build project. In addition, I have worked on over 200 bridge rehabilitation and widening projects throughout the Midwest.

I joined Parsons in 2009 after working at another company for 14 years. In this first position, I worked very closely with INDOT and local contractors, gaining the knowledge and contacts to help build the bridge practice at Parsons. I was the first Bridge hire in the Indianapolis office for Parsons. One of the first things I did was establish meetings at different INDOT District offices to introduce Parsons to them. Soon after this, Parsons won our first district project in LaPorte as an on-call assignment and then a standalone Bridge replacement which was the US 52 bridge over the Wabash River in the Crawfordsville District. These wins allowed Parsons to hire additional key employees and together our team has built up the practice here in Indianapolis to where we have around 65 employees doing Transportation work.

What’s your current involvement with your alma mater?  What are some ways you bring awareness of Parsons to current students?

Currently, I am a Parsons representative for coordination with Purdue and involved in the fall recruiting. This past October, we attended a resume blitz with approximately 40 -50 students to help them improve their resumes. Purdue set up this event with Parsons for the express purpose of having us review resumes and suggest possible improvements. I attended with Road Project Managers Matt Taylor and Mark Perron and(Associate Engineer) Caroline Arnold – all Purdue graduates. Matt and I also plan a tailgate for each home Purdue football game and invite interns, co-ops, and Parsons’ Purdue alumni. I really enjoy tailgating!!!  John LaBlonde (Road Project Manager), Megan Knapp Early (Talent Program Manager), and I also attended the FYE Industry Exploration industry night and career fair on October 11th and 12th. The industry night was a chance for freshman in engineering to find out what we do on a day-to-day basis and ask questions.  

How did your experience at Purdue help chart your career path? What unique aspects of Purdue can you tell us about?

Purdue has top professors that prepare you to hit the ground running when you start your career. The professors take extra time with their students one-on-one and help give them confidence in their abilities to succeed in school and when they start their career. I always enjoyed math growing up and thought engineering would be a great career. Looking back,I am very happy with my choice.

What’s the most important thing you learned at Purdue? Tell us about how you bring that to your work at Parsons.

The most important thing I learned at Purdue is how to work in a team environment and make sure everyone works together efficiently for a common goal. One of the first projects we were assigned from the INDOT on-call was a superstructure replacement – the MLK Drive over I-94 project. This project allowed Parsons to spotlight how we provide superior responsiveness and quality to INDOT’s LaPorte District. After only six years of service, the existing bridge was deteriorating, which forced a roadway due to traffic. Because of our cohesive and team-building culture (similar to Purdue’s culture), Parsons completed the emergency superstructure replacement on an accelerated 20-week design schedule. Time was not the only factor, as this project required a detailed demolition plan to safely remove the beams over the heavily traveled I-94 roadway.

What’s one piece of advice you would share with college students?

Soak up as much knowledge as possible from the different tasks you are assigned and take good notes.

I have served both the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Indianapolis Metro Branch and ASCE Indiana Section as past President for both groups. Currently, I’m active on an ASCE Structural Committee with INDOT updating current standards and the Indiana Design Manual.

The people and projects at Parsons are amazing. Everyone is working towards the common goal of delivering for our clients. With our sharing of resources, we prevent burn out and keep a good work life balance. A lot of companies have profit centers at an office location or even at a team level. This causes competition in an unhealthy way because you are not looking out for the client or the bottom line for the company. ESOP and the ability to share resources make sure that knowledge is shared across boundaries. If you are looking for a unique company that values it employees, you should consider a career at Parsons.

Keep an eye out for more exciting employee spotlights—next up is our Parsons’ alumni from Stevens Tech. In case you missed it, check out our other spotlight interviews with Janelle B./Colorado School of Mines alum and Anna S./Virgina Tech alum. And be sure to catch us on these campuses at various recruiting events.

Want to learn more about Parsons and our opportunities? Check out our Early Talent Program and Life at Parsons pages.

About The Author

I have been working on transportation projects for 28 years and love working on all projects that come our way. Some of the most rewarding projects are those that seemed impossible, but you find a way to build them. Working on Design Build projects are rewarding because you must drive innovation during the bid phase to win the project and carry it through to the project being built – this never gets old. Working directly for clients on traditional design-build-bid is also rewarding because we see their vision become reality and know the public will enjoy the fruits of our labor, building new infrastructure that will last for a long time. I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, or exploring a new place on vacation. I have two kids; one graduated from Purdue and the other is currently attending college at Trinity University..

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