CIM Graduates

CIM Graduate

Michelle Ahola Garcia

School: California State University, Chico

Graduation Date: 2015

Employer: Swinerton

“The program gave me the concrete-specific knowledge that others don't quite get in other construction management programs. Because of this, I can gain an in-depth understanding of issues and try to resolve them. ”

 A 2015 graduate of the CIM program at California State University, Chico, Michelle Ahola Garcia is an assistant project manager at Swinerton – a firm providing construction services and delivering innovative solutions throughout the United States. In her role in the Self Perform Concrete division, Michelle manages the concrete packages and budgets for some of the company’s projects in Sacramento and Bay Area.  

 When asked why she choose the CIM program, Michelle responded “I originally was enrolled in the automotive program at Butte Community College because I have always liked building things and thought that would be a great fit. After the first semester, I decided it wasn’t for me. Then the CIM program sort of chose me. After meeting with the program director, I realized this was the program I had been looking for.”  

 The CIM program partners with businesses to provide summer internships for students. During her time at Chico State, Michelle was able to complete two internships. Her first was at the Alcatraz Field School. a 10-week summer program to evaluate, preserve and repair deteriorated concrete structures at Alcatraz Island. “This experience helped me gain a lot of concrete repair knowledge that I still use today,” said Michelle. Her second internship was with Oldcastle Precast where she learned about precast operations. “I still enjoy seeing their products on my jobsites,” commented Michelle.  

When Michelle was asked how the CIM program prepared her for her current job responsibilities, she responded “the program gave me the concrete-specific knowledge that others don’t quite get in other construction management programs. Because of this, I can get more in-depth with issues and try to resolve them. The program also taught me how to network to gain contacts at many companies which is a great asset to have.”    

Michelle’s advice:

If possible, try different types of internships each summer. This will help you gain a variety of knowledge and help figure out what role in the industry you like the best. Also, industry relationships are very important. Network as much as you can!