Our Stories

By All Estimates, His Contributions Grew

Construction estimator builds a strong foundation for his company and career

Luke Newell
Central Area Manager, Dunn Building Company LLC

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2016

To his employer — a regional general contractor based in Birmingham — Luke Newell’s expertise had involved putting together proposals for projects up to $25 million in value. But after he began the Executive MBA program at Vanderbilt, his contributions began to extend much further.

For example, Luke, who earned a degree in construction from Auburn, applied what he learned at Vanderbilt to convince his company’s chief operating officer to implement a formal advancement program for employees. Now, Luke says, laborers at Dunn Building Company can see a clear path to follow to reach the role of superintendent. He notes that “the response has been well received, and our men tend to be pushing much more for promotions, which has increased their productivity and reduced our unit rates.”

To Luke, who was being groomed by the company for senior management, the plan typifies the way his approaching his work broadened after he began the EMBA program. “Instead of thinking about problems with only my operations hat on, I now put on my marketing, strategy and human resources hats as well,” he says. “And my company has seen a good ROI through my marketing suggestions and human resources initiatives.”

With all of his other responsibilities at the company, Luke says, “squeezing in an EMBA is never easy, but as I look back the two years just flew by.” At first, he found it difficult to find time and energy to handle all of the deliverables for each class. By the time he graduated, he found the program not only had improved his knowledge but changed the way he viewed his ongoing professional development. Now, he says, “I am constantly searching to improve my professional knowledge base because of the routine Vandy has put me in.” 

“My company has seen a good ROI through my marketing suggestions and human resources initiatives.”