“Live each day as if it were your last. Learn
as if you would live forever.” The famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi is how
Michelle Atkins tries to live her life.
Meet Michelle Atkins, one of four 2017-18 recipients of PCL Construction’s
Construction Management Scholarship at the University of Minnesota College of
Continuing and Professional Studies, and project coordinator for Medtronic
Inc., in Brooklyn Center. Five years ago, her company asked her to develop an
office space strategy to accommodate growth within the facility. It’s this
project that ignited her enthusiasm for the construction management industry,
and motivated her to continue her education.
“Once involved, I started seeing the projects come to life,
it was then that I realized that I had found my passion,” says Michelle. “As the years have gone on, my role with
facility projects has grown, with endless opportunities for learning.”
Michelle spends much of her time working on facility remodel
projects in her current role. These can be anything from office remodels affecting
over 100 employees, to smaller cafeteria and conference room renovations.
In 2016, Michelle decided to continue her education and go
back to school for a construction management degree. A non-traditional student
at the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies,
Michelle is focusing on a degree in commercial construction. She chose this program
as it aligns with her current career path at Medtronic.
In her course studies, Michelle is learning the means and
methods of managing construction within a regulated manufacturing environment.
Applying this knowledge, she can address the logistical challenges that her
24/7 facility faces. Disruption avoidance is a top priority for a manufacturing
facility, and Michelle works to facilitate collaboration among all stakeholders,
determining the best course of action, and ensuring optimal outcomes.
“I am lucky enough to say that I have had more successes than
challenges,” says Michelle. “I think that is because I have such a great
support team at Medtronic, and work with some of the best contractors and
subcontractors. It feels good when employees and visitors see the progress that
the team is making, and like what they are seeing.”
After graduation Michelle hopes to advance her career at
Medtronic and become a project manager, overseeing global projects.
Since the inception of the PCL’s endowed scholarship in
2011, the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional
Studies selects students based on merit, talent and need. It funds multiple
scholarships each year.
The PCL Construction Management Scholarship was established
by PCL Minneapolis to ensure that women and minority students, can become
future leaders in the construction industry. With women representing only nine
percent of the industry, Michelle is one of the many women who are
breaking barriers in construction.
“Through your journey, don't be afraid to ask questions,” says
Michelle when asked about advice she gives for women entering construction. “As
I believe any sort of knowledge that comes your way can only benefit you.”
Congratulations again to Michelle on receiving