As she turned 50, and her youngest child graduated from high school, Ann Jacklitch decided to finish her undergraduate degree at the U. "I had a two-year degree in architectural drafting and estimating, and was working as a plans reviewer in the University Building Code Division.
"Previously, I'd worked in architectural design for 20 years (including 10 years for the U), followed by 2 years as a building inspector, and then nearly 10 years as a plan reviewer for the U. I felt I had a strong background in building codes, and in design, but was missing that third piece of the equation. Earning my B.A.S. in the CM program would give me that--it would give me a better understanding of the construction perspective/aspect, and enhance what I was doing in my career."
That rounded perspective, Jacklitch believes, has been a crucial component in her academic and career successes. "So much of my learning was done in project teams--in groups that were made up of people of varying ages and experiences, as well as professional backgrounds."
The value of project teams is underscored in her current role as assistant building official, a job she moved into three years ago. One particular example, "frozen" in her mind, happened in 2010 following the post-blizzard collapse of the Metrodome roof. The Vikings were scheduled to host Monday Night Football at the Dome, but were forced to move to TCF Bank Stadium. Jacklitch was one of a team of several individuals from around the U who were tasked with getting the already-winterized TCF stadium ready for the game--in just seven days.
"It was a diverse group with representatives from Athletics, Parking and Transportation, Emergency Management, Facilities Management-East Bank District, Environmental Health and Safety, Disability Services, UDS [University Dining Services], UM Police, Building Codes, and more. We had to learn to work together seamlessly, in a very short amount of time. And I think anyone you talk to who was part of that, would say it was one of the best work experiences they've ever had."
And even though she has been in the industry for many years, professionally, Jacklitch feels like completing her degree has allowed her to see the world through new eyes.
"This degree helps you qualify for so many opportunities within project management and construction management, and helps prepare you for management roles...When you open new doors with school you start to see there are so many more possibilities where you can provide a different level of service or leadership for the common good."