Alumna Cori Wilson (formerly Miller) hadn’t decided on a major when she arrived at Missouri State University. With an interest in math and a knack for organization, a friend suggested she give construction management a try.
“I started taking classes my second semester of my freshman year in the technology and construction management program, and I loved it,” Wilson said. “I stuck with it, and it led to my career.”
Now, Wilson manages projects valued at over $40 million. Despite setting out in a male-dominated field, her family did not express any reservations.
“I kind of sprang it on them when I made up my mind to follow this path, but I received nothing but support. They continue to be my biggest source of inspiration for my work,” she said.
Creating a path for other women
“To women considering the construction management field, just do it,” Wilson said. “It’s a possibility for you. Surround yourself with people who support women in this role and create a comfortable environment.”
In 2018, when she and another female project manager realized there was not a chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in Northwest Arkansas, they spearheaded the effort to start one. Wilson in the founding president of Chapter #384 which has more than 50 members.
Wilson also promotes the profession to other Bears. She has been a guest speaker at a Construction Club meeting (women in construction panel), and attended multiple career fairs representing Crossland Construction.
She still frequently comes back to Missouri for visits. In August, Wilson married Brett Wilson, another COB graduate. He has a degree in finance. The two have known each other since they were 12 and started dating towards the end of college.
The road ahead
From the first whisper of a conversation about a project, Wilson is involved with the process from beginning to end.
“It takes an immense level of focus and understanding of the entire project, and that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a lot of planning,” Wilson said.
Luckily, planning comes naturally to her.
“I’m the planner of planners. I have all your spreadsheets covered,” Wilson said. “Everything is worked out to a tee.”
Wilson was the project manager for Northgate Plaza, a $27 million, six-story office building and parking garage in Rogers, Arkansas. Now, she is leading the Founders Plaza $40 million, five-story office building and parking garage.
Managing large projects continues to be a demanding but rewarding job for her.
Her work has been recognized.
In 2018, Wilson was named in Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s “Fast 15” Class of 2018. This annual recognition nominates 15 people under the age of 30 that show potential or have accomplished goals in their respective fields.
And she doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
“I want to continue to manage a wide array of projects,” Wilson said. “I want to continue to add scopes of work and types of projects to my list that I’ve never done before. I want to continue to build a strong and trustworthy relationship with business owners, developers and subcontractors of my community.”