This year’s baseball season may fall short of expectations, but a less official farm system is still thriving in Massachusetts. Each year, Consigli Construction Co., Inc., a Northeast and Mid-Atlantic construction management firm, makes it a point to seek out and hire WPI grads, creating an annual pipeline of highly qualified talent starting from internships with the hope to hiring after Commencement to the job site. The company currently employs about 70 WPI grads—accounting for nearly 10 percent of its full-time staff.
Consigli recently deepened its support to WPI, providing a generous donation to the university’s Civil Engineering programs where many of their employees learned their trade. According to Jeff Navin ’98, vice president of project management at Consigli, his employer’s commitment to giving is a recognition of the role WPI has played in the company’s success.
We have so many WPI grads who have risen in the ranks here to make this company what it is,” says Navin. “The reality is that Consigli has done well, in part, because of some really great people coming from WPI.
As a fourth-generation family business that recently became employee owned, fostering a positive culture through philanthropy and community involvement is nothing new. However, the Consigli team sees its support of WPI as a “win-win” on both sides.
“We definitely see the value in a WPI education. Every year we make it a point to get on campus to find the best talent there,” he says. “And those graduates come to Consigli well prepared with real-world experience, so investing in WPI is also an investment in our company’s future.”
Beyond financial giving, Consigli staff stay well engaged with WPI students and faculty, providing internship opportunities to students and helping the university keep its programs anchored in current practices in the field. Navin serves on WPI’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board, where he hears firsthand the department’s plans, aspirations, and challenges. He also notes that many Consigli staff, including those at the executive level, have brought their practical experience back to the WPI classroom, serving as guest lecturers and instructors.
“When WPI graduates start at Consigli, it’s a passing of the torch to us, in terms of mentoring and coaching,” says Navin. “So, if we can partner with WPI to help their programs—whether through advising and internships or financially—then we feel the program improves, we improve, and the overall industry improves.”
Navin also notes that WPI grads are integral in helping Consigli discover and implement emerging technologies. One team of students recently used their Major Qualifying Project (MQP) to test new technologies at one of Consigli’s active job sites, including lift-assist exoskeletons, layout robots, and augmented reality software that allows the user to see a planned build through digital goggles before construction begins.
“Supporting MQPs often helps us identify emerging technologies that we can use in the field,” says Navin. “If there’s one thing I can say about WPI students, they’re incredibly innovative and creative.”
With such a robust commitment to giving back through internships and academic opportunities, why did Navin and the Consigli team feel that making a financial gift was also important?
“We can teach, mentor, and train, but we also need to re-invest and support WPI financially—especially during this time of need,” says Navin. “I personally owe a debt of gratitude to WPI, and [as a group of WPI alumni], we asked, ‘What more could we be doing?’”
Consigli’s ongoing support of WPI’s civil and environmental engineering programs has another important effect—stirring the pride that many of their employees feel toward their alma mater.
“I’m not surprised that Consigli is grateful to WPI for how well they prepare students for the real world,” says assistant project manager Caroline Meyer ’17. “And I’m really proud to work for a company that recognizes that.”