Tayler Matzke & Carrie Arndt
Carrie Arndt and her daughter Tayler Matzke enjoy a unique mother-daughter bond that’s been forged and strengthened through construction work. By learning about construction processes, drawing up estimates, and drafting proposals together, the two connected in a way very few mothers and daughters do.
Arndt and Matzke are both graduates of the University of Minnesota’s Construction Management (CM) program, each completing her coursework in 2015. Arndt earned her Construction Management Certificate, while Matzke earned her BS in Construction Management. Their studies overlapped near the end of their time in the CM program when Arndt and Matzke enrolled in a Capstone class that traveled to Costa Rica.
“I love any opportunity to travel, so I knew I wanted to take advantage of this option for my Capstone,” Matzke says. “Carrie also needed the class, and being that she’s my favorite travel partner, I thought it would be an awesome, unique experience for us to do together.”
As it turns out, nothing brings mothers and daughters together quite like creating a construction proposal for a Women’s Empowerment Center in Costa Rica. This was the two-week project that Arndt and Matzke poured themselves into. Along with 11 other students on the trip, they worked with real clients at the Women’s Empowerment Center to design, estimate, schedule, and present a proposal for a new construction project.
“The format of the Capstone class proved to be a great experience and a powerful lesson in collaboration,” Arndt says. “I don’t think it would’ve been the same had Tayler and I not done it together. Respecting and genuinely supporting people you work with results in better outcomes and should be something all teams encourage.”
The work wasn’t over when Arndt and Matzke disembarked from the plane after their Costa Rica experience. The Capstone course continued over the rest of the semester, involving partner assignments that Arndt and Matzke worked on together. Many of these assignments were analyses of construction case studies. It was another opportunity for Arndt and Matzke to connect in a way most mothers and daughters don’t: in a classroom, learning.
“I learned a lot from working with my mom,” Matzke says. “She brought her life experiences and problem-solving skills while I brought my construction work experience. In class, we would build off of each other’s thoughts and produce high-quality work. Not many people get to say they had the opportunity to work so closely with their parents and learn from them as an adult. I will definitely remember and cherish our Capstone course for the rest of my life.”
See below to learn more about Arndt’s and Matzke’s paths that led to the Construction Management program.
Carrie Arndt grew up in small town with a large family in the grain bin business. Construction was built into the architecture of daily conversation in her household, and Arndt developed an appreciation for the variety of skills required to successfully manage individual projects and business in general.
Arndt’s early interest led to her earning a BS in Business from the University of Minnesota in 1983. Having found a career path as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Arndt gravitated toward clients in the construction field. She spent years working full time as a CPA, raising her family, and managing properties. As if she weren’t busy enough, Arndt decided to pursue a Certificate in Construction Management as well. According to Arndt, this certificate would be “a great fit with a life I already loved and allowed me to finally take my own advice and pursue continued education.”
One class at a time, Arndt worked her way through the Certificate program. Meanwhile, her daughter Tayler enrolled at the U of M as an architecture student, subsequently changing architecture to a minor and applying to the Construction Management program that her mom was in. Arndt and her daughter completed their Programs at the same time, and enjoyed taking their final Capstone course together.
“It was a pleasant surprise to arrive at the final milestone together as we did,” Arndt says. “The added benefit was learning from my daughter by witnessing her professional character, insight, and strengths firsthand.
“I believe that you never know where something may lead, so I very strongly recommend the Construction Management program and continued education in general. Having just completed the Program, it has already proven beneficial—not only in helping to speak the industry language of my clients, but also to open up new and unexpected opportunities.”
Tayler Matzke declared her major as Architecture during her first year at the University of Minnesota. She quickly discovered that this major wasn’t right for her—too much theory and not enough application. That’s when she changed her focus to Construction Management, a program whose coursework “clicked” for her. Matzke liked that with construction, she could still be involved in architecture and engineering while putting physical efforts into making designs a reality on the construction site.
“I heard about the Construction Management program through my mom,” Matzke says. “I had been having doubts about the architecture degree, and my mom’s courses piqued my interest, making me want to explore the construction path further.”
Matzke enjoyed the structure of her CM classes and was surprised that the skills she learned in the classroom would tie directly into what she would be doing in her career. At the end of each new class—from Specification and Technical Writing for Construction Managers to Estimating—Matzke felt prepared to enter the work force after graduation.
“I’ve been working as an Associate Project Manager at The Opus Group, and I hope to continue on this path. I got this position after taking an internship at the company. I was hired before finishing my degree, which worked out, as the Construction Management program offers night and online classes. It got tough to manage full-time work and school, but it was the smartest decision I made as a student. That internship at Opus led to a position working for a company I love.”
Matzke plans to go back to school eventually for her MBA. She aims to progress into higher management roles once she’s got more experience under her belt.