Tansey Cregan

With two scholarships—one from the Association of Women Contractors (awarded to young women pursuing a career in construction) and one from the Minnesota Laborers Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (awarded to students committed to a future in the construction industry)—Tansey Cregan dove headlong into the Construction Management program and rebuilt her professional life.

Tansey Cregan doesn’t back down from a challenge. When she decided to enroll in the University of Minnesota’s Construction Management (CMgt) program, she knew it would mean three years of juggling family (which included two young kids under the age of eight), school, and a full-time job at JE Dunn Construction (a role that required biweekly trips to North Dakota for onsite work on various construction projects).

“I had two motivations for completing the program,” Cregan says. “My husband and children were number one. I wanted to show my kids that you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to. The other motivation for me was my mentor at JE Dunn, who at first told me it would be impossible to work full-time and finish my degree at the U. Over the years, I’ve proved him wrong.”

Cregan was hired by JE Dunn in 2006 as a Project Coordinator. Once she got a taste of the construction industry, the problem solving and variety made her realize she wanted to one day become a project manager herself. So Cregan began climbing the ladder at JE Dunn, advancing to the roles of Senior Project Coordinator, Office Manager, Contract Specialist, and Project Engineer. To reach the final rung, Cregan enrolled in the U of M’s CMgt program.

“For me, going back to school as an adult learner was intimidating, but my classmates and teachers have been great,” says Cregan, who took a mix of night and online classes. “I feel fortunate to be working in the industry while I’m in the Construction Management program because I’ve applied what I learned in class as I went along.”

She goes on to say, “The program seems overwhelming, but it’s not at all. Every faculty member has worked hard to help me along the way as I balanced school with family and work. The U of M wants to see you succeed, and they give you the tools you need to achieve your goal.”

Cregan’s appetite for challenges is ongoing, and as she graduates this spring from the CMgt program, she’s looking forward to her next project—and hopefully her next promotion—at JE Dunn.