Ever since graduation, Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering alumnus, Anargyros Antonopoulos, has relied on GTPE’s professional development programs to advance his career in the construction industry.
After receiving his master’s in civil engineering in 2012, and achieving a 3.8 GPA, he soon landed a job as a project engineer at LEVEL5, an Atlanta-based company specializing in design-build. Within a year and a half, he was promoted twice and now holds the position of project manager. He credits GTPE for helping him transition to his new career. “The programs are top quality and related directly to what I do,” he said.
Antonopoulos has completed several professional development courses at GTPE, which have led to highly regarded industry credentials – one of them being the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certificate. And in September this year, he became GTPE’s first learner to be awarded the Certificate in Advanced Problem Solving.
He was drawn to the advanced problem solving certificate program because of its hands-on, application-based approach to tackling challenges project managers often face. Rather than exploring theories in a purely academic setting, the program requires learners to apply their knowledge and skills to solve the real-world problems presented in industry pertinent case studies.
Antonopoulos completed the demanding program within six months and found it valuable for several reasons. Learning about ways of thinking about problems and the approaches to solving them brought an instant benefit – he was able to incorporate his new skills in his day-to-day work to make overt improvements. “Being in the construction industry, I have to solve problems every day. And they’re different each time. Having a framework for approaching them is important,” he explained.
Another aspect of the program that was immediately applicable to his job was the course he took on leading engineering teams, which was an elective he selected as part of the program. In his role as project manager, a large part of his work entails leading teams. The opportunity for him to take the course as part of the program was an added advantage.
And an unexpected highlight, for Antonopoulos, was the opportunity to interact with other learners from different professional backgrounds and to discover a variety of perspectives. “I found it valuable to be exposed to other mindsets and to see how classmates from other industries see the same topics and approach similar problems,” he said.
Despite having earned two renowned industry credentials at GTPE, this forward-focused professional has no intention of taking a break from learning. Passionate about his career and constantly on the lookout for opportunities to improve, he sees professional education as crucial for helping him achieve his goals. “Day-to-day experience and learning on the job is valuable but to advance, you need to combine it with professional education. Blending work experience with formal instruction to get the best of both is important,” he said.