Global Leaders program welcomes new director
Above: Students from the Global Leaders in Construction Management program toured the Oculus, the new transit hub at the World Trade Center in Manhattan in March 2018.
Ernest-John Ignacio is the new director of CEE’s program Global Leaders in Construction Management (GLCM), a five-year curriculum combining the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The program’s primary focus is to provide students with a balance of industry practice and academic theory with a global perspective on the construction industry.
Ignacio is working on his Ph.D. in CEE, which he expects to complete in May 2021. His dissertation is titled, “Optimizing the Planning of Utility Relocations to Expedite Highway Projects.” He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Cooper Union in New York.
Ignacio worked for 11 years in the construction industry in New York, beginning as an intern at Bovis Lend Lease Inc. during his undergraduate degree. Major construction projects on which he worked include Columbia University Manhattanville, John F. Kennedy International Airport and the World Trade Center – Deutsche Bank. His most recent position before pursuing his Ph.D. at Illinois was as a project manager for Lend Lease, a position he held for seven years.
Ignacio teaches the introductory construction class CEE 320 Construction Engineering, and two newly developed classes, CEE 498CS Construction Safety and CEE 498CF Construction Finance.
In addition to a curriculum guided toward more practice-oriented topics, GLCM students experience three practical components throughout the year: an international experience visiting construction projects abroad, a summer internship and a national trip to construction projects in the United States.
The GLCM program began in 2005, and with the graduating class of May 2019, the program achieved 100 alumni, Ignacio says. This growth strengthens both the Illinois CEE name and the aspirations of its students, he says.
“The great thing about this program is that as we send our students into the workplace, what we get in return is a larger network,” he says. “We have reach all over the world. So as our network continues to grow, it not only leaves the Illinois CEE impact, but it is also planting the flag for prospective students to demonstrate how far they can go.”