WATCH: Behind-the-Scenes Look at EMDC

A new program video spotlights why students and alumni chose the EMDC program and how they've benefited from their EMDC experiences.

Vincent Mazzeffi (EMDC '24) began working at ABCO Electrical Construction & Design in 2003 as a summer intern. Since then, he's been a logistics manager, a foreman electrician, a superintendent, and, for the past five years, the director of operations. 

His current role has vastly different responsibilities from the work he did earlier in his career. To help build on his work experience, Mazzeffi turned to Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Executive Management for Design and Construction (EMDC) program.

Appearing in a new video promoting the program, Mazzeffi shares why EMDC was the right choice for him, discusses the benefits of EMDC's hybrid schedule, and explains how the lessons he has learned supplement his work experience.

The EMDC program is designed to help students develop strategic competencies and insights needed to direct an organization in the built environment.

"Students typically enter the EMDC program because they're interested in building a skill set that's tough to build while you're on the job," EMDC director Shelley Finnigan says in the video. "The leaders of their firms want them to be ready to tackle the challenges of organizational leadership, but there's not always time, when you're running a company, to teach everybody to be a leader inside the company."

That's why Keith Churchill (EMDC '23) chose EMDC. Churchill, who is chief innovation officer at Bechtel Corporation and also featured in the video, knew he wanted to grow as a leader. To do that, he wanted to learn about other aspects of his company's business besides the construction component.

"Getting a better understanding of design, getting an understanding of accounting and finance, getting a better understanding of the things that are affecting our business … the EMDC program helped me fill those gaps," says Churchill, who's been with Bechtel Corporation since 2016 and in his current role since 2021.

Since graduating from the EMDC program, Churchill has stayed engaged with the program’s Alumni Ambassador Program and through service as a member of the EMDC Industry Advisory Board, where he provides insights on key decisions that are shaping the program’s future and supports current students and prospects who seek guidance as they plan for their future.

Joe Washington (EMDC '22) is also on the Industry Advisory Board and leads the EMDC Alumni Ambassador Board. As a construction analyst for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington has seen firsthand how the EMDC program can help students grow personally and professionally.

"Through this executive management program, you learn how the executives (and) decision makers think," he said. "It helps (you) be able to talk to them in language that they understand and language, quite frankly, that they listen to."

A vital component of the EMDC program is its collection of adjunct faculty, who bring first-hand experience from across the built environment into the classroom.

"When you look at the courses and who's going to be teaching those courses, they're tenured professionals from design and architecture and construction and development," said Yanet Garcia (EMDC '18), vice president for construction at Related Midwest. "That's when you start realizing that this is the right kind of program, and that's the type of teaching that can help advance your career."

Watch the full video here. Interested in learning more about EMDC? Register for an upcoming information session.

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