Making Connections

Tricia Walsh (MPM ‘00) discusses developing her network of professionals and the value they have brought to her life and career at Parsons Corporations.

Tricia Walsh (MPM '00) was only three years into her career as a project engineer and assistant project manager when she decided she wanted to further her education.  

She had been working for a large general contractor in the Chicago area, but she realized she was missing something vital to helping her reach her career goal of working in large-scale project management.  

Tricia WalshTo do that, she knew she needed more knowledge, but she also felt she needed more connections within the design and construction industry. 

She found both in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Project Management (MPM) program. 

“I wanted to continue to grow my business acumen,” she said. “I considered different master's programs, but the MPM program stood out most.”  

The opportunity to expand her network greatly impacted her decision to choose the MPM program. Walsh said she was impressed with the caliber of the professors in the program, most of whom had deep industry experience.  

Then there were her fellow students.  

“As you do group projects and get to know your peers, you are building relationships with others in the industry,” she said. “You begin to meet new people, further your connections, and gain a broader perspective. I created an invaluable network in MPM and attained insight from other industry people that I couldn't get just by working at one company." 

Walsh’s post-MPM life has continued to be focused on networking, whether it's inside Parson’s Corporation, where she has worked since 2014, or through state and federal trade groups that help keep her on top of the latest developments in the industry.  

At Parson's, Walsh is senior vice president and Infrastructure North America business development leader. When she joined the company, her focus was on the Midwest and Chicago, where she was the company's infrastructure leader and responsible for overseeing the office's strategic direction. From there her attention spread to the central region of the United States. 

Today she leads the company's entire North American growth strategy for the Infrastructure North America business unit.  

Walsh manages a team of about 45 colleagues to build massive transportation networks that include intricate rail and transit systems, aviation, intricate road systems, and river-spanning bridges that help people get from Point A to Point B. In addition, her team designs and enhances water and wastewater treatment networks that safely move contaminated liquids to cleaning facilities.  

During the MPM program, Walsh honed in on her ability to learn from others and continues to apply that knowledge today. She gains valuable wisdom and insight from her colleagues at Parsons, and she draws great value from the industry groups she's involved with, including the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. These associations help Walsh stay on top of the ever evolving best practices within her field.  

They also keep her in touch with new faces in the workforce.  

Walsh recently joined another network – the MPM alumni ambassador program. The group is designed to keep MPM graduates involved with the program to help ensure the curriculum remains relevant to the working world and to provide a pipeline for students to connect with job opportunities.  

“The war for talent in the industry is high because there's good funding and great opportunities,” she said. “We're all competing for talent. Our people drive our business, and their diverse perspectives create tomorrow's innovative solutions. We try to encourage more people to go into this industry because it's critical for the long-term success of our world's infrastructure.”  

Walsh said her own MPM experience is what leads her to be such a strong supporter of the program for those who would follow in her footsteps.  

“I take a lot of pride in the MPM program and being part of Northwestern's community,” she said. “There's a diverse perspective that comes from the staff, the content in the classes, and the network of people who are part of the program. I’m a big advocate for it.” 


McCormick News Article