Mortenson Construction Executives Visit Inver Hills

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Students learn about global construction industry

According to Davis Langdon, a construction consultancy company based in the United Kingdom, world construction spending reached $4.3 trillion in 2011. Looking ahead to 2015, McGraw Hill Construction forecasts a 73 percent jump over 2011 levels for nonresidential construction starts in the commercial, industrial and institutional building sectors. A new report by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics predicts construction output by volume will increase to $15 trillion worldwide by 2025. Due to issues related to the Great Recession, retiring baby boomers and constricted educational pipelines, construction industry leaders are concerned about potential workforce and talent shortages—particularly in green sustainable building, which is expected to reach 48 percent of the overall construction market by 2015.

FMI, a management consultant for the engineering and construction industries, views construction careers as a smart solution for the “Lost Generation” of 18- to-34-year-olds who face serious employment challenges in uncertain national and world economies. Scott Holm, M.Ed., C.B.O., a construction management instructor at Inver Hills Community College, was thinking of ways to provide his students with a window into the global construction industry, including varied and rewarding career opportunities, when he invited three top executives from Mortenson Construction to the IHCC campus.


“I wanted my students to get a flavor for construction management at the international level,” Holm said. “Mortenson ranks as one of the top builders in the U.S. with offices in major cities along with global operations in Canada and China. Mortenson understands how to do business overseas—and I wanted my students to gain a fundamental understanding of the differences between construction projects in the U.S. versus projects in other countries.”

Founded in 1954, Mortenson Construction was ranked number 19 on the ENR list of Top 400 Contractors in the nation in 2012. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Mortenson is a family-owned company with 2,200 employers, 2011 sales of $2.47 billion, and U.S. offices in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Seattle. According to a Star Tribune article that named Mortenson Construction number 11 on a 2012 list of top workplaces in Minnesota, the company has completed a what’s what of home-front projects, including:

  • Union Depot renovation
  • Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America
  • Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum
  • Target Field
  • Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters
  • Minneapolis Central Library
  • Walker Art Center expansion
  • Target Field
  • TCF Bank Stadium and several other buildings on the University of Minnesota campus
  • Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Wells Fargo Tower
  • Plus hospitals, schools, data centers, wind farms, water treatment plants, churches, and cultural and entertainment facilities in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota


“The three Mortenson executives we invited have very busy schedules and they also work in different countries,” Holm said. “Setting up their visit to the Inver Hills campus took a year.” Shuke Miao, Mortenson China general manager (based in Shanghai) and a corporate vice president, Brent Bergland, director of project development for Mortenson Canada (based in Toronto), and Blair McNeil, a Mortenson construction executive in Minnesota, arrived Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, and proceeded to impress the students in Holm’s Construction Management program with their real-world experience and insights into how major construction projects are managed overseas.

“The benefits for our students were immense,” Holm said. “I watched the students perk up and get engaged. They wanted to know about salaries and what it’s like working for one of the big players in the industry. They realized that an A.S. degree in construction management could be a stepping stone to much bigger things—and that has inspired them to really knuckle down on their coursework.”

 About the instructor

Born and raised in Cokato, Minn., Scott Holm resides in Biwabik, a town of around 1,000 people in Saint Louis County. Holm has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, including 24 years as a building inspector. He currently serves as the university inspector in the University of Minnesota Building Code Division. Building on practical experience working as a carpenter and concrete worker, he earned an M.Ed. in business and construction_management_instructorindustry education and a B.A.S. in Construction Management from the U of M as well as an A.A.S. in building inspection technology from North Hennepin Community College and a two-year certificate in carpentry from St. Cloud Technical & Community College. He teaches construction management courses at IHCC and the U of M.

Holm is a member of the Board of International Professional Standards of the International Code Council. He also serves on ICC committees and has a strong interest in building codes and practices around the world.

  • Top photo: Mercedes-Benz Arena
    • Shanghai, China
    • Total Construction Cost: $350 million
    • Mortenson Role: Project Management
  • 1800 Larimer Office Tower
    • Denver, Colo.
    • Total Construction Cost: $99.2 million
    • Mortenson Role: Construction Manager at Risk
  • The Crystal Mall
    • Burnaby, British Colombia, Canada
    • Total Construction Cost: $61.3 million
    • Mortenson Role: General Contractor, a joint venture with Stuart Olson Constructors
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
    • Chicago, Ill.
    • Total Construction Cost: $632 million
    • Mortenson Role: Construction Manager at Risk, a joint venture with Power Construction
  • Target Field
    • Minneapolis, Minn.
    • Total Construction Cost: $412 million
    • Mortenson Role: Construction Manager at Risk
  • Ralph L. Carr Justice Center
    • Denver, Colo.
    • Total Construction Cost: $186.9  million
    • Mortenson Role: Construction Manager/General Contractor
  • Science City at Union Station (renovation and restoration)

    • Kansas City, Mo.
    • Total Construction Cost: $234  million
    • Mortenson Role: Project Manager, a joint venture with Hines
For more information about Construction Management at Inver Hills Community College, contact:

Scott Holm, M.Ed, C.B.O.
Construction Management Instructor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *