A few words about us
Coming from a family that has four generations in the construction industry, Jon Serfilippi knows the field well. He, too, is pursuing a career in the field and found his niche in construction engineering, noting that it is the perfect combination of the technical skills of civil engineering and the business mindset of construction management.
“I like the ability to see the whole picture. And, I think it makes me a more well-rounded person that will be attractive to employers and for internships,” he says.
Pursuing his undergraduate degree at ASU, Jon says he is active with the local American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter, and cites networking as one of the best ways to gain additional experience and seek out new opportunities.
Recently, Jon was one of just 35 students selected nationwide to participate in the ASCE Construction Institute Student Days competition in Seattle. His team in the competition was tasked with putting together a complete project plan and cost estimate to replace a half-mile of sewer line in Seattle. In his role as traffic engineer, Jon had to figure out the traffic controls and timeline to minimize impact on the public. The team—notably, the only one comprised of all undergraduates—won.
“It was a great experience. There were representatives from major companies there and we had an opportunity to talk to them in a very informal setting,” he says.
Part of Barrett, the Honors College at ASU, Jon is working on his honors thesis, looking at a hypothetical integration of high speed rail from Phoenix to Tucson.
“Our nation needs better infrastructure—a lot of it is transportation related. I think a good place to start is through electric high speed rail.” he says. “Industry is looking for this combined skill set of technology expertise, leadership and business skills. As a construction engineer, you have the opportunities to gain those skills. You can be on the job site and have the engineering knowledge to know whether concrete rebar that was assembled incorrectly will still be structurally sound, and also the business knowledge to be able to make the decisions that will keep a project on schedule.”
“At the end of the day, it’s not about engineering or construction. Construction engineering is about running a business. You need to know the technical side, but also whether you are on budget and whether your client is happy,” he says.