This Tiger’s grandfather was pivotal in her decision to study and graduate with an engineering degree from Clemson. Today, she collaborates with architects, contractors and inspectors to ensure a seamless process from concept to construction to completion of the university’s Capital Projects.

While her role typically involves building structures, her current project, the Dec. 3 Clemson House implosion, is allowing her to be a part of Clemson’s history in a different way. She and her team are careful to complete the project, while paying respect to the history of the iconic building and preserving some of its materials for future uses.

Meet Tommi Jones.

Title: Project Manager, Capital Projects

Years at Clemson: 12

What I do at Clemson: As a project manager within the Capital Projects department, I manage large construction projects that exceed $1,000,000 in value. My last project, Core Campus, had a project budget of $96,000,000. Typically, I manage several concurrent projects following the guidelines established by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority and the Office of State Engineer (OSE). During each phase of project design and construction, I coordinate with the various Clemson team members, OSE representatives, architects, engineers, and contractors. Our main objective is to ensure projects are completed on schedule and within budget. My position in Capital Projects allows me to build beautiful, functional buildings on campus.

What I love about Clemson: I love the opportunities that Clemson provides for self-improvement and personal growth. As a Clemson undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work as a student employee in the civil engineering department through the Work Study program. As an engineering graduate student, I had the opportunity to become a research assistant and work with the South Carolina Department of Transportation. As a civil engineer, I had an opportunity to return to Clemson to join the Capital Projects group.

As a Clemson employee, I had the opportunity to earn an MBA through the university’s employee tuition assistance program. By taking advantage of various opportunities at Clemson, I have been able to expand my career opportunities by continuing my education.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: Professionally, I am most proud of becoming a registered professional engineer. The process to become registered is rigorous. After graduating from an ABET-accredited engineering program, passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, and completing four years of acceptable and verifiable engineering work, you qualify to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Personally, I am grateful to be mom to two children, Grant, 17, and Catherine, 15. I suffered through many years of infertility and had almost given up hope.

Where I see myself in five years: During the next five years, I would like to become a mentor for young women in the engineering and construction programs here at Clemson. While working as a female engineer in construction for more than 20 years, I have learned many lessons worth sharing. The majority of the time, I was the only female project manager at work and on the job site. Unfortunately, the percentage of women graduating in engineering is approximately 20 percent. It is even more alarming that only 11 percent of these women elect to work in engineering. Working as a female engineer in the male-dominated construction industry can be daunting. If I could serve as a mentor, I might be able to convince more young women that it is possible to find a healthy work-life balance.

One thing people don’t know about you: The one thing most people do not know about me is that I lived with my grandparents on a farm in North, South Carolina (Not a typo – the town is actually called “North.”) My grandfather sold Coastal Bermuda hay to the Clemson Equine Center. He made countless trips to Clemson and always spoke positively about Clemson University. He was instrumental in my decision to attend Clemson.

Clemson House implosion: what you need to know
The Rise and Fall of Clemson House

Caylin Hirapara, Class of 2018, Clemson University Relations

November 28, 2017