Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.
Almost as far back as he can remember, Nicholas Akkerman was drawn to mathematics and liked discovering how things are designed and built, especially homes.
That combination of interests made Akkerman’s choice of a college major and university an easy one.
A highly ranked construction management program and a location in a growing region that offers plentiful opportunities for launching a career in the field brought him almost 2,000 miles from his home in Minnesota to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.
Flash forward to fall semester 2018, a few months before his graduation, Akkerman accepted a full-time position as an assistant project manager with Scottsdale, Arizona-based Maracay Homes, a leading homebuilder in the state.
His next big goal is to get the necessary professional experience he will need to someday start his own custom homebuilding business.
Akkerman envisions running a company with “architectural, construction and interior design services all under one roof,” with a focus on building homes that provide energy efficiency, smart-home technologies and other advanced sustainability features.
He plans to further prepare himself for that venture by earning a master’s degree in architecture sometime in the next several years.
Akkerman, who is graduating with summa cum laude honors, said he will pursue those aspirations to start a business and earn a graduate degree with the same attitude he advises other students to adopt in striving to establish careers.
“Never quit. Follow your dreams even when others say they’re impossible. Hard work, determination and a mindset to succeed will pay off,” he said. “Set goals and aim high. And remember, happiness is the highest level of success.”
He also benefitted from experiences in ASU’s student chapter of the National Association of Home Builders, for which he has served as vice president this year.
He counts among his biggest achievements at ASU the success of the NAHB chapter in a student competition at the International Builders’ Show earlier this year, when he and his teammates joined in a ceremony to award the Del E. Webb School of Construction a $100,000 grant from the National Housing Endowment.
The grant will support the hiring of a professor of practice to establish a program for students who want to pursue studies in residential construction management.
Outside of academic work and related activities during his undergraduate years, Akkerman designed and built custom furniture for himself, his family and friends, and found time for snowboarding and wakeboarding.
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