Student Spotlight: Damariz Quezada
Despite having 14 years of construction industry experience under her belt, Damariz Quezada felt that in order to fully achieve her career goals, she needed a formal education in construction management.
Quezada, a project manager at Silverado Contractors, Inc. in Chino, California, began in the industry at an entry-level position with few skills. “When I started in construction as a receptionist, the only skills I had were typing and organizing,” she says. Enthused with her work, she learned as much as she could on the job about accounting and construction administration, eventually working her way up to a controller position managing four offices.
After 10 years in accounting and admin roles, she decided to try her hand at project management. Quezada says making the switch has had its challenges, and even with her construction background she didn’t feel fully accepted in her new role. “I needed a change to achieve my full potential, so I decided to take the UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) Construction Management Certificate Program to assist me in opening an array of opportunities, and it worked!”
“When I was looking for opportunities in construction project management, I realized the only way I could be a competitor in the job market was to certify my knowledge.”
Quezada, who works full time in Southern California, says CPE’s online program was perfect for her. “I felt like the certificate program had all the components necessary to help me achieve my goals and gain more insight into an industry that I enjoy being a part of.” She values the program’s well-rounded curriculum and the experience the instructors bring to it. “The instructors are all working professionals in the industry, so the program is true to the actual experiences we will encounter in our professional careers.”
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“I’ve learned a lot about myself during this program—my multi-tasking and organizational skills have been tested and have been extremely important to achieving my goal,” says Quezada. Her busy schedule and long commutes make it difficult to find time to buckle down and study, but she has made it work by organizing her schedule and listening to lectures online via Canvas during her commutes.
Quezada is scheduled to complete the Construction Management Certificate Program this summer, but she’s already reaping the benefits. By understanding how owners, engineers, general contractors and trade contractors all work together, she has become more efficient in her role. “Every day I learn something new. The program has given me a boost in confidence,” she says. “A few months after enrolling in the program, I received an offer for the position I’m in now—a career opportunity that I never thought I would achieve when I started in the construction industry. I am grateful to my mentor and to the instructors at UC Davis for helping me prepare for all the upcoming challenges.”