Construction management professor named Ivy Tech distinguished alumna

Jamie Metzinger says that computer-aided design (CAD) is fine, but she likes the old-school methods.

Jamie Metzinger“The board, pencil, and straight edge is where my heart is,” said Metzinger, a visiting assistant professor of construction management technology who was named a distinguished alumna of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana earlier this year. In 2004, Metzinger earned an associate’s degree in drafting and design technology at Ivy Tech. She began her career at a local home improvement store, designing kitchens and bathrooms for residential customers.

“Being creative during the drafting portion was my favorite part of the work,” she said. “But when I was done with the drafting, I handed it off and didn’t get to see the designs become reality. That was my main reason for going back to school.”

In 2007, Metzinger earned a bachelor’s degree in building construction management at Purdue. She then went to work with Hagerman & Company as an on-site project engineer.

“I loved it. They were establishing a local office, so I did everything, including project management, estimating, and business development,” Metzinger said.

Working at different job sites, including two years building Purdue’s Hockmeyer Hall of Structural Biology, gave Metzinger appreciation for different trades in the construction industry, including carpentry, masonry, electrical, and others.

“My dad was an electrician, so I got along with them really well,” she said. “The iron workers were exciting in their own right. The concrete finishers were amazing. If you’ve ever finished concrete, you realize how difficult it is.”

Later, Metzinger earned a master’s degree in business administration from Marylhurst University, taught courses as an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech, and worked part-time with Huston Electric.

Metzinger’s understanding of old-school methodology and familiarity with real-world construction sites informed her approach to teaching AutoCAD, a commercial CAD and drafting software application. “The instructors I had at Purdue shared their industry experiences, and I wanted to do the same with my students. Why does a note have to be there or why show a dimension in this location? Real-life scenarios show why certain details are important.”

Metzinger was drawn back to academia, earning a Ph.D. in Purdue Polytechnic’s School of Construction Management Technology in August 2017. Her doctoral research focused on planning mixed-use developments. Buildings which feature retail businesses on the first floor, offices on the second, and apartments on upper floors are examples of mixed-use developments.

As a visiting assistant professor, Metzinger is working on curriculum redesign and plans to research its impact on students. She also hopes to continue her research into the challenges developers face when factoring sustainability into mixed-use designs.

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