Justin Parker took a non-traditional route to the construction industry.
A Metairie, La., native, he wasn’t unaccustomed to the work. His father, a long-time firefighter, worked on his days off for a niche construction business. His son would often help out, driving fork lifts and other heavy equipment.
But making a career out of it wasn’t on Parker’s radar when he attended Louisiana State University. He was a pre-med major very briefly before pivoting to finance, earning a bachelor’s degree in 2015.
But after working in a “cube farm” for a year for a mortgage-backed securities business, Parker said he realized something: He missed the construction business.
And so he made another pivot, getting his foot in the door to making a career change by taking a job as an estimator for a demolition company in New Orleans. While working there, to make himself more marketable, he went back to LSU and earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in construction management in 2017.
When exploring construction companies to potentially work for, it was an adviser at LSU who pointed out Nabholz to Parker. He sent the business a resume. Rob Dodd, the company’s executive vice president of construction, called Parker.
“I really liked what he was saying, and they flew me up for an interview,” Parker said. “The rest is kinda history. The stars aligned for us to meet and to get me where I’m at.”
Nabholz hired Parker as a project engineer in December 2017 — one month before he was married. Parker describes his short time in Northwest Arkansas as a whirlwind. He was promoted after just seven months to his current job, overseeing the overall management, coordination and administration of a project, from development through completion. He also finished the requirements last year to earn a master’s degree from LSU in construction management.
Though not a “title seeker” and certainly not in a rush, Parker says he would like to be bumped up to project manager, with a personal goal of earning the promotion by the time he’s 29.
“Everybody needs an overall plan,” he said. “When I do take the next step, I want to make sure that they [supervisors] understand I’m ready and I understand I’m ready.”
Parker and his wife are building their first home in east Fayetteville.