Fast 15: Derek Stout

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,326 views 

Class of 2022 Derek Stout Project Manager Nabholz Construction

It was not a giant leap for Derek Stout to enter construction. Even at a young age, he said he appreciated how things are built.

Before he was 10 years old, he was helping his dad, who owned a remodeling and cabinetry company. His father sold the business and began working for a larger construction company, and Stout watched his dad move up the ranks in that company.

“I was always submerged in it when I was younger, always around it,” Stout said, “And that just continued on into my high school years.”

Stout worked small jobs in construction through high school and graduated from John Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in construction management. He interned with Nabholz during his senior year at JBU and two weeks after graduation in 2016, was hired as a project engineer. His first project was with the high-profile Arkansas Children’s Northwest, then being built in Springdale.

“Being part of the Children’s Hospital project was a big career builder for me. That was a big $100 million project right out of the gate,” he said.

It has been a fast ride for Stout ever since. He moved up the ranks in five years to project manager. It’s not unusual, he said, for people to give him a quizzical look when he’s introduced as a project manager.

“That’s [youth] what people notice the most about me. They are usually a little surprised that someone in my position is as young as I am,” he said.

His on-the-job training includes getting better at the “soft skills” to help with the “tough conversations” about budgets and schedules.

“I wish that they taught us more about dealing with people in school and taught us more about the interpersonal skills required to do our job,” he said.

As successful as his career has been, Stout said he is focused on learning more about the construction business within his role as project manager. He eventually wants to advance in the company but is not necessarily in a hurry.

“I believe in getting good at what you’re doing now before moving on to the next title or the next position.”