CEO of Jacobsen Construction to BYU graduates: "Go big before you go home"

At the convocation ceremonies on Friday, April 25 the graduates of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology were inspired by Doug Welling, the CEO of Jacobsen Construction Company, and his recommendations on how they should properly prepare for their futures to achieve true success.  

Welling was introduced by Dean Alan Parkinson, and described as a brilliant man who could attribute much of his success to his attitude and behavior around those with whom he works.

“Doug Welling has shifted his focus from building structures to building people,” Parkinson said.

Jacobsen Construction is a Salt Lake City-based general contracting company with more than 600 employees and annual revenues exceeding $400 million.  After joining Jacobsen in 1989, Welling was appointed president in 2006 and five years later became CEO.  He is a Utah native and a graduate of BYU’s Construction Management program. 

Welling’s remarks centered on three principles of being prepared, focusing on and shaping the future and treating others with respect and kindness. He reminded the graduates that they are only on this earth for a limited amount of time, and that before they return to their heavenly home they should spend their lives “going big.”

“I’m here to challenge you to go big before you go home,” Welling said. “I don’t want you to miss an opportunity by being stuck in a paradigm of the comfortable or the traditional.”

While his remarks taught the graduates a great many things about preparedness and the future, one of Welling’s most prominent points was that “the how really does matter.” He explained to the graduates that success in any field is best paralleled by what a person does to get there, and that nice guys don’t finish last.

“You don’t want to be remembered as the mad scientist, the difficult director, the demanding demon,” Welling said. “Will your legacy include kindness, collaboration, honesty and loyalty?”

Welling eloquently pointed out that success means very little if it is achieved through dishonest and malicious tactics.

He closed his remarks by quoting a poem from Edwin Markham, which states that “nothing is worth the making if it does not make the man.”

The graduation itself consisted of 511 total candidates, which included 290 engineering students, and 138 from the School of Technology. There were also 62 candidates for master’s degrees as well as 19 doctoral candidates. 

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