Nathan Cauley, '07 CE


nathan cauley
Nathan Cauley with his wife Casey at their graduation in 2007.

 

1. Why did you choose Auburn, and select civil engineering as your major?

I have been an Auburn fan all of my life and really had my heart set on going there from an early age.  As I began to enter into my high school courses, math and physics were two of my strongest subjects and made the most sense to me.  As my interest in those subjects peaked, I was able to attend a couple of the E-day events that Auburn’s College of Engineering hosted.  Attending these events really helped me understand how I could bring my academic interests together with a potential career path. 

In addition, my grandfather was a civil engineer and a man I respected greatly.  Going to see some of the projects he worked on really brought it all together for me and led me to civil engineering, and ultimately choosing a career in the construction industry.  I have always enjoyed the tangible results working in construction provides.  Looking back on past projects and seeing the fruits of our labor being used to serve the communities around them always bring an extreme sense of pride for me.

2.  Why did you choose to work for your current employer Brasfield & Gorrie?  

I was first introduced to Brasfield & Gorrie by a friend of mine at Auburn.  He had heard about an upcoming reception and informational session they were hosting on campus, and invited me to attend the session with him.  I remember being very interested in their presentation and intrigued by the wide variety in the types of projects that they constructed.  I was also very impressed with how down to earth and genuine the Brasfield & Gorrie folks were. Every person I asked about Brasfield & Gorrie was quick to report what a great company it was.  They were known to be a major force in the construction industry, but they were also known for their values, business integrity, and the high value that they placed on their people.  Based on this feedback, I signed up to begin the interview process and was fortunate enough to be offered a job upon graduation.

3.  Describe your job role at Brasfield & Gorrie

My current role at Brasfield & Gorrie is as a project manager in a division of our company that focuses on heavy civil projects in the energy market sector. 

In general, my role is to ensure that we are safely executing our projects with a high level of quality and in a way that exceeds the expectations of our clients, business partners and communities.  This happens in a variety of ways but essentially comes down to management of project safety, quality, schedule, financials and communication with our clients and business partners.

One of the things that I enjoy the most is when I have the opportunity to participate in a project on which we self-perform a large portion of the scope.  I thoroughly enjoy getting to work closely with our field operations teams to plan and execute work that we are performing with our own labor force.  Working in our energy market sector group has afforded me the opportunity to participate in several projects with large self-perform scopes of work.

All of the projects I have been involved in have been very rewarding and I am extremely fortunate to be a part of each of the project teams.  Not only have they provided a sense of pride that we are directly contributing to the growth of our country’s power generation capacity which fuels many other economic engines, but I have also developed relationships with construction professionals who have been instrumental in my continued growth as an engineer.

nathan cauley skiing
Nathan and Casey on a ski trip.

4.  How did earning an Auburn Engineering degree prepare you for your job and future?

From a technical perspective, studying civil engineering at Auburn definitely equipped me with a great deal of knowledge that I have been able to apply directly to my work on heavy civil construction projects.  The technical knowledge I gained at Auburn has aided me in things such as design and planning of soil excavations, concrete formwork systems and concrete mix design selection to name a few.

However, I believe the lessons of hard work and learning to take an analytical approach to solving problems have had the biggest benefit for me both professionally and personally.

5.  What advice would you offer civil engineering students?

I would encourage students to maintain focus on how the technical knowledge you are gaining from your studies at Auburn applies in the real world.  It’s easy to get overly focused on the formulas and calculations and lose sight of the practical application.  If you can maintain that perspective, the level of understanding you gain will increase significantly and your ability to connect your technical knowledge with real world situations will serve you well in your future.

Emphasis should also be placed on your ability to work with and develop relationships with others.  Construction and engineering projects are driven by people, and having the ability to work well as a part of the team will be critical to your success in the industry.

6.  How do you give back to Auburn Engineering? And why is it important for young alumni to give back or engage with the college?

I am fortunate that Brasfield & Gorrie is a strong proponent of the Auburn co-op program and uses it as a means to not only provide students with an opportunity to get out into the workplace and learn about the construction industry, but to also seek out the best candidates for employment. 

Almost every project team that I have been a part of since the beginning of my career with Brasfield & Gorrie has included multiple co-ops.  I have enjoyed getting to work with the students and seeing them learn about the industry and develop into professionals.  It has been especially rewarding to have seen many of them come on board to become full-time colleagues.

7.  What is your favorite Auburn memory or War Eagle moment?

 It’s difficult to point to one particular memory of Auburn that I would label singularly as my favorite.  Thinking of sporting events, the recent memory of the Kick Six game is certainly near the top, but one of my personal favorites goes back to the 2003 Iron Bowl when Carnell “Cadillac” Williams “went crazy” on the opening play from scrimmage.  People remember the famous earthquake game when the roar from the final play of the game registered on a seismograph near LSU’s stadium.  I have to imagine that that the opening play of that Iron Bowl would have done the same.  I distinctly remember feeling like Jordan Hare was rattling on its foundation when he broke through the line and took it for 80 yards for a touchdown.  The atmosphere in the stadium was electric.  Looking back now, it makes the memory even sweeter that this play led to Auburn’s second of six consecutive Iron Bowl victories.

Last Updated: 5/17/17 10:42 AM