On familiar ground: Construction major Hoyord interning on project at his former high school

Student, led by alum McGregor, helping Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction manage $600K renovation at Iola-Scandinavia
Isaiah Hoyord, right, and Matt McGregor, third from right, help break ground on the Tomorrow River School District project, near the Iola-Scandinavia project. / Contributed photo
​Jerry Poling | August 16, 2023

After just one year of college, UW-Stout construction major Isaiah Hoyord could have been a bit intimidated when he walked onto the job this summer for his first professional internship.

Instead, Hoyord felt right at home. In a bit of serendipity, he was back in his hometown, Iola in central Wisconsin, at the high school where he graduated in 2022, Iola-Scandinavia, and in his old technical education classroom.

As an intern with Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, he has been helping manage progress of a nearly $600,000 renovation of the school’s technical education center. “I spent countless hours growing up in that shop. It’s special to do something to make it better. It definitely needed an upgrade, and it’s a big step for the school,” Hoyord said.

UW-Stout construction major Isaiah Hoyord is interning this summer on a building project at his former high school, Iola-Scandinavia.
UW-Stout construction major Isaiah Hoyord is interning this summer on a building project at his former high school, Iola-Scandinavia. / Contributed photo

The internship just fell into place. He attended a UW-Stout Career Conference last fall and met Hoffman recruiter and Senior Project Manager Matt McGregor, an alum of UW-Stout’s construction program. McGregor was impressed with Hoyord, who had done residential carpentry as a high school student.

Hoffman had an opening, and the project at I-S High School happened to be coming up. “It’s a full circle experience with the fact Isaiah lived and breathed tech ed in high school. It’s really kind of cool,” McGregor said.

“With his organization skills, ability to present himself and communicate right off the bat, I could see a young professional who can do some really good things with the team,” McGregor added.

Matt McGregor is a UW-Stout alum and senior project manager for Hoffman.
Matt McGregor is a UW-Stout alum and senior project manager for Hoffman. / Contributed photo

Hoyord actually is working on two projects. The other is a $25.7 million multiphase project consisting of additions and renovations at the Tomorrow River School District K-12 building in Amherst, about 15 minutes away. Hoyord starts his day at I-S High School — he grew up less than a mile away — then drives to Amherst for about four hours. He finishes the day on the Iola project.

His duties include working with subcontractors to make sure the projects remain on track and troubleshooting throughout the day. For example, at I-S High School, the new floor plan to move welding booths hit a snag when they realized the new location ran into a water line. Hoyord in collaboration with the contractors was able to come up with a cost-effective, responsible solution for the district to keep the project moving in the right direction.

Hoyord has been using skills he’s already learned at UW-Stout, such as a class in construction plan reading, but he said “some things you just can’t learn through a book. One is problem-solving. You have to be on site and have to come up with a solution.”

Hoyord’s position is a co-op experience, meaning he is paid and receives academic credit through UW-Stout’s Cooperative Education and Internship Program, which has more than 1,100 annual participants.

B.S. Construction Management

You'll receive hands-on experience in technical and engineering processes of the construction industry, and learn business, management and marketing practices.
Learn More

The construction program at UW-Stout has a 100% employment rate among graduates with an average starting salary of $61,000, according to the university’s 2023 First Destination report.

Seeing familiar faces

Another of Hoyord’s duties is providing construction updates to school officials and the school boards. He has attended one I-S school board meeting with another scheduled.

“The first week (in June), I was going through the summer plan with the staff. They all recognized me and asked what I was doing there. The shop teacher (Dave Jueds), the principal, maintenance guys and superintendent — I’m staying in contact with them throughout the project,” Hoyord said.

Hoyord, right, talks with Mike McGregor, a field project manager for Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction.
Hoyord, right, talks with Mike McGregor, a field project manager for Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction. / Contributed photo

“I’m fortunate enough to get the internship and get my foot in the door and develop an understanding of what my career path is going to be,” he added. “I’ve learned a lot so far in the field, and the team is a good one to work with. They’re always trying to help me learn more and soak in as much as I can.”

McGregor is familiar with Hoyord’s path. McGregor, who grew up in the Redgranite area and went to Berlin High School, graduated from UW-Stout’s construction program in 2009. He had a sophomore internship, also with Hoffman, which has been in business for more than 130 years.

“Hoffman’s relationship with Stout’s internship program has been going on for a very long time,” McGregor said.

In addition to attending Career Conferences at UW-Stout to help recruit for Hoffman, McGregor is serving on the construction program’s advisory committee.

Another alum, Jason Diem from UW-Stout’s master’s program in construction management, also is a senior project manager at Hoffman.

“We strive to work as a unified group,” McGregor said. “Isaiah has fed into that well over the summer in being able to problem-solve and come up with creative solutions to benefit the team and clients as well. He has great potential,” McGregor said.

###


Dressed for success: Students’ Safe Skin clothing idea advances to state Big Idea Tournament Featured Image

Dressed for success: Students’ Safe Skin clothing idea advances to state Big Idea Tournament

A big idea by three UW-Stout students is headed to the state WiSys Big Idea Tournament.
Runway to imagination: UW-Stout’s sold-out Fashion Without Fabric unfolds fears with theme of Philias and Phobias Featured Image

Runway to imagination: UW-Stout’s sold-out Fashion Without Fabric unfolds fears with theme of Philias and Phobias

‘Love of Books’ named scholarship winner; ‘The Prime Divine’ proves number 13 can be lucky
UW-Stout Spring Showcase: Experience what the Polytechnic Advantage is all about Featured Image

UW-Stout Spring Showcase: Experience what the Polytechnic Advantage is all about

Multiple research and design events in April, May open to the public