With 20 years of experience, student earns a master’s in project management
Gary Siville has more than 20 years of experience in project management and is currently a Project Management Specialist at Boeing. Yet even with his decades of experience and success in his current role, he wanted something more: a master’s degree.
“I’ve always wanted a master’s degree,” Gary said. “I wasn’t the best student when I got my bachelor’s, and it took me longer than it should have.”
A conversation he had with his father when he decided to change majors from engineering to geology over 30 years ago stuck with him. His dad affirmed that he was worthy of an education and committed to ensuring he got one.
“At that point, I realized I’d lost confidence in myself and wasn’t focused on my education or career, but even though I wasn’t, he still believed in me,” Gary said. “The real reason I want to get my master’s is because I deserve it. I learned from him to never lose confidence in myself again, and as you strive for excellence in your work and your education, the hard work you put in pays off.”
Gary’s hard work has certainly paid off. In his Master of Science in Project Management program, he has earned Dean’s List recognition for several quarters and is on track to graduate with honors.
“I work hard, take it seriously and set my standards to a level I feel comfortable with,” Gary said. “You get out of it what you put into it.”
Practicing and studying project management
Gary first began working in project management when it was still a burgeoning field.
“I feel like 20-some years ago, I got in pretty close to the ground floor,” Gary said. “I looked out the window one day and saw skyscrapers and windows and bridges, and thought ‘somebody needs to know what day the crane is going to be there, and when to set it up.’ It was a career milestone. I took a training and saw project management as a career path that could be exciting and fun and challenging.”
Although he now has years of experience, he’s still gaining new and useful knowledge through his graduate coursework.
“What’s nice about CityU’s project management program it that it’s recognized by PMI and it’s based on the PMBOK® [Project Management Body of Knowledge] methodology,” Gary said. “We talk about other methodologies, but PMBOK® is the most accepted process in the United States.”
The ability to apply standardized principals and methodologies to varying circumstances keeps Gary interested and engaged in his work.
“I’m not a routine type of guy. I get bored, and I like to do differing things,” Gary said. “What’s nice about project management is that you can take the basics and methodologies and apply them. It’s not just knowing how to use a tool, it’s knowing how to apply that tool to the current application or project you’re managing. Each project is a unique challenge.”
He sees the project management skills that he uses on a daily basis becoming increasingly valuable.
“More and more companies are recognizing the value of project management and are becoming lean and agile because they need to make changes quickly and efficiently,” Gary said. “Project management is an exciting career to have at this time, and you can apply it to several industries.”
After he finishes his master’s degree, Gary plans to continue in his role at Boeing because he enjoys the projects and people he works with. After he retires, he’s considered sharing his expertise with others.
“I like my job; I don’t want to go anywhere else, but I’m trying to expand my opportunities,” Gary said. “I could see teaching or consulting in my path.”
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