Northern Michigan University alumnus and assistant professor Evan Lucas was selected for NMU's 2020-21 Faculty Emerging Leadership Award. The Marquette native has taught in the construction management program since 2017. He also helped to develop the new indoor agriculture associate degree program that launched this past fall.
Lucas has demonstrated his leadership not only through teaching, but also through service to the university, related professional affiliations and community involvement. At NMU, he is the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Committee co-chair, a SISU Innovation Center Committee member, U.P. Construction Skills Challenge coordinator and Construction Management Career Fair activities liaison.
After graduating from NMU with a construction management degree in 2011, Lucas served as a project engineer with Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in Baltimore, Md., and later as a project manager with Rockford Construction Company in Grand Rapids.
Having the opportunity to return to his hometown and alma mater in 2017 to help the next generation of young professionals and industry leaders has been exceptionally fulfilling, Lucas said. A favorite quote that has guided his practice is, “Teach kids how to think; don't tell them what to think.”
Lucas said his favorite part of teaching has been developing relationships with the students through relevant, relatable and thought-provoking discussions drawn from real-life experiences.
“I really believe it has had a positive impact on their education so far,” he added. “I have found that students appreciate the raw honesty of real situations, and if they can learn from the mistakes I have made throughout my career, they will be a step ahead of the game when their time comes to make their own difficult decisions in the future.
“I learned long ago from my dad [the late NMU physics department head Dave Lucas] that the most important investment you can make is to invest in people. It took a long time to really engage with that comment, but seeing now how many people we come in contact with on a daily basis, and how many opportunities that creates for providing a positive impact on an exponential scale, I can clearly see why it is so important to invest in each student.”
In addition to his bachelor's degree from NMU, Lucas holds a master of public administration (MPA) from Villanova University.