Oswald Named CEO at Hill & Wilkinson

Mike Oswald

Mike Oswald, a 2003 Northern Michigan University construction management alumnus and former Wildcat football player, has been promoted to CEO of Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors in Richardson, Texas. He joined the firm as a project engineer shortly after earning his NMU degree. His solid performance fueled rapid promotions through various leadership roles over the past 20 years. Prior to being elevated to CEO, Oswald served as chief operating officer, managing field operations for all divisions.

“In past years, I was more involved in the day-to-day, hands-on aspects; now I am approaching it more from a longer-term, strategic perspective,” he said. “My transition to CEO is made much easier by my C-suite colleagues, who bring a lot of experience and talent to the table. It's an honor and privilege to be selected to serve in this role. I've been blessed to be part of such a great company, and I couldn't be more excited for its future.”

There are some parallels between Oswald's alma mater, which presented him with the 2015 Outstanding Young Alumni Award, and his current employer. Both have placed a greater emphasis on expanding mental health efforts, enhancing diversity and strengthening the culture, all of which can positively impact employee engagement, retention and innovation. Oswald would like to extend Hill & Wilkinson's culture to the field. The growing company has 400 employees assigned to multiple work sites throughout the state. It also has additional offices in Austin, Fort Worth and Temple.

His advocacy for diversity in the workplace was a quality that helped Oswald become one of 20 construction industry representatives selected as winners of the 2019 ENR (Engineering News-Record) Texas and Louisiana Top Young Professionals competition. Key selection criteria included industry experience and education, career and industry leadership, and community service and involvement.

“… Oswald has been a driving force in Hill & Wilkinson's commitment to increase diversity at all levels within the company and its subsidiaries,” stated the firm's post announcing his achievement. “He hired and sponsored nearly a dozen professionals while they pursued their H1B visas and started a Women in Construction forum, which dovetailed with the TEXO AGC Women in Construction. He developed construction divisions that have since become separate companies, some managed by women and minorities.”

Away from the office, Oswald served on the TEXO and TEXO Foundation boards and helped high schools, community colleges and vocational schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with curriculum development. He served as a liaison between schools and the Construction Education Foundation, and worked to educate young adults about how to get into the construction industry.

After attending high school in his hometown of Hillman, Mich., Oswald obtained a residential builders license. He continued to work as a laborer in residential construction while attending NMU on a football scholarship. His athletic honors included Most Valuable Player and two-time Academic All-American.

The summa cum laude graduate maintains a strong connection to his alma mater through support and service. He is a member of the NMU Foundation Board of Directors and previously served on the NMU Alumni Advisory Board. He also sits on NMU's Construction Management Professional Advisory Committee and regularly recruits students from the program to join Hill & Wilkerson at the career fair he helped to establish on campus. In fact, one of his first hires—NMU alumnus Matt Shem—was just promoted to president at the firm.

“When I was at Northern, the construction management program was starting to evolve in a way that gave students more opportunities to choose where they wanted to work geographically and in which type of construction—residential or commercial,” Oswald said. “I think it's only gotten better as I've watched it over the past 20 years. It's remarkable where all of the students are interning these days, or where they're getting full-time jobs; it's all over the country.”

Oswald and his wife, Rose, have three daughters: Ava, 9; Zoe, almost 8; and Reese, 7. The family returns to Marquette each summer for a break from the Texas heat. “I'm not sure if any of my girls will ever attend Northern, but they do love sporting their little NMU T-shirts,” he said.

Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Alumni