Workforce

Meet Derek Hoffine: ABC 2020 Young Professional of the Year Finalist

Hoffine’s accomplishments earned him a spot as one of three finalists for Associated Builders and Contractors’ Young Professional of the Year award.
By Maggie Murphy
June 11, 2020
Topics
Workforce

Born in Nigeria to a Ghanian mother and a Nigerian-born American father, Derek Hoffine’s path to a career with one of the United States’ most well-known construction companies doesn’t necessarily sound like it was “fate.” But to hear of his incredible success in the construction industry, that’s exactly what it appears to be. Hoffine’s accomplishments earned him a spot as one of three finalists for Associated Builders and Contractors’ Young Professional of the Year award.

One of three children, Hoffine and his family lived in Nigeria until he was six years old. His father worked for an international commercial construction company, and his work eventually sent the whole family back to his United States home of Pittsburg, Kansas. As a result, Hoffine grew up around construction and, in college, he and his brother worked residential roofing jobs for their father. It was only natural that Hoffine would seek out a career in the industry upon graduation.

Hoffine started a junior-level position at Hensel Phelps right out of Pittsburgh State, where he earned his degree in construction engineering in technology and met his wife. After moving around at first, he eventually landed a management position in Florida in Hensel Phelps’ southeast office, where he and his wife lived until 2017, raising their four children—now 11, 9, 6 and 3 years old.

In 2017, Hoffine accepted a position as the operations manager in the company’s Mid-Atlantic office, where he worked for just under three years before moving to Colorado earlier this year to become the division’s director of operations.

All of this success, Hoffine says, wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the connections he’s made through ABC, and he has furiously been trying to get the word out about the advantages ABC has for young people. “ABC is a lot like Hensel Phelps—an opportunity vehicle,” he says. “Started by people who just wanted an opportunity to compete, ABC is a vehicle to allow people to have the opportunity to get training, engage with industry members and enable them to market themselves and their businesses. Finding quality people is one of the hardest things to do, and ABC is right on top of it.”

Hoffine currently serves on the associations national workforce development committee and helps brainstorm ideas on how to bring young people into the industry. “We have to figure out how to make construction safer, smarter and more enjoyable so that people want to be a part of it,” Hoffine says.

One of the most important things to Hoffine is trying to pass along a culture of mentorship. “If you want to move up, you have to train someone to replace you,” he says. And through his involvement with ABC, Hoffine has been able to do just that. He regularly volunteers with the ACE mentor program in hopes of passing along his wisdom to prospective industry newcomers.

“Our industry has come leaps and bounds over to the last decade, but we still have a way to go,” Hoffine says. “I believe ABC and Hensel Phelps are very passionate about diversity in the workforce, and it’s also a personal goal of mine to continue to grow and promote diverse individuals in the construction industry. I want people to understand that our workforce should represent the communities we live and work in."

by Maggie Murphy
Maggie manages all of Construction Executive’s production, scheduling and digital assets, in addition to editing our print content and writing feature articles, industry new briefs and a variety of topical columns. She’s a native Marylander and a graduate of Salisbury University, with a background working on the marketing team for a large general contractor.

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