Northeastern Prepared Him for Success

Jude Arbogast.

Alumnus Jude Arbogast, E’19, civil engineering, explains all the opportunities that Northeastern University provided to prepare him to take on new and exciting challenges.

Reflections from an Office Trailer in Boardman, Oregon

Jude Arbogast E’19
Assistant Project Manager, Suffolk Construction

As leaders think through a remote-centric approach to work, the traditional office structure is changing. But Jude Arbogast, E’19 isn’t setting up shop at a local café or spare room in an apartment. You may have read about Arbogast’s honorable involvement with The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)—from his inclusion in the 2019 New Faces of Civil Engineering in the College category to his former role as President. Arbogast shares the inside scoop on memorable moments and lessons learned at Northeastern.

  • Have you experienced the global Northeastern network? If so, how?
    My trip to Delft, Netherlands was my first truly transformative experience outside the United States. My professor repeatedly mentioned, “This would be the best summer of our lives” during pre-departure meetings, something I quickly dismissed. Turns out, he was 100% correct, but it took hindsight for me to recognize that. The opportunity to spend 1-2 months abroad with an eager group of people in their twenties, a perfectly scheduled itinerary, and time to explore everything the country has to offer is too good to turn down. For folks who cannot fit in a full semester abroad but want what I believe was a more thorough and invigorating cultural experience, you cannot pass up a Dialogue!
  • In an evolving professional world, how do you stay ahead and continue to grow your knowledge and expertise?
    I am a firm believer in accepting your gaps in knowledge and asking for help when you need it. People love being asked genuine questions about their specialty and will always take the time to teach those who are interested. Not only do these types of questions help you obtain information, but they also foster a culture of caring which ultimately leads to genuine, lasting relationships. I have more than one professional relationship that began with being yelled at and has now evolved into an annual, “Merry Christmas!” text.
  • Tell us how your Northeastern education has impacted you professionally.
    The co-op program helps you recognize—and nip—bad workplace habits before you really embarrass yourself in a post-grad position. I often see new employees showing up late, using their phones at inappropriate times, and making other mistakes that are not always black and white but that you learn to avoid with experience. Coming in having already worked that out provides former co-ops with a massive leg up on their coworkers.
  • One piece of advice for someone starting at Northeastern.
    Push yourself outside your comfort zone from day one. Whether that means introducing yourself to the people in your hall or going to a club meeting get involved early and often. You grow by being uncomfortable and the quicker you realize that the more you will get out of your short time in college.
  • Where are you today?
    I was previously working in Boston but was presented with a great opportunity to move across the country and work with a new team in a brand new sector. It was certainly a scary proposition when initially brought up but opportunity only knocks once in a while so I knew I had to go for it. A global pandemic also meant that I was not leaving behind too much excitement. So here I am, once again in an office trailer but this time with two bathrooms and carpet! Being in a close-quarters environment like a trailer means that maintaining positive team dynamics is crucial to staying productive, and more importantly, staying sane. With the long days and constant stressors of construction, the only way to get through it is to lean on your team for support. Over time, team members might kick and scream at one another, but the level of trust and compassion built in the trailer is akin to that of a family.

By Ilana Gensler, Northeastern Alumni Relations

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering