David Hahn was born in White Plains New York, a suburb of New York City. He is a board member of Delaware Valley Green Building Council, the local chapter of the USGBC. He is also an elected member of the Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia (CCCP) for contributions made to the Philadelphia built environment. CCCCP is the oldest trade guild organization in the U.S. Hahn earned his master’s in Green Building from the San Francisco Institute of Architecture. He also holds Master’s Certificates in Project Management and Strategic Organizational Leadership from Villanova University. He is a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor through Bucks County Community College.
What is your experience with construction?
I have worked for small construction companies and one of the largest in the country and everything in between over my career of almost 40 years. I started in the trades as a carpenter and have held just about every position up to owning my own company at one time: foreman, superintendent, project manager, estimator, senior project manager, project executive, vice president of pre-construction and vice president of construction operations. My current title is senior director of construction.
Construction is in my blood, my grandfather was a carpenter. I quickly found, thanks to a very smart mentor, that while my skills are extremely good, I was even better as a leader and consequently have been in a leadership role most of my career. Something else that I learned from my mentor is that you have to give back to the industry. I truly enjoy helping people succeed and the best way to help them succeed is to teach them. I often think about teaching as a full-time career and maybe one day before I retire it may actually happen.
Tell me about the construction programs at SDSU?
The SDSU construction programs are real-world education. Everything that is taught is based on what is found every day in the construction world. All of our instructors have real-world experience, which brings a different perspective into the classroom, one other than just “what the book says.” Exams are based on material that is presented in the class each week. Homework is based on postings to bulletin boards and by explaining it to students during orientation – they quickly understand its importance since it becomes the conversations that would be face -to-face in a traditional classroom setting. I don’t get hung up too much on late work or if someone tells me they have issues going on at their job or with family; after-all they are taking the class in most cases to better themselves and it quickly becomes obvious which students are there because they want to be and which students are looking for an easy ride.
I tell every student that what they will get out of the class will be directly based on the effort that they put in. I have had students on six of seven continents and from over 40 different countries and almost every U.S. state.
What do students gain from the programs?
Students that complete one of the certificate programs can expect to have gained the knowledge to perform their jobs better if they are currently working within the certificate area. For those that are looking to gain entry into the field it gives them the competitive advantage since they have earned a certificate in the field from a respected educational facility. Jobs are available and they pay well. Superintendents and project managers can easily earn incomes of $100,000 plus per year. Education almost always will give someone a more competitive edge over someone that does not have the educational experience.