Professor brings Navy experience to construction management program

John Dryden joined the College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2020

A chance meeting with a construction manager while John Dryden was teaching English in Korea as a recent college graduate set him on a new path. 

head shot of John Dryden

John Dryden. Photo/provided.

Dryden, assistant professor-educator of construction management at the University of Cincinnati, earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in East Asian studies and Korean language studies. While teaching English in Korea for a year, Dryden met an American working there who mentioned the field of construction management, which sparked an interest. Dryden abandoned thoughts of attending law school and instead enrolled in a construction management master’s degree program at Bowling Green State University. 

After earning his master’s, he worked in the construction management industry as a consultant for three years (a requirement to get into a doctoral program in the field) before beginning his Ph.D. in building construction at the University of Florida. He then taught for several years at the University of North Florida and Georgia Southern University.

Construction is all about teamwork in every conceivable way. We’re team players.

John Dryden UC construction management

Dryden, a U.S. Navy officer and a former member of the U.S. Army Reserve, wanted to spend some time on active duty. Before coming to UC in August 2020, Dryden was on active duty for two and a half years in the Navy Personnel Command. He was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his work. 

“I think the Navy makes me a better professor and being a professor makes me a better Navy officer,” Dryden said. 

Dryden has specific teaching and research interests in financial risk management; permeable pavements; construction estimating; construction finance; and site layout. He is motivated every day by the students he is able to teach and mentor.

“The students are really the best reward [as a professor],” Dryden said. “Getting to work with students and meeting them as freshmen and working with them until they graduate, you get to see that change and be a part of their growth.”

Construction management students are typically direct, straightforward personality types with high integrity — something that is valued in their field, he said. 

“It’s a huge industry, but yet it’s also a tiny industry in that you see the same people again and again through your career, so your reputation means something,” Dryden said. “Construction is all about teamwork in every conceivable way. We’re team players.”

Featured image at top: A building site at dusk. Photo/EJ Yao/Unsplash.