The National Academy of Construction has elected James A. McConnell, associate vice president of facilities services at the University of Chicago, as a member of its class of 2019. He was formally inducted on October 24 during the NAC annual meeting in Nashville, TN. The 2019 class includes 39 new inductees. McConnell was selected from more than 300 leaders who were considered for Academy membership.
McConnell was cited as a widely recognized visionary, corporate, and agency leader in major capital program management and strategic planning in the design and construction industry.
“The 2019 class has been selected not only for their leadership, but for their integrity and their dedication to making our collective work the great contribution that construction represents in our quality of life,” said Wayne Crew, General Secretary of NAC. “In addition, new members such as Jim McConnell bring added expertise to the Academy.”
At UChicago, McConnell oversees all campus design, construction, strategic planning, sustainability initiatives, maintenance, and building operations. He joined the university in 2016 from Ascent, a Chicago-based capital program management firm, where he served as executive vice president. For 13 years, he served as the senior executive for large, complex construction, repair, and maintenance programs on behalf of the U.S. Navy, Chicago, Qatar, and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Previously as the capital program manager at Chicago's Public Building Commission with ARCADIS U.S., he oversaw a $2.4 billion capital construction program and led program management in the design and construction for nine different City of Chicago client agencies.
As chief facilities executive with LAUSD from 2001 to 2006, he developed a capital program that delivered 130 new schools and, at $11.8 billion, was the largest program for new schools in the nation. He is a retired U.S. Navy captain with the Navy Civil Engineer Corps. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.