Veteran uses leadership skills as construction company executive

Courtesy of RTD-Denver

When Mark Padien left the U.S. Army in 2006, he found the transition to transportation  construction to be a natural fit for his leadership experience.

Padien recently was named the newest vice president of Atkinson Construction, based in Golden, Colorado.

“You’re leading people, you’re planning work, you're doing an operational role (and) you’re dealing with a lot of type ‘A’ personalities,” Padien told TI News Daily about his initial transition into construction. “I think there’s a lot of parallels that really helped me out after starting in the military.”

Padien recently was promoted from project manager, a position he had held since 2008 at Atkinson. During that time, he oversaw several major projects, including a grade separation for Sunset Avenue in City of Industry, California, and a major project for San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that prepared it to better handle future earthquakes. Padien said the BART project was the first one in the Bay area under the Atkinson name.

“It was a very good project for us,” Padien said. “We completed the schedule in half the time.”

Padien said his initial decision to come to California came from his then-girlfriend, who had studied animation while he was in the military. The two initially moved to Southern California, until an opportunity with Clark Construction, Atkinson’s parent company, presented itself in the Bay area. The two have now been married eight years and are expecting a baby girl.

“It’s an awesome place to live,” Padien said with a laugh. “It’s very pricey, though.”

Though based in Northern California, Padien said his new role will have him working throughout the state. Among the bigger projects Atkinson is currently involved in are a renovation of the San Ysidro border-crossing station, as well as widening of Interstate 10.

In his journey to vice president, Padien earned his master’s in business administration through the University of Phoenix while working full time. Padien earned his bachelor’s in business in 2008 from the University of Rhode Island.

Padien completed two tours of duty as an officer with the U.S. Army, first as a platoon leader and later as a company commander. His training includes Airborne, Air Assault and Ranger school graduations. Padien left the military after having achieved the rank of captain.

Atkinson has made a point to hire veterans, Padien said, in part because of the natural leadership skills developed by military experience. Padien advises future soldiers looking to start successful careers to harness that experience.

“They knew they could train the technical side of things,” Padien said. “Just try to learn as much as possible...volunteer for things and be willing to take on harder projects ... just really try hard.”

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Bay Area Rapid Transit

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