Many in the Milwaukee area construction market know our Larry Palank, who has worked at Hunzinger Construction Company for 38 years and serves as our Vice President of Preconstruction and a Senior Estimator. They know Larry as a LEED AP BD+C with experience and knowledge that is unequalled in his field and this marketplace. They may know that Larry has a B.S. in Architectural & Building Construction Engineering Technology from The Milwaukee School of Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
What many may be surprised to learn, is that in addition to his full-time career at Hunzinger, Larry has been a teacher at MSOE since 1990. For 25 years, Larry has been sharing his real world, real project estimating and construction experiences with students by teaching classes in Construction Estimating, Construction Economics/Financing, Construction Operations, Project Management I & II, and Construction Scheduling to undergraduates in MSOE’s Construction Management Degree Program, a program he helped create. The CM program grew out of the Civil and Architectural Engineering Programs over 20 years ago. Larry sat on the advisory committee that helped develop the specialty degree that has become one of the most rigorous and respected construction management programs in the Midwest.
In addition to undergraduates, Palank also has been teaching Master level classes for those students pursuing advanced degrees. His graduate classes include Sustainable Built Environments, Project Acquisitions & Business Development and Construction Operations & Management Strategies. He also serves as a mentor to the Senior Design classes.
His teaching career began when he was invited to speak as a guest lecturer in an estimating class. He really enjoyed the experience and he was very good at it. That one lecture spawned a request to consider teaching a class where Larry could have an impact on the full curriculum. He jumped at the chance. Larry had found a way to “give something back” to the industry that had given him so much.
As a strong believer in the importance of real world experience, he thought that he could bring an interesting perspective into the classroom, bringing in actual projects for the students to estimate. He would bring in actual, often unique situations from his work to challenge the students. He would present scenarios that he knew they would run into in their everyday work experiences. Many people ask Larry why he is sharing his methodology with students who could graduate and go on to work for his competitors. Larry just explains that, “I really emphasis ethics and morals in my classes because I want to compete against people who are ethical and moral. Teaching provides the opportunity to have such a positive impact on young students by setting the example about the right way of doing things. I feel I do that in the classroom and in my job at Hunzinger. I am proud of my students and I enjoy coming up against them out in the real world, long after they graduate.” Larry, or “Professor” as we call him, has truly had a constructive impact in the region’s construction community and it is gratifying to call him one of our own.