Daughter follows mother into the field of Construction Management

When Audri Lagge ’19 started her construction management degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead, it wasn’t the first time she had seen the campus or interacted with faculty members in the program. It’s just that instead of playing with toys under a classroom desk, she was sitting at it.

Lagge’s mother had taken construction management night classes when she was in preschool at MSUM’s Early Education Center. She attended class with her mom and occupied herself off to the side, quietly coloring or playing with toys. One of the faculty members who greatly influenced Lagge’s mother, Norma Andersen, was thrilled to teach Lagge as well before she retired in 2020.

Having transferred from another university in 2016, Lagge enjoyed the smaller community at MSUM.

“The construction management program is very personable. You get to know the faculty very well and can tell they really care about you,” she says. “You get a lot of attention, can freely ask more questions, and feel more connected to classmates and faculty than at a larger university.”

Her favorite memories with the MSUM construction management community were when they toured job sites, where alumni managed projects – “getting off campus to see what alumni with this degree are up to.”

As an undergraduate student, Lagge interned with Magnum Electric, where, during her senior year, she helped coordinate the building of a First International Bank office condominium. Enjoying that type of work, she decided to pivot from the possibility of being an electrician to managing construction projects.

Lagge is a senior project manager at Great States Construction, where she progressed from assistant project manager to project manager to her current senior role in just five years. When she started with the company, Great States was only three years old and had a team of eight employees.

Lagge started out estimating for small projects and then took on more small projects to help another project manager focus on the company’s larger projects. She quickly became a lead interior “fit-up” person for construction work all over Fargo, N.D., taking already-built structures and coordinating their renovation, which often involved hiring an architect and engineer to plan out the HVAC, plumbing and electrical work. Lagge guides building owners on every step of the construction process, from determining where electrical boxes and lighting would go to pouring floors and building walls to choosing finishes and paint colors when the structure was ready for final touches.

Lagge’s work involves sending out an invitation to bid, then writing the contracts when plumbing, framing, electrical, etc., work is awarded. She hires workers, orders materials, and schedules all the steps of the construction. Though construction work often involves budget and timing issues, Lagge focuses on what she does have control over.

“Let’s not dwell on what we can’t solve,” she says. “Let’s figure out what we can fix and keep moving forward, keeping everyone else motivated.”

Today, Great States Construction employs 21 staff members. Having been inspired by women before her – her mom and Norma – Lagge is the only female on a five-person project management team in a male-dominated industry. They divide their work into the niches of multi-family (apartments), commercial, and industrial construction. Lagge likes how every day in this field is different.

“One day, I might be working with a developer, and, another day, I might work with someone who has no idea how the construction process works. It’s fun guiding them through the process and seeing how happy they are with the final product, which is often the home of their dream business.”

Lagge now works on multi-million-dollar development projects. For guiding clients to successful completion of their construction projects and mentoring other project managers, Lagge was recognized as one of Prairie Business’ Top 25 Women in Business in 2024 – standing out for her leadership contributions at Great States Construction and her deep investment in the Fargo-Moorhead community.

This early Dragon, who experienced the strength of women leaders in construction at an early age, will continue the tradition while helping her community grow.

Construction Management Degree

Being the first ACCE-accredited Construction Management program in Minnesota, you will get hands-on experience to prepare you for a professional career managing and leading projects in the construction industry.

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