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UNL's Durham School names 2011 Construction Management Alumnus of the Year

Brad NydahlBrad Nydahl

Brad Nydahl, CEO of Howard S. Wright Construction, was named the 2011 Construction Management Alumnus of the Year by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction. The Durham School will honor Nydahl Monday, April 25 with a reception at UNL’s City Campus Union.

Nydahl was born and raised in northwest Nebraska and graduated from Chadron High School in 1971. At age 14, he had his first construction job: working for an excavation contractor. For the next 11 years, through high school and college, he worked part-time and full-time for several general and specialty contractors. He entered the UNL School of Architecture in 1973 and after three years transferred to the Construction Management Department in the College of Engineering.

He left UNL in May 1977 when he accepted a job with CH2M Hill in Portland, Ore. In 1978 he completed his UNL bachelor of science degree in Construction Management. After three years with CH2M Hill—managing designers more than construction, he said—Nydahl joined Baugh Construction as a project engineer. Nydahl advanced with Baugh, and at age 38 he was a vice president and a major stockholder.

In 1990, Nydahl joined Fletcher Challenge, a diversified international company, leading their Micronesia construction operations. Nydahl and his family then moved to Guam. His three “island” years included overseeing large hotel projects amid seven major typhoons and the collapse of the Guam power grid system.

With Fletcher, Nydahl moved back to the mainland in 1993 to take over the Pacific Northwest company, Howard S. Wright Construction (HSW), with headquarters in Portland, Ore. Nydahl and team redeveloped the company’s approaches and within three years opened new offices in Sacramento and Phoenix. In 1996, Fletcher exited its U.S. businesses and sold HSW to Nydahl and his partners. HSW ownership has since expanded to 35 employees.

With the next generation of HSW leadership, Nydahl’s role has become one of mentoring, building values and culture via training and strategic leadership. He has returned to his Nebraska roots by purchasing a working cattle ranch along the John Day River in north central Oregon, where he enjoys weekends with his wife, children and grandchildren.

To RSVP for the reception honoring Brad Nydahl as UNL 2011 Construction Management Alumnus of the Year, contact Cassandra Yates ( or 402-554-2460) no later than April 22.

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