March 14, 2023

Super Intern to Superintendent: McGhee Takes Field Leadership Path

Mentored by his grandfather and degreed in construction management, Tye McGhee will eventually bring job site experience to project management.


Not everyone who enters Haskell’s Assistant Project Manager – Construction (APMC) program will emerge as a Project Superintendent as quickly as Tye McGhee because not everyone is Tye McGhee.

McGhee has been on job sites since he was 8 years old. He earned his construction management degree from the University of North Florida, and he made an indelible impression during his extended Haskell internship.

“He was a standout, even then,” said Matt Gulden, Vice President, Construction & Manufacturing. “He was the perfect intern. He was smart and wanted to do the work. He picked up information quickly, didn't have any ego and was just the type of person that people wanted to be around.”

Gulden recalled the transition from his previous role as a project director to his current position. He still had direct responsibility for a large food manufacturing facility, and he was able to rely heavily on McGhee, who worked roughly 30 hours a week as an intern from October 2017 through December 2019.

“He was doing my strongest APM work as an intern,” Gulden recalled. “He was an integral part of that project and building the estimate. I had young APMs coming in out of school who were working for Tye as an intern because he had the experience with us, and he made the most of that experience. No one felt weird about it with him because he made it so it wasn't weird. He has that character.”

Both nature and nurture played a role. His grandfather, Ken Whyrick, owned a residential construction company and took young Tye under his wing.

“In the beginning, I shadowed him,” McGhee recalled. “Then, when I was 13, he had me sweeping and cleaning up, and from there, I worked up to framing and foundations.

“People see that you’re working for family and think you have it easy. For me, it was the opposite. He didn’t take it easy on me. He expected me to be the first one there and the last to leave. He had high expectations and standards. He really shaped me.”

In 2019, armed with years of his grandfather’s mentorship, his UNF diploma and more than two years of Haskell indoctrination, he transitioned from an intern playing up as an APM to a full-time APMC working toward becoming a Superintendent.

“When I graduated, I didn’t look for a job,” he said. “I knew Haskell was where I wanted to be,” McGhee said. “I really like the personable atmosphere. It has a very open-door policy.”

Assistant project managers handle the business of construction projects. Among their duties can be identifying and qualifying subcontractors; preparing bid packages; receiving and analyzing bids; monitoring design with attention to scope, constructability and cost changes; and working with accounting to process subcontractor and vendor payments, etc. The typical career path is promotion through the ranks to project manager.

Project superintendents typically are tradesmen who climb the field management ladder through the foreman and assistant superintendent ranks, however the Assistant Project Manager – Construction program takes project management-track team members and gives them the construction experience necessary to become a superintendent and lead a job site.

APMC-track professionals commit to eight years in the field leading construction projects before having the option to return to the project management path.

“The long-term plan is to work in the field and then come back to work in the office. So, I’m gaining a good base for when I work in the office,” McGhee said. “It’s really good when the leadership understands the construction part, not just the money part of the project.”

McGhee spent two years in the APMC program, working on design-build projects for clients such as In-N-Out Burger, Nestle Bottling and United Airlines,

He was officially promoted to Superintendent in January 2022, and his current project is his first in the role. Because it is so large – a multi-year design-build project to construct a 775,000-square-foot distribution campus for Coca-Cola in Tampa, Florida – he is working alongside veteran Superintendent Jeff Akers.

Akers has nothing but praise for the up-and-coming McGhee.

“He knows the fundamentals of construction, and he’s computer savvy too,” Akers said. He’s very personable. He’s a good communicator with the subcontractors, but he knows when to be tough. He’s a young superintendent who is super knowledgeable but is still willing to learn. His future is endless.”

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Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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