When David Birkelbach looks at the new Social Sciences building on
the University of North Florida campus, he takes special pride in the
Birkelbach was the building’s project manager assigned by Elkins
Constructors Inc., the contractor for the $13.3 million facility.
“Helping with this project on my home campus was a privilege and honor
for me. Everyone worked as a team to complete this project on time and
on budget. It was as close to a flawless construction project as you
can get, which is an unbelievable accomplishment in this industry,” he
As a 2001 graduate of the Building Construction Management program,
Birkelbach is particularly proud that the facility, which opened in
2006, is the first LEED-registered building in Jacksonville and the
first “green” building on campus. LEED (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) represents buildings that have minimal impact on
However, Birkelbach’s accomplishments go beyond the Social Sciences
building which he considers part of his legacy to UNF. In 2005,
Birkelbach received his M.B.A. from UNF. “UNF prepared me extremely
well. The University has one of the best construction management
programs in the nation,” he said.
In addition to being a project manager, Birkelbach also supervises
the internship program at Elkins and is involved in the company’s
recruiting activities. This responsibility has given him a good
opportunity to see the quality of UNF graduates. “The practical
knowledge and readiness of the people who come out of UNF is so much
better than graduates from other schools,” he said. “They have the
perfect balance between academics and real-world experience."
Not too long ago, Birkelbach himself was an intern. While at UNF he
was active in student organizations, serving as vice president of the
student chapter of ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors). Since
graduation, he has also become active in the UNF Alumni Association,
currently serving on its board of directors. The Jacksonville native
also met his wife, the former Melinda Meehan, at UNF. She was also in
the construction management program and was secretary of ABC. The
couple has one daughter, Emily.
He fondly recalls the accomplishments of the student chapter such as
the college’s Career Fair and the Hard Hat Banquet. “We started these
projects and it’s great to see them blossom today into major events. We
take a great deal of pride in these accomplishments,” he said.
Birkelbach finished his undergraduate degree at UNF after spending
the first two years at the University of Florida. “I’m so grateful I
came to UNF. I couldn’t have made a better decision in my life.”
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