Michael Hatcher's Graduate Student Journey

Michael Hatcher is earning a Ph.D. with a major in Building Construction.

We sat down with Hatcher, the President of Sovereign Construction and Development, LLC., to discuss the path that led him to the School of Building Construction and the milestones in his graduate journey so far.

This is Hatcher's story, in his own words:

I first started at Georgia Tech as a master’s student in the Facility Management track in 2008. At graduate orientation, Dr. Mobley mentioned the Ph.D. and asked us how we think about problems and solutions. She suggested taking Dr. Ashuri’s Decision Analysis class if you had any inkling of doing a PhD.

I followed this advice, took Dr. Ashuri’s class, and found my niche. I could do this, I could make a contribution and earn my Ph.D. The Ph.D. was a viable extension of my master’s program.

My first degree is in Health and Physical Education from Morehouse. I started to gravitate to the construction field.

I had several small businesses and they really fell under this umbrella of Construction and the Built Environment. I knew I needed the advanced education. What I was learning at night, I could directly apply during the day while I was at work. 

I did not have a topic in mind when I began my Ph.D., once I locked in, I knew I would do it. This worked best for me, it allowed me to be open to this idea and I developed the topic further in the process. My dissertation title: “Evaluating Supplier Diversity Development Programs from The Diverse Supplier Enterprise (DSE) Perspective In The Facility Management Industry.”

 I was really interested in this and opened my eyes to all the things we are not researching -- that population is not represented in research. This was a vehicle that illuminated different concepts that still need to be researched.

One of the things that stands out (in my time as a graduate student) is how important technology is to society and to the construction industry. I picked up so many things from Georgia Tech, I started with a 3 ring binder and had to close the gap and learn the technology. I was older than the average student and I needed this experience. Now, these concepts are every day to me and part of my daily routine.

I also noticed the lack of diversity in higher education (students and faculty). Georgia Tech is extremely diverse, but seems like more of an outlier. Even the diversity at Georgia Tech is somewhat homogenous. The gap needs to be closed in education and in the construction industry, not just race-gender, age, etc.

These are things I saw and experiences help determine your path. This void helped shape my topic. Through research, you can creat a platform, and give the silent a voice.

My goal is to get as many people in the conversation as possible. This is a broad industry, I want to see creative problem solving with the right tools and at a level that can affect change.

(My advice to future students is that) people need to know – you are smarter and braver than you think. Have a purpose and belief in yourself. All change is incremental.

I took eight years, but kept moving in the right direction. You need to check off milestones. It did not happen overnight. Positive momentum, change on top of change, you have to keep going. In a span of eight years, this changed my life. There were obstacles, I had to believe in myself and keep going.

Visit our website for more information on the School of Building Construction at Georgia Tech. You can connect with Michael Hatcher via http://www.sovereignbuilt.com/ or

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For More Information Contact

For more information contact 
Brenda Morris  brenda.morris@coa.gatech.edu