Construction Management Certificate Instructor Robert Thiele

Instructor Spotlight: Robert Thiele

Robert Thiele is an attorney and member of the California State Bar. He is also licensed in California as a professional mechanical engineer and electrical contractor. He has worked in the construction industry for more than 30 years as a contractor and consulting engineer. Thiele is currently principal of a mechanical consulting firm.

Why is Construction Law important? 

All construction activities carry risk, from estimating, to bidding and, finally, constructing. How does the construction industry, and society at large, deal with risk? When risk turns to damages, it is handled through the courts using the law and the remedies provided by the law. All construction has risk and recognizing and mitigating that risk is essential to success.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?  

The interaction with the students, particularly the give and take that arises as they begin to appreciate the law.

Can you tell us something about yourself that we might otherwise not know (e.g., hobbies, personal interests, volunteer work, etc.)?  

I worked full time while attending law school at night, so I appreciate the time and commitment the students put into this program.

How would a student describe your teaching style? 

Interactive with the purpose of coaxing the students to identify and analyze the issue and the law. 

Describe a moment where, as a teacher, you feel like you had an impact on a student’s life. What was the situation? What happened? How did you know you know you had an impact? How did it make you feel?  

I taught research at a law school. While research is a necessary skill for an attorney, it is not tested on the bar exam. As a result, the class was not popular with the students. But I did run into a student a few years after graduation who told me in retrospect the research class was actually the most useful class he had taken. That was great to hear.

If there’s a single thing you want students to take away from your course, what would it be?  

Recognize there is risk.

In your opinion, what separates the UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Construction Management program from other programs?   

The opportunity to obtain a certificate from a program associated with the University of California, a tier-one research university.

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