B.S. Construction Engineering Management, 1997
Senior Project Manager and Founding Owner
Fortis Construction, Inc.
Tim Sissel’s childhood friend, J.D. Vetter (B.S. Construction Engineering Management (CEM) ’97, B.S. Business Administration ’97), an honored Oregon Stater Council inductee in 2012, is responsible for getting Sissel to take a look at the CEM program, rather than following his original plan of becoming an accountant.
The decision has paid off. Sissel’s company, Fortis Construction, Inc., founded in 2003, has experienced significant success. He says the key to that success is the culture. “We believe our culture is unique in our industry,” Sissel said. “It’s a culture founded on freedom, responsibility, and hiring razor-smart people. We are a flat organization, and really try to stay away from titles. We look for self-starters, who are motivated, passionate, curious, and humble.”
Fortis’ business model came from DPR Construction in Redwood City, California, where Sissel was recruited directly from Oregon State. He spent six years with DPR before starting Fortis with a small group of former DPR employees. Sissel has served as Project Manager on more than 40 projects including Oregon State’s Learning Innovation Center, Furman Hall, and the recent updates to Reser Stadium.
Sissel says that one person cannot successfully build a building, and it starts with constructing strong teams — working with different personalities, backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders. “There was a time in my career when I thought I would like to someday teach high school math and coach basketball,” he said. “But a couple of years ago, I realized that my opportunity to impact many more than 30 people in a classroom existed at Fortis, and within this industry.”
“I know that the CEM program at Oregon State was a key ingredient to my success. And why wouldn’t I want to give back to the school that helped me get here?” added Sissel, who avidly supports OSU sports and sits on the board of the OSU Foundation.