Shawn Seaman, AET ’82, AE ’84, isn’t a physician or medical researcher, but the work he does—building life sciences and healthcare facilities—still has the power to impact lives. Take a particular day as he walks through the front lobby of Boston Children’s Hospital to get to the job site of a 600,000-square-foot tower project.

“When I see patients and the look of concern on a parent’s face, I am reminded why I do the work that I do,” says Seaman, who is vice president and chief operating officer of Suffolk Construction’s institutional group. “That is what drives me.”

Seaman manages about $400 million per year in revenue for Suffolk’s life sciences and healthcare clients; but more importantly, he manages people.

“My passion is building projects but I am also very passionate about building teams,” he says. “I enjoy finding the right people to work on a project or be the next leader in the company, and then helping them work their way up the leadership ladder.”

But Seaman is humble when talking about his own journey up the ladder at Suffolk. He started his career at a small Boston-area construction management firm before becoming a project manager at Suffolk. Working his way up came with a lot of hard work and patience.

“It was about having an ability to execute, stay positive, and lead by example,” Seaman says. “For me, it’s a matter of doing right by people and being able to motivate teams through both successful and challenging times.”

A first-generation college student, Seaman is no stranger to mental toughness. He was a commuter student and juggled Wentworth’s rigorous architectural program with jobs at local convenience stores to pay his way through college. He was inspired by courses that focused on how to build: applied differential equations and strength of materials, for example. And today, he is inspired by the impact of “the build.”

“When I see researchers exploring a new cancer treatment in a lab that I helped construct,” he says, “it’s incredible to know that I was a part of that in some small way.”

— Kristen Walsh