JODI CRABTREE, 26
It didn't take long for employers to notice Jodi Crabtree. Graduating just four years ago with a building construction degree from the University of Florida in Gainesville, this southwest Florida resident had done all she could to gain exposure. As a full-time college student with a strong academic performance, she also carved out time to work as a field assistant at a Gainesville firm. When she reached her senior year at UF, an institution helping students statewide called the Selby Foundation, named Crabtree a Selby Scholar. It awarded her tuition funds as well as the opportunity to connect with a mentor. The Selby Foundation's Selby Scholar Symposium pairs working learners like Crabtree with accomplished business leaders, engineers, scientists, lawyers, artists and more whose own accomplishments lead by example.
It turned out that Crabtree was just as interesting to her mentor, the chief executive of the largest construction firm in town, as he was to her. Her passion for building and management, her prior experience as a busy college student who also made it a top priority to gain on-the-job experience, were so impressive, he offered her a job soon after they met. These days, Crabtree walks with purpose and confidence through the sprawling construction sites; says she’s anxious to share her own knowledge and experience with others new to the field. In turn, she has become a mentor to new Selby Scholars, and represents her company as a young leader in the community. Crabtree’s supervisors at Tandem Construction credit her “positive attitude and endless drive” as the biggest contributors to her success “learning the business and exceling in a few short years.”