Missouri State University
Bo Calbert

Bo Calbert

  • President, southwest region of McCarthy Building Companies
  • Paradise Valley, Arizona
  • BS in Construction Management, 1980

Southwest Region President Bo Calbert heads one of the top commercial building companies in the U.S. His experience includes overseeing construction of hospitals, schools and office buildings.

Construction president shares tools of the trade: Strong work ethic and a great education

What does your job entail?

My company does a lot of commercial and industrial work. We build (or manage subcontractors who build) projects like hospitals, hotels, schools and office buildings. We also have been working with solar power; we installed panels in the desert that feed power back into the utility company. My role is to oversee the whole office — everything from the progress of projects to marketing and employee training. In this economy, I focus on making sure we look at new market opportunities.

Why did you choose Missouri State?
I was actually on campus for 16 years: I went to Greenwood for elementary and high school. My dad was a home developer in Springfield and I wanted to get a degree and go into business with him.

Tell us the story of your career.
When I graduated in 1980, the economy was like it is now. I decided to get a graduate degree and see if things were better — but they weren’t. My dad had a friend who was in commercial building; he introduced me to the McCarthy Company in 1982 when there was a building boom in Houston, Texas. I worked in that area, then in Dallas, then in Tampa, Fla. When I was 29 they decided to give me the role of project manager on the biggest project they ever built, a hospital in New Hampshire. After that, I went to corporate headquarters in St. Louis, and then transferred to the southwest division as a vice president. When the president here retired, about 10 years ago, I took his spot.

What is the coolest thing about your job?
I have done some things I never dreamed I could do when I was younger, like build large projects. I’m able to leave a legacy behind me.

How did what you learned on campus help you in your career?
I learned my work ethic from my father, but I realized the value of academics at MSU. You can’t just have book smarts or a good work ethic. You have to have both for a long-term career, because you don’t stop learning when you graduate!

Where did you like to hang out?
I was in the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, so I remember being at the house.

Do you ever come back to campus?
I try to get back at least once a year because I have some extended family in Springfield. I like to walk around campus and look at the older buildings — those look timeless.

What are you most proud of?
I am blessed to have a great family. My wife, Lani, and I met at Pittsburg State. She heads up Heart Hats, McCarthy’s community-involvement program. We have two girls: Brittany, 24, and Lauren, 21.

What do you do in your spare time?
I grew up on the lakes, especially Table Rock, and I enjoy fishing and hunting. My Ozarks relatives try to do that with me when I get back to the area. In Arizona, I play golf — and the hiking here is great.

What are your plans for the future?
My goal is to retire young enough to share my skills with charities. I want to go into developing countries to help build schools and other infrastructure. I have been to Mexico a few times to help build homes, and McCarthy has built a few Habitat for Humanity houses.

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