Tishman Distinguished Lecture

Start Date: 
Monday, February 23, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

GM Conference Room
Lurie Engineering Center

Gui Ponce de Leon

Title: How Lifelong Learning Has Shaped My Career and My Firm (and Made 50+ Years of Scheduling Calculus Obsolete)


Arguably, engineering students graduate anticipating as a next step a professional career that necessarily brings the pursuit of knowledge for personal and professional reasons. Else, it would be difficult to be trusted with increasing professional responsibilities to progress to a position of leadership in the profession, and perhaps in the firm, in which one forges a career.

This lecture is, at best, a snapshot of the career of a civil engineering PhD in project management that spans four decades with a common-thread mindset for improving the practice, assignment after assignment, never wasting a lesson learned, with an attitude of “if it ain’t broke, break it.” Two featured case studies illustrate the presenter’s willingness to continue learning, day in and day out, with every challenge faced.
While incremental improvement can make a career, this presentation dares to pursue breakthrough improvement when one recognizes that an entrenched professional practice has lost value or relevance over time. Particularly, this lecture posits that the critical path method of planning and scheduling has outlived its usefulness in that it remain a task performed by specialists using a black-box process in the face of an Internet social revolution that cries out for more collaborative, transparent, “stakeholder-centric” processes. The lecture introduces the graphical path method aka GPM and explains why it is the proper approach to planning and scheduling, and therefore, to project management, in the Internet era.

While this lecture focuses on my experience in our industry, more importantly, it challenges students to recognize that individually driven learning begins at commencement. 

Speaker: Gui Ponce de Leon, PhD, PE, PMP, LEED AP
Chief Executive Officer
PMA Consultants, LLC


Dr. Gui is the founder and CEO of PMA Consultants LLC. The firm has 14 offices nationwide and is ranked as the 6th pure construction management consulting firm in the U.S. in Engineering News-Record’s 2014 Top 100 CM/PM firms.  

Dr. Gui’s career in project management spans more than four decades, and his professional experience includes executive and senior roles as investor’s developer, program manager, construction manager, project controls engineer, and planner/scheduler. Since 2004, he has led the development of PMA’s groundbreaking, patented graphical path method (GPM) of planning/scheduling and its software embodiments, NetPoint® and NetRisk™.

Dr. Gui obtained a BS in civil engineering from the National University of Engineering in Lima, Peru. He pursued graduate studies as a Fulbright Fellow at Vanderbilt University, and in the fall of 1967, began PhD studies at Michigan. In 1972, he earned the first PhD awarded in the Construction Engineering & Management Program. Following graduation, he served as adjunct assistant and adjunct associate professor at U of M from 1973–1989.  

Dr. Gui and his wife, Cecelia, have been together for 17 years. They have three children—Olivia, Soleil, and Alessio. Dr. Gui has three sons—Dax, Seve, and Sergio—from a previous marriage.

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