Alumni Spotlight: Jay Dorsey and Hernan Morales on Building the Future for Construction

Jay Dorsey
Hernan Morales

For Jay Dorsey and Hernan Morales, adaptability and dedication have been essential for their professional success. Since their time at the University of Houston (UH), both recognize the role their education played in their development, and both continue to support future generations of construction management entrepreneurs at UH.

Together, Dorsey and Morales have worked to establish one of the most successful retail construction companies in the greater Houston area. Their company, Triad Retail Construction, was recently recognized by the Cougar 100 for the seventh consecutive year as one of the fastest-growing UH alumni-led businesses. Even with their current success, starting the company did not come without its share of early obstacles.

“We started Triad in February of 2008. When the recession started hitting, we had to adapt,” said Morales. “Then, we had Hurricane Ike that came through and brought us a lot of new work. Most companies just shut down during the hurricane. We saw it as an opportunity.”

They also credit much of their success as entrepreneurs to their experiences and education at the University of Houston.

Morales earned a degree in Civil Engineering at Lamar University before pursuing a degree in Construction Management at UH. Morales has nearly 20 years of experience in construction and project management. As CEO of Triad Retail Construction, he is a Senior Project Manager and oversees their project management activities nationwide.

Dorsey studied Civil Engineering, Surveying and Military Science at The Citadel before graduating from the College of Technology Construction Management Program in 1994. As President of Triad Retail Construction, Dorsey brings almost 30 years of experience in commercial construction and has stayed involved with the university through the Construction Management Industry Advisory Board.

“When I came to college, the idea of a college-educated project manager in the construction industry was a new concept. The University of Houston’s College of Technology was one of the first programs espousing that type of education in construction management,” explains Dorsey.

During their time at UH, many of the internship programs and opportunities offered now were not as widely available to students. Alumni like Morales and Dorsey have expanded those resources through their involvement in advisory boards and by offering internships to students at UH through their companies. Contributing to the growth of these programs and greater professional resources to students has proven rewarding for both Triad and the university.

“It provides students a vision of what their work is going to be like; what their career path can be,” adds Morales. “They get to meet project managers with more experience. It gives them a good idea of what their day-to-day is going to be as project managers.”

“The internship program is essential to the success of the construction program,” said Dorsey. “A decade ago, I sat on the alumni technology board of directors and currently, I sit on the Industrial Advisory Board. Through those boards, I have been able to return time, energy, and effort to help improve the construction management program.”

Now as Coog Alumni, they continue to inspire and relay their experiences to future entrepreneurs by emphasizing the qualities they have seen as formative to their success.

“It is crucial to know what it is you are getting into,” said Morales. “It is not just about the product when you want to be an entrepreneur. You can be the best craftsman making doors, but if you cannot run a company, you can only make doors.”

“If you put everything you can into it, you will reap the rewards of that,” said Dorsey. “This is one of the true industries out there where what you put into it will determine your success.