As President of Griggs Mitchell & Alma of IL (GMA) a division of Griggs Mitchell & Associates, Cornelius provides executive level oversight on matters related to business development, estimating, risk management, marketing, human capital management, finance, safety, quality assurance and quality control.
Cornelius is directly responsible for construction operations across the company for both our public and private business units. He works directly with our clients to ensure the product that we deliver is “Designed Effectively and Built Efficiently”.
Cornelius is a native of Chicago growing up in the city’s Austin Community. He’s a proven industry leader with over a decade of valuable construction management experience. Cornelius has led a host of projects, across a broad range of product lines that includes; Large scale residential, Public Housing, Education and Transportation.
Cornelius has held construction management positions with two of the country’s largest general contractors. In his most recent role, Cornelius served as a Project Manager and Lead Estimator for The Walsh Group located in Chicago, IL. In this role, Cornelius was directly responsible for leading new projects from preconstruction through project closeout with a focus in the Midwest public sector market. He was charged with pursuing new business opportunities, leading estimates on public openings, facilitating the response process on non-traditional bid responses and providing senior level oversight during construction and closeout phases of a project.
In nearly a decade at The Walsh Group, Cornelius completed an impressive list of projects that include but are not limited to: Dunbar High School Exterior Renovation, Chicago High School of the Arts Renovation, Nash Elementary School and KIPP Renovation, Carver Elementary School Renovation and Conversion, Altgeld Gardens 40 unit renovation, Metra 211th Street Station Rehabilitation, Metra Hinsdale Station Rehabilitation, Metra and The Tides – 52 Story High Rise.
Cornelius started his career with Clark Construction Group located in Bethesda, Maryland. Cornelius served as a Project Engineer working on the McCormick West Expansion Project. During his tenure with Clark, Cornelius served, in management capacity, in the Safety and Risk Management department before assuming a construction management role providing direct project oversight of multiple Finish and misc. Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing trade contractors.
Cornelius holds a Masters of Industrial Technology and Operation with a Concentration in Facilities and Construction Management (MITO) from the Illinois Institute of Technology, a Masters Certification in Executive Management for Design and Construction (EMDC) from Northwestern University, and a Bachelors of Science degree from Chicago State University. Cornelius also holds several industry related certifications and continues to seek out new opportunities to expand his professional knowledge base.
Cornelius has maintained a love and passion for the field of Construction Management. His desire to increase minority participation in the field led him to the college classroom. After receiving a master’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Cornelius assisted the City Colleges of Chicago in formulating its first AAS Degree in Construction Management in the Spring of 2009. To date, Cornelius has lectured to hundreds city college students who aspire to have careers in the field of Construction Management. To date, the program has graduated nearly a 17 students 8 of which are on scholarships at Purdue University and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In a part-time capacity, Cornelius continues to lecturer, mentor and provide oversight as the program continues to provide a foundation for more disadvantaged groups to be exposed to the field of construction management.
Cornelius grew up as a ward of the state under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods. He is a product of the Chicago Public School system attending junior high school at Michelle Clark Middle School and high school at Steinmetz Academic Centre. Cornelius received his BS from Chicago State University on a full academic scholarship from the DCFS and immediately thereafter a MS in Industrial Technology and Operation with a concentration in Facilities and Construction Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Cornelius served his country in the United States Army Reserve from 2001 – 2011. He served honorably, in Karshi Uzbekistan, Doha Qatar and Bagram Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Cornelius truly believes that ”Success” is not measured by the position that one has reached in life but rather the obstacles which one has overcome. If you wait until you can do everything for everyone, instead of one-thing for someone, you’ll end up doing nothing for no one. Cornelius has been challenged himself to ”Make everyday a Masterpiece”!
Cornelius was appointed by the Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Office to sit on the Chicago Community Land Trust Board of Directors in December of 2014. The Land Trust was founded in 2006 to address the increasingly limited supply of funding for affordable housing. The goal of the CCLT is to preserve the long-term affordability of homes created through City programs and maintain a permanent pool of homeownership opportunities for working families. The CCLT is a non-profit corporation, with a board of directors that is appointed by the Mayor with Chicago City Council consent.
Cornelius is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Introspect Youth Services Alumni Association. Introspect is a non-profit organization that assist inner-city youth from underserved communities with college preparation and readiness.
U.S. Senate Round Table Panel – Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Cornelius participated in a round table entitled “Strengthening Federal Access Programs to meet 21st Century Needs – A look at Trio and Gear up Programs”. The round table was moderated by Committee Chairman Senator Harkin (D-Iowa) and included both Republican and Democratic U.S. Senators. Cornelius, along with Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) President Maureen Hoyler and Hibbing Community College Upward Bound Director Tallie Sertich addressed the importance of such programs and how they affect the lives of countless low-income and under privileged youth across the United States.
Cornelius, a former participant in Trio Programs while in High School and College, understands the importance of providing access to educational opportunities for inner city youth. His testimony during the round-table provided confirmation that Trio Programs are effective. Understanding that Trio Programs like Upward Bound and Talent Search are vital in our inner city communities, Cornelius continues to volunteer his time to support the efforts of C.O.E.
Chicago Defender – 50 Men of Excellence Award 2014
Council for Opportunity in Education – National Trio Acheiver Award 2013
Walsh Group Leadership Initiative (WGLI) Class of 2012
Army Commendation Medal – Operation Enduring Freedom (2003)