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Staff Stories—Charles Markham

A man in a portrait
Project Sponsor Charles Markham

Manson Dredging Project Sponsor Charles Markham says he likes to visualize the “big picture” to ensure success on Manson projects.  

The “big picture” involves a multi-step process starting at the project procurement phase and ending with the final closeout, but there are many responsibilities in between to get to the finish line.  

“As a project sponsor, I often travel between my office in Jacksonville and on jobsites,” Charles says. “I oversee project operations, checking in on project staff and crews to offer support, and building relationships with clients and vendors. These things help me get a feel for the rhythm of a job.” 

Success in the Project Sponsor role requires leadership, perceptiveness, and a penchant for multi-tasking disparate duties, qualities that Charles demonstrated more than thirty years ago as a kid in Orlando, Florida.  

The Markham household was chock-full of sports and water activities, sparking friendly competition between Charles and his siblings. “I grew up a triplet, so it got pretty competitive between me and my two sisters,” he says. “The friendly rivalry helped me stay sharp.”  

Inspired by his father’s occupation as an architect and owner’s representative in construction, Charles found joy in building things with his hands. 

“When I was in high school, I worked as a carpenter’s assistant,” he says. “I also spent some time as a mechanic’s assistant, so I always kept myself busy. My grandfather built and owned his own car garage in Orlando after his time as a Navy Mechanic so that inspired me to get into it.” 

After graduating high school in 2004, Charles enrolled in the University of Central Florida (UCF) to study engineering. Between juggling classes and running in and out of lecture halls, he also found time to participate in sports at UCF, including rowing, hockey, and volleyball. From the outside looking in, Charles’ plans were set for the next four years, but with a couple of years of college under his belt, Charles decided to change academic programs. “It was around 2007 when I realized the general engineering program wasn’t the path I wanted to take,” he says. “At the time, my sister was attending the University of Florida (UF) to study Building Construction Technology, and I figured that I could still work with my hands, so I decided to switch to that. I took a few community college courses and got into UF that same year.” 

Excelling in the construction program at UF, Charles found employment at Brasfield and Gorrie—a commercial construction firm—working as a carpenter’s assistant. After receiving his bachelor's degree from UF in 2010, he was promoted. 

“I got the assistant superintendent position not long after I graduated and around the same time, I decided to go for my master's in building construction technology,” he says. “That job taught me how to communicate and support people from all trades and helped develop leadership skills.”  

In 2012, Charles finished his master’s program at UF and was looking toward a future at Brasfield and Gorie, but the universe had other plans in store for him.  

“Around the same time, I received a cold call from Donnie Smith at Manson’s Jacksonville office,” he explains.” I had forgotten I had applied several months before—on the encouragement of a cousin who interned at Manson—so it was a surprise. Not long after, I interviewed and accepted a field engineer role.” 

A crew of marine construction workers.
Charles (far right, green shirt) with the ROBERT M WHITE Bullgang Crew.

At Manson, Charles hit the ground running when he got assigned to the TraPac Dames Point Container Terminal Dredging project in Jacksonville, FL. As a young field engineer, Charles was eager to learn and familiarize himself with dredging. “From performing hydrographic surveys to completing daily reports, I learned a lot during that job,” he says. “I worked night shifts for six months and received a lot of support from the project staff.”  

After completing his first job assignment, Charles joined the project team on Manson’s cutter suction dredge LEONARD J—sold in 2018—for the Calcasieu River and Pass Maintenance Dredging project in Cameron Parish, LA. “I loved this job because I was responsible for driving a survey boat along with the other essential duties of a field engineer,” Charles says. “People like Captain Ronnie Snyder, Project Managers Alex Merlo and Jack Fernandez, and General Superintendent Ray Givan made it enjoyable to work in the field, teaching me the ropes about surveying and operations. Captain Ronnie would always say everyone is a deckhand first, so I spent a lot of time working with the Bull Gang working dredge pipe.” 

Through hard work and natural talent, Charles was promoted to several roles during his career at Manson, including lead engineer, dredge operations engineer, project engineer, and now, project sponsor.  

Four people pose for a picture.
The Markham Family (L-R) Liam Patrick, Kelley, Charles, and Miles Thomas.

Reflecting on more than a decade of success at Manson, Charles looks forward to many more years with the organization, crediting the workplace culture. “Sure, there are many career opportunities out there with other marine construction and dredging companies, but I can confidently say that it won’t be better than working at Manson,” he says. “Manson is pretty relaxed, and it’s a great place to build a career.” 


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