two males working on projects

Brian Clonts headshot


Brian Clonts’ career is the epitome of working one’s way up the professional ladder. After beginning his career as a non-destructive technician, Brian became a senior technician, a superintendent, a project manager, and is now serving as the materials department manager in Terracon’s Chattanooga office. As a self-proclaimed “manager of project managers,” Brian uses what he learned in UTC’s PMP Exam Prep course to make sure his company’s project management processes flow smoothly.  



Marah: Why did you pursue the PMP certification? 

Brian: My company recognizes what I can do, but those I interact with outside of the company don’t know the full scope of my abilities. While working on various projects for Terracon, I use a resume (sometimes several resumes!) depending on the scope and size of the project. The PMP certification boosts my resume and gives me credibility. The industry highly values certification; many project manager jobs you see on Indeed require PMP certification. Of course, implementing what I learned has improved my organization’s processes as well! 


M: How did you find out about UTC’s course?  

B: former manager of mine told me about the course. He’s the one that recommended UTC, and he knew Ginger Duggan (the PMP program coordinator) personally. I am glad he pointed me in UTC’s direction. 


M: What did you learn in the PMP course that is beneficial to you on a daily basis? 

B: The information I learned in the course has helped me keep up with my direct reports projects more closely. I am more of a trust and verify guy, and I like to let my project managers do their own thing. However, the course taught me to pay closer attention to certain aspects during the verification process. I catch details that I didn’t catch before.  


M:  What did you enjoy about the PMP course? 

B: The course was interactive. The instructor kept my attention, which sometimes isn’t the easiest thing to do. She wrote down the most important aspects that we needed to memorize on poster boards and hung them around the room, so we saw them constantly throughout the week. The poster boards were helpful to get the information down pat! It was way more interesting and fun than I thought a “boot camp” course would be. 


M: What advice would you give to someone studying for the PMP? What are some study tips/takeaways you implemented? 

B: I have a six-year-old, and you can imagine that children are distracting study buddies. If you have kids, it’s important to have a support system (mine was my wife) to help entertain them during your study time.  

The class is designed to help you pass the test. Everything that you are told to highlight is being emphasized for a reason. I suggest that you study your course notes in-depth. 

Also, when it comes time to take the test, be confident. If you’re thinking to yourself, “I am probably not going to pass,” you probably won’t pass. Build yourself up! 


M: What’s an important lesson you learned in the process of earning your certification? 

B: This old dog can still do new tricks. I am middle-aged and hadn’t taken an exam like the PMP in forever. It was a pat on the back that I could pass the exam. Obviously, there were business-related motives behind taking the exam, but the motivation to prove that I can do what I set my mind to was a personal motivation. A little confidence goes a long way!  


M: What’s a fun fact about you? 

B: I watch Disney Plus more than my six-year-old. 


M: Is there anything else that you would like to share about your PMP course experience? 

B: You may not use everything you learn in the course in your specific role, but it’s helpful to see a broader project management picture. I was able to grab the aspects that applied to my job and fill in missing gaps. Take the course and go after your certification; know you can retake the exam if you don’t pass the first time. It’s a no-brainer! If you’re going to manage any project, ever, then you will find the PMP to be useful.  


Marah Whitaker headshot

Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.

Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.