Staying connected—the obvious choice for SEAS alum Nate Bolt

Two people wearing UB shirts holding a child and smiling.

Nate Bolt with his wife, Allison, and their daughter, Carmella.

By Elizabeth Egan

Published February 22, 2024

For Nate Bolt, attending the University at Buffalo was an obvious choice. Born and raised in Lockport, New York, UB was always right in Bolt’s backyard. The proximity to home and strong program in the field he hoped to enter—engineering—made UB the perfect place for Bolt (BS ’11) to pursue his bachelor’s degree.

“There is a lot of pride with being a UB and engineering alum, especially now being a flagship university with all the amazing things going on. ”
Nate Bolt '11

At the beginning of his time as an undergraduate, Bolt pictured himself working in design. As he crept towards graduation, the UB alum began to lean more towards a career in project management, which led him to take a position at a large construction management firm and later complete his MBA from Niagara University in 2014.

Bolt worked at Turner Construction for 12 years, working on projects such as John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Lockport City Schools, a particularly special project to Bolt as he worked on capital improvements at the schools that his five-year-old daughter will soon attend.

In September 2022, Bolt returned to UB to take a position as the assistant director of construction and delivery, where he now works, overseeing construction projects around the university.

“It was such a opportunity that came up for myself and my family to make a career change and come back to UB,” said Bolt. “There is a lot of pride with being a UB and engineering alum, especially now being a flagship university with all the amazing things going on.”

While Bolt returned to UB as an employee in 2022, he has remained involved with the school for years through one of his mentors, Christine Human, associate dean for accreditation and students affairs and a professor of teaching in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. He would volunteer in her classes, reviewing resumes, performing practice interviews and discussing the significance of internships with students.

Eventually, Bolt joined the Young Alumni Board, which later merged with the UB Engineering and Applied Sciences Alumni Association (UBEAA).

In 2023, he served as vice president under previous president, Jordan Walbesser, and then became president.

During his term as UBEAA president, Bolt hopes to focus on mentorship efforts and supporting the visions that Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has for the school.

“One of the things that has been near and dear to me has been mentoring,” said Bolt. “Students could always use some help from alumni mentorship. We met with Dean Lewis to review mentoring initiatives that try and give more support, doing resumes, interview prep and just answering general career questions.”

With the ever-increasing presence that Bolt has maintained since graduating UB, he reflected on his time as a student on the campus in the following Q&A.   

What was your favorite experience at UB?

There was a wastewater environmental engineering class that was taught by Scott Weber, now the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. He used a lot of real-life examples and would try to take us out of the classroom as much as possible.

As a junior, I was finally getting into courses that were aligning with what I wanted to do. I was also interning for the City of Lockport, where I was working on a wastewater replacement project, so the two things really went well together. It was also fun!

How did your time at UB prepare you for your career?

My time at UB was great. I was lucky to make some really great connections with professors who I have maintained friendships with to this day. The coursework certainly prepares you and UB has a good array of professors with significant technical backgrounds who bring a lot to the table. Compared to other schools, I think UB does a really good job of that. At my previous employer, I did a lot of recruiting, and I can say that we always looked forward to recruiting UB students compared to other colleges because they really did come more prepared.

What is a piece of advice you have for current UB students?

As much as you are going to spend your time gaining technical knowledge with phenomenal professors at UB, it is important to try and get some practical knowledge and really be pushing for internships. It is a very strong job market; it always has been.

From 10 years of doing recruiting, the one piece of advice we always gave students was to go out and get internships. Paid ones are great but even volunteering is good to get any experience that will help meld together what you are learning in textbooks and then seeing in the field. That will really give you a leg up on a lot of competition.

Also, really try to make those connections with your professors. They will serve you forever and be great resources and support. Try to have a reason to want to come back five years or even one year after graduation, to want to give back and still be a part of UB.