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Kaylor Hasbargen Starts New Company Division While Earning Online MBA

As an experienced project engineer, Kaylor Hasbargen knows how to plan ahead, juggle commitments and meet deadlines.

He started a new division of his company, Rickabaugh Pentecost Development, at the same time he enrolled in Boise State University’s Online Master of Business Administration in Construction Management. Hasbargen graduated in June 2023.

“It’s not a whole new company, bootstraps from the ground up, but it was taking our vision, quality, service and culture and saying, ‘I am going to go over here with no relationships and start from ground zero, but have the backing of the parent company,'” he said.

As if packing up his family and moving across Washington (from Puyallup to Kennewick) wasn’t enough, Hasbargen maintains his previous role as division manager at the company headquarters. He travels every other week.

“My family and friends thought I was a crazy man for a while because I was so busy,” he said. “The company is growing. The people we work for like team dynamics. They trust you.”

The flexibility of the online format was big for Hasbargen. He and his wife, Kelsi, have three children — Adley (6), Aros (3) and Anainn (8 months). She has a master’s degree, but he is the first person in his family to earn one.

“Earning the degree online made it manageable,” he said. “If it wasn’t structured that way, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did. It would have been start, stop, start, stop.”

Hasbargen considered a few universities before enrolling in an MBA program, but Boise State’s proved to be the ideal fit for his needs.

“It amounted to having friends I grew up with who went to Boise State who all loved it,” he said. “It was also a little closer to me than the other two schools. Plus, I liked the construction management path. That was really cool. It ended up being a no-brainer.”

Perfect Pitch

Hasbargen is from Bonnie Lake, Washington, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Washington State University in 2014. He also played baseball for the Cougars.

“Peers and supervisors who were in the construction industry guided me when I was halfway through my undergrad,” he said. “I didn’t have any direction. They knew the competitive nature could fare well on this side. My dad, Mark, was also in construction, so it was already in-house.”

One of the Rickabaugh Pentecost Development owners with an MBA encouraged Hasbargen to follow suit when the time was right.

“He told me, ‘When you’re ready, this could put you in the hot seat for potential for future ownership,'” he said. “That triggered it. From the parent company, they wanted to diversify geographically. So, I took it and created a whole new division.”

The Online MBA in Construction Management curriculum was especially beneficial to Hasbargen, who was applying what he learned, practically in real time.

“If you are intentional with the work and are invested, you can pluck away material that’s applicable to you from every course,” he said. “One for me was marketing. It was most challenging for me because it’s so far away from anything I have been exposed to.

“It taught me valuable marketing and sales skills around it, how to look at things differently. It also showed me that I can use these nuggets to strengthen what I am doing. It made me a much more balanced professional individual.”

Hasbargen also enjoyed Corporate Finance, but People and Organizations and Leadership in Architecture, Engineering and Construction were the most applicable to his career.

“I didn’t have any resources for starting the new division,” he said. “I had to get in and understand the local environment, what drives and fuels the local people, and what kind of leaders they gravitate to.

“I wanted to know how to differentiate ourselves in the local market against competitors. Understanding business and organizations and how important human resource application is, how to do it right, to be mindful and blend leadership application in my industry with it opened my eyes.”

On Deck

Hasbargen said the new division will someday become an autonomous piece that he will own, but he also likes having an MBA and the extra business acumen on his resume.

“With the existing degrees and licenses I carry, if I wanted to pivot and move up the ranks to provide more opportunities, having an MBA is a key thing that CEOs and upper-level management look for,” he said. “It sets you apart.

“For the cost, quality of the content and the instructors, Boise State’s Online MBA in Construction Management is valuable. The way it was built on Canvas, it was up-to-date and had plenty of support. It worked really well.”

Now that he is a Boise State alumnus, Hasbargen knows that he made the right decision to return to college for a master’s degree — even if it meant that he was incredibly busy.

“You have to go into it with an open mind and the willingness to commit the time needed to do it right,” he said. “When you have a family and external forces tugging on you, it’s easy to do the minimum and fly under the radar.

“I was doing the program for me and my personal and professional growth. I knew if I was going to invest and take the time, I had to do it 100%. If you do, you’ll look back and be thankful you did it. I would not be as happy if I looked back and gave 60%.”

Now, Hasbargen can focus on constructing a new role as an entrepreneur.

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