GroundBreak Carolinas is honored to spotlight Michael Nieri, a member of the exclusive group of 2020 GroundBreakers — four individuals who are shaping the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry in a variety of ways.
Nieri is founder, owner and president of Great Southern Homes, a nationally ranked Top 50 homebuilder headquartered in Irmo, S.C. — known for its strong commitment to giving back to the communities, towns and cities it helps build. Inducted into the S.C. Housing Hall of Fame in 2018 for his work in and support of the state’s home building industry, Nieri has dedicated his professional life to providing families with well-built, affordably priced homes with signature style and quality throughout South Carolina.
Nieri’s family was in the construction business and he became interested in construction at a very young age. His entrepreneurial spirit was evident from the time he graduated from Clemson University in 1986. After 10 years working in the field, he decided he wanted to establish his own home building business in 1996.
Earlier this year, Nieri received a 2020 Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award for his dedication to the industry and charitable efforts. Since 1999, this award has recognized home builders who demonstrate a lifetime commitment to public service. Hearthstone has contributed more than $6 million to the winning builders’ charities, making it the largest philanthropic award program in the home building industry.
In Fall 2019, under his leadership, the Nieri family became Clemson University’s fifth Academic Cornerstone Partner with a gift of $5 million to the Department of Construction Science and Management in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities (CAAH) which now bears his family’s name. This represents the college’s first named department, and is the largest gift to date to both the department and the college.
Through this significant donation, the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management will also receive funding for: Experiential learning projects at the CSM Construction Yard at Ravenel with a focus on residential construction; a new Residential Construction Professor of Practice faculty position; and The Nieri Family Endowment, which will provide perpetual funding for the above initiatives.
“What they’ve done for us has put us in a position to grow and do the kind of things that this department has always wanted to do,” said N. Mike Jackson, Ph.D., P.E., Department Chair and Professor, the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management.
“I attribute a great deal of my success within the construction industry to the education I received from Clemson University, and we are proud that our children have continued that tradition as Clemson graduates,” said Nieri. “Clemson’s department of construction science and management is among the strongest programs in the country and Robyn and I are excited to be a part of the great future of this department. Our hope is that this gift will allow Clemson to offer even more learning opportunities for our students, establish even more prominence for the department among our peers and prepare our students to make significant impacts as they enter the industry.”
To learn more about the GroundBreaker Awards and this year’s winners read our announcement article of June 17, 2020.