With major support from two industry partners, Cal Poly’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) and the College of Engineering have created an interdisciplinary minor that combines construction management and civil engineering, giving graduates unique hands-on experience in the heavy-civil sector of the construction industry.
Granite, one of the nation’s leading infrastructure contractors, donated $3 million to establish the Granite Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Program, designed to bridge the two departments in an effort to attract more graduates to this expanding field, according to Construction Management Department Head Al Hauck.
The Beavers Charitable Foundation added an additional $1 million to fully endow the Granite Beavers Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Chair, who will develop and teach in the program.
The program will allow construction management students to learn about heavy civil engineering fundamentals; students in civil engineering will have access to more construction management classes. Students in both disciplines will also complete a series of advanced classes designed specifically for the new minor and will be required to complete at least two internships in the heavy civil field.
“There was a significant need for a program like this, which will attract more civil engineering graduates to construction rather than to design and will introduce more construction management graduates to heavy civil projects rather than to building construction,” Hauck said. “This partnership between the CAED and the College of Engineering along with these important industry supporters represents a unique demonstration of how public-private partnerships can create exciting new Learn by Doing opportunities for Cal Poly students.”
The Granite Beavers Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Endowed Chair position will be filled by the start of the 2019–20 academic year. It will add a faculty member with academic expertise and practical experience in heavy civil construction and engineering.
Granite has always sought to impact the world and the people in it, and one way it accomplishes that is by supporting student success. “The idea behind the funds was based on some core principles,” explained Philip DeCocco, Granite’s senior vice president of human resources. “As an industry leader, we believe it is important to lead by example both on and off the job. In addition, Granite takes great pride in who we partner with, and we are proud to be associated with a well-respected program like Cal Poly’s. Last but not least, we want to ensure that students who mirror the many communities we serve across the country have an opportunity to succeed in our industry.”
The Beavers Charitable Foundation is the scholarship program of The Beavers Inc., an association of contractors, engineers and suppliers. It recognizes successful men and women in the field and supports the entry of promising young individuals into heavy engineering construction. It has been a major supporter of scholarships and student competitions at over 60 U.S. universities, including Cal Poly, and was a natural partner for Granite Construction in this latest effort.
“The trust was formed in 1977 because the leaders of the association foresaw a need for young people to choose careers in heavy construction,” explained Ron Fedrick, chair of the trust. “With the increasing volume of work and the Baby-Boomer generation retiring, that need is even more critical than it was 40 years ago.”
Dean Christine Theodoropoulos adds, “the new Granite Heavy Civil Engineering and Construction Program furthers interdisciplinary education in the CAED and prepares students for careers where collaboration across management and design is key.”