Longtime Partner Builds New Framework for Faculty Support

The Beavers, Inc. puts their trust in Chico State construction management students and faculty

Chico State construction management students get the opportunity to learn from impressive faculty with extensive experience building highways, bridges, tunnels, dams, locals, rapid transit, and other civil construction projects.(Jason Halley / University Photographer)

The Beavers, Inc. professional organization has a long history of honoring the leaders of today’s heavy construction industry and supporting the people who will shape its future—our students.

“Chico is among the top—if not the best—construction programs in California,” said recent alumnus Matt Hall (’16), who had six job offers before graduation and competed on the Association of Students in Construction (ASC) team in 2015 and 2016, earning first and second place finishes.

Hall’s employer Teichert Construction is one of hundreds of top companies that visit campus each year to recruit for jobs and internships. He says the hands-on experience he was able to gain was unbeatable.

“The Beavers have supported a lot of the students coming out of Chico, which is great because ultimately we want to be where they’re at one day,” said Hall, who received a Beavers Charitable Trust Heavy Construction Scholarship and is now a project engineer at Teichert.

“You go to almost any major construction company in California and you’ll meet a Chico State grad,” said Joel Arthur, chair of the Department of Construction Management. 

Arthur says the reputation of Chico State as one of the country’s leading heavy construction programs is directly linked to its track record of hiring faculty with impressive careers building highways, bridges, tunnels, dams, locals, rapid transit, and other civil construction projects. 

Before his passing in 2000, construction management professor Stuart “Bart” Bartholomew was honored with the Beavers’ highest honor, the Golden Beaver Award, for his outstanding 40-year career working on high-impact projects, such as the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and the Bakhra Dam in India.

Today, faculty like Hall’s ASC advisor Chris Souder and fellow ASC advisor Alan Bond are carrying Bartholomew’s legacy. Their extensive career experience not only prepares students to win competitions against big-name schools like Stanford University and UC Berkeley, but also to tackle problems on the job—starting on day one.

“What sets our program apart is the amount of industry experience our faculty have,” said Arthur, who adds that Chico State’s program is the second oldest in California and has more than 3,000 alumni working across the state and world. 

Matt Hall (front left) with his teammates and faculty advisor Chris Souder (back right) finished second place in the heavy civil category at the Associated Schools of Construction regional student competition in Sparks, Nevada. The four-day event drew more than 13,000 students from 46 universities. (Photo courtesy of ASC)

Matt Hall (front left) with his teammates and faculty advisor Chris Souder (back right) finished second place in the heavy civil category at the Associated Schools of Construction regional student competition in Sparks, Nevada. The four-day event drew more than 13,000 students from 46 universities. (Photo courtesy of ASC)

In 2015–16, The Beavers established a faculty endowment to ensure CM students continue to have access to professors with extensive heavy construction industry experience.

“You can get a lot more mileage when you have an enthusiastic person in front the class. You reach the whole class of students, rather than one person who receives a scholarship,” said David Woods, executive director of Beavers, Inc. and The Beavers Charitable Trust, which has awarded more than $10 million in grants since 1977, establishing 44 endowed scholarships and nine endowed teaching positions at top schools around the country.

Woods added that The Beavers’ faculty endowments inspire broader support by matching funds from at least one of its members or the University’s supporters, such as the Construction Management Industry Advisory Council.

“There’s a lot more benefit for the student if their faculty has come from the field—they know what it’s like to be in the entry role, the management role, and up,” said Hall, who says at least 80 percent of Teichert’s area managers—the position he’s aspires to be—are fellow Wildcats.

“It’s pretty cool because we talk about the faculty, they had same classes, learned the same stuff,” said Hall, who says he and his Wildcat coworkers are examples of how investing in students produces better workers. “The industry is booming and I would recommend Chico to anyone.” 

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