When Steve Ithurburn graduated with an industrial technology degree from CSU, Chico in 1983, he never suspected that 20 years later he’d be working at his alma mater. As a project manager for Otto Construction, based in Sacramento, he has managed the construction of three campus buildings—Yolo Hall, finished in 2003; the Wildcat Recreation Center, currently under construction; and the Northern California Natural History Museum, also under construction.
“It’s gratifying to come back to a place that helped you start your career and to help students start their careers by managing different building projects here,” says Ithurburn.
In fact, Ithurburn’s son Matt is studying kinesiology in Yolo Hall. “It’s neat that most of his classes are in a building for which I was project manager,” he says.
Ithurburn notes that the campus has the same welcoming atmosphere now as it did 20 years ago. “It’s just friendly people—from Dennis Graham [former vice president of Business and Finance] to Norma Young [contract specialist], who helps us with our certified payroll,” says Ithurburn. “It’s a great group of people. I realized that when I went to school here, and that’s why I was so happy to come back and do the projects on the campus.”
During each campus building project, Ithurburn works closely with the campus’s Facilities Planning and Facilities Management and Services (FMS) departments on various aspects of the project. Construction firms work with FMS to reach the building and campus goals for sustainable construction techniques. Yolo Hall was built with energy conservation in mind and uses a fraction of the energy of older campus buildings, and both the recreation center and the museum are working to be certified to the LEED Green Building Rating System—a certification that has been achieved with the new Student Services Center.
“There’s a sense of pride that you’re building a functional building that’s going to be used for a greater good,” says Ithurburn. “It’s icing on the cake to also know that you’re doing that with sustainable products—that it’s going to not only run efficiently for the campus but also that you’re helping the environment around you—save trees, keep water clean, and everything else that goes with green buildings.”