Food, laughter and camaraderie filled the D3 ballroom of Weber State University’s Davis campus on Wednesday evening to pay tribute to local businesses that have donated to the Parson Construction Management Technology Program.
The CMT program started in 1996, and in 2000 the name changed to the Parson Construction Management Technology Program for the major contributions and dedication the Parson family has made through the program’s development.
“It is a real honor to be associated with the program and with the university,” said Scott W. Parson, president and CEO of Staker Parson Companies. “Our program started in 1996, and in 2006 we achieved accreditation for the first time, then renewing in 2011, and we will be up for accreditation again in 2022.”
Parson said it is important to look ahead and plan for the future. “That is the concept that has really made this program great and is a feature that makes Weber State University a great institution.”
Construction competitors that have donated to the WSU CMT program such as Jack B. Parson Companies, Big-D Construction, R&O Construction, the Wadman Corporation, James E. and Norma A. Kier from Kier Construction, Jacobsen Construction, Granite, the Timothy G. and Brenda J. Homer family, and the AGC of Utah received the honor of being placed on the donor wall in the D3 building.
WSU President Charles Wight began the evening by thanking everyone who attended, paying his tribute to the many who have made their mark not just literally on the donor wall, but on the students of WSU.
“The names on the wall will be forever associated with making students’ dreams come true, and your contributions will result in better teachers and better-educated students,” Wight said.
Parson said he was impressed with the small group of WSU faculty that reached out to the industry in 1995 to survey top industry leaders and find out what the WSU CMT program needed, to tailor to the needs of the industry and develop a program that would create future managers within the construction industry.
“My company has a number of (WSU) graduates working in very important positions and running parts of our business, and I can attest to the great education and foundation that both of our boys have received here (in the WSU CMT program),” Parson said.
He also said the program provided a great opportunity for industry competitors to come together and build a legacy that will impact the future work force of construction for many years to come.
Steven Peterson, WSU department chair and professor of the CMT program, started with WSU in 2000 and was one of the first professors to teach the senior-level courses. Having a background in architecture and an MBA in engineering, he was instrumental in developing the curriculum of the program, even writing two books based on the CMT curriculum.
Peterson said the students who come through the program are hard workers who are currently looking for a way to move from the physical side to the managerial side, and the CMT program provides them the gateway to get there.
Matt Brower graduated from the program in 2009, and is now a business development/BIM coordinator for the Wadman Corporation and a WSU adjunct professor for the CMT program. He said what makes the program great is that it is tailored to the working student.
“The thing we tip our hats on about the program is it’s a night program, so all the students that come through the program can work their normal jobs with companies in the industry,” Brower said. “They keep up their field and real-world experience, so when they graduate they are head and shoulders above everyone else. The students hit the ground running.”
Brad Mortensen, WSU vice president for University Advancement, said the program is unique in how the many industry partners, who compete with each other every day for business, can come together for the education side, because it is so important that they join forces to educate the work force.
“That’s really exciting to see that kind of partnership,” Mortensen said. “There is a real pride and camaraderie amongst the students too. During commencement, they walk down wearing their hard hats and they’re like brothers, and there is a real pride in what they have accomplished.”
The CMT program is one of the few that offers bachelor and associate degrees and minors, so it provides many different avenues for students. Almost all the classes are offered in the evening to allow students to work in the field, getting hands-on training while they further their education.
“Construction is a fast-growing field, so there are a lot of great opportunities, and one thing a lot of people don’t realize is that many of the jobs are high-paying,” Parson said. “As soon as someone comes out of school, the opportunities are great, especially for the high-performing students who come out with experience. They have the degree to back them up and give them the credentials they need.”