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Defining Excellence


FROM THE DEPARTMENT HEAD DEFINING EXCELLENCE Persistent, Committed, Passionate, and Driven! This is what comes to mind when I talk about my CM team at CSU. Striving for excellence is what has defined our team culture. It is this team’s character that will keep our program moving forward in leading construction education.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Department Head.................2 Department News..............................3-13 Industry Partnerships....................... 14-16 Faculty and Staff............................... 17-18 From the Dean....................................... 19


In my department head application letter dated June 12, 2007, I wrote “I believe the strongest leadership is that which promotes a sense of community. In my opinion, the key to being a successful department head is to create an environment of teamwork where people volunteer their personal and professional expertise to support the mission of their college and university. To that end, my leadership style is to focus on people and to build a sense of team that supports initiative and leadership. I believe that real success in our profession and in life is measured by the impact we make on our society and the people with whom we work.” This statement continues to guide my activities, decisions, and my relationship with my CM team. During the last ten years, we built a program of excellence at CSU, a program that is recognized by CSU administration, our industry, and construction education. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the department, each other, and construction education. Because of our collective team of faculty, staff, students, and our industry partners, this past year has been filled with so many achievements. I want to highlight a few: •

Several of our faculty and staff were recognized at CSU and at the national level for their performance and dedication to construction education.

Outstanding performance by our student competition teams


Our undergraduate placement salary is ranked second only to Computer Science at CSU with average salary of $60,410 compared to university average of $46,786 according to CSU’s 2015-2016 First Destination Results

Managing Editor: Dan Ricci

The Heavy Civil endowment is fully funded at $3 million.

Photography: John Eisele and Department of Construction Management Staff

An outstanding performance by our CM Cares teams completing three projects for two families and making a difference in our community.

Writing: Dan Ricci or as noted

CM Cares endowment is at $475,000 of the $1 million goal.

Project Coordination, Design, and Production: Dan Ricci, Department of Construction Management, and Communications and Creative Services, Colorado State University

Our industry recognized our “Super Bowl” winning team last fall with dinner celebration and the Super Bowl trophy.

The CM Newsletter is published by the Department of Construction Management, College of Health and Human Sciences, Colorado State University.

Send letters, comments, and address changes to: Dan Ricci Department of Construction Management Colorado State University 1584 Campus Delivery Fort Collins, CO 80523-1584

This is an outstanding record for an exceptional team of faculty, staff, students, and industry partners. Let us affirm and recognize our responsibilities as leaders in construction management education. Let us continue to step outside our comfort zone to support our vision of building a program of excellence at CSU. Let us continue to be: Persistent, Committed, Passionate, and Driven. I am honored and proud to be a member of an exceptional team.

Phone: (970) 491-0435 Fax: (970) 491-2473 Email:

2 | CSU Construction Management Fall 2017 2016

Mostafa Khattab, Head, Department of Construction Management


Advancing the knowledge and practice of construction management for the betterment of society through teaching, applied research, and service to local, national, and global communities.

Average Base Salary of Graduating Seniors $63,000 $62,000 $61,000

Accredited by the American Council for Construction Education

$60,000 $59,000 $58,000 $57,000 $56,000 $55,000 $54,000


Fall 2014

Spring 2015


Fall 2015

Spring 2016

Fall 2016

Spring 2017







CSU CSUConstruction ConstructionManagement Management Fall Fall2017 2017 | 3



LOADING LEGO BRICKS INTO A SMALL CARDBOARD BOX AND WRITING OUT SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING MAC AND CHEESE WERE PART OF A GROUNDBREAKING CAMP AT CSU THAT HELPED HIGH SCHOOL FEMALES PICTURE THEMSELVES IN THE CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY. The inaugural Women in Construction Management Summer Institute, held June 7-10, gave several successful alumnae of CSU’s construction management program a chance to interact with the young women and share their experiences in a maledominated field. “When I was in high school, I didn’t know what all the options were,” says CM alumna Lindsey Blatz, a senior project manager for Webcor Builders in California. “When I tell people I’m in construction management, they inspect my fingernails to see if they’re dirty.”

Participants and instructors pose for a photo on the CSU Oval

What is construction

LEGO bridge

Sixteen students participated in the Institute, including students from CSU’s Alliance Partnership high schools, a geometry/construction program at Loveland High School, and Colorado Springs and Denver Public Schools. They learned stereotypes about the construction industry are not always accurate.

Activities included building a scale model of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge using LEGO bricks — with a couple of twists. Before assembling it, the students had to put together a materials list. Then they created a delivery schedule in which shipments arrived via small cardboard “barges” — hopefully at the exact time they were needed, since their single “storage barge” could only hold so much material before it got too heavy and “sank.”

“Construction is not just swinging a hammer or holding a sign by the side of the highway,” explains Kayla Boos, the department’s former student recruitment coordinator and academic adviser. “It’s organization, leadership, and people skills, too. You have to be smart and work hard in this field.”

“It was about execution,” Boos says. “In construction management, we get the drawings for what we’re building, but we have to figure out the ‘how.’”

For more about the Women in Construction Institute, visit 4 | CSU Construction Management Fall 2017

DEPARTMENT NEWS Concluding events On the final night, participants had dinner at Corbett Hall with about a dozen female professionals in the industry, primarily CSU alumnae. The next day, the institute concluded with a visit to Habitat for Humanity’s Avondale Cottages in south Fort Collins, a project that the participants had studied via construction drawings throughout the camp. There they got hands-on work doing some touch-up painting and radon mitigation. “It was a good example of how construction can make a really positive impact on people’s lives,” Boos says.

Using a miter saw to cut a board for the coat hanger project

Similarly, the participants had to make a step-by-step guide for making mac and cheese, then reduce the time allotted from 35 minutes to 25 minutes — by having some steps occur while waiting for the water to boil. “It’s all about figuring out which steps are critical, and which steps have some wiggle room,” Boos says. “You do this every day in your own life, too — you start your laundry and then go to the grocery store.” “If one of the projects I run is a day late, it could cost $20,000,” Blatz explains. “My job is to complete a high-quality job, on budget and on time.” 3-D previewing During a digital modeling session, the participants got to use “mixed-reality” goggles that provide a visual rendering of a construction project in three dimensions. They let users inspect the final product in advance from any angle or distance and ferret out possible problems, such as areas of a structure where space is too tight. “It’s hard to see those things in 2-D, but in 3-D, you can identify and make changes before you start construction,” Boos says, adding that the students also learned how to use free SketchUp software. “One student virtually turned her garage into an aquarium and put a killer whale in it.”

CM Instructor Mike O’Reilly explained why a woman’s high heel carries more load per square inch than Godzilla’s foot. Other activites included visiting the Ginger and Baker redevelopment at the old Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building in Fort Collins, attending a sustainability session with alumnae and industry professionals Amy Powell and Ara Massey, as well as pouring and wiring their very own working concrete lamps. “It was great to watch them flip the switch, see the light turn on and say, ‘I did it!’” Boos says. “That was really empowering. And seeing them show off their lamps to their families at the end was so cool.”

This spring, about 96 percent of graduating students in the CM Department had job offers (2.5 on average) before commencement, and the average starting salary was $62,000 a year. “Our graduates, especially women, are highly sought-after in the industry,” Boos says. “We wanted to show these young women that they belong here. The institute was a tremendous success, and we are excited to do this for many years to come.” The feedback from the attendees was extremely positive and validated the goals Boos and Fontana set for the Institute. “This has opened my eyes... to this field,” said one young woman. Another, when asked if she would recommend the program to others responded with an emphatic, “Heck yes! I would love to be a part of the program in any way next year. I loved everything about it.”

Preparing take-off estimates

CSU Construction Management Fall 2017 | 5



ENDOWMENTS SUPPORT THE CM PROGRAM’S COMMITMENT TO DEVELOP FUTURE LEADERS OF THE HEAVY CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. Fifteen years ago, the Department of Construction Management began developing a heavy construction focus into its program. The goal was to increase student exposure to career possibilities in horizontal construction and prepare students to succeed in the field. Heavy Construction initiatives In partnership from several industry companies and organizations, the Department undertook the heavy construction initiative using a multipronged approach. In 2003, the Heavy Construction Management University Professorship Endowment was created

Heavy Civil competition team visiting the Big Thompson Canyon road project

to support a faculty chair position. The goal was to raise $3 million to permanently fund the chair and provide a champion who could inspire and lead students to choose heavy CM as a career choice. The new faculty chair would enhance students’ understanding of heavy construction and its impact on the future of our state, region, and nation. Around the same time, the department began raising funds to establish an asphalt laboratory in the Industrial Science Lab building. The Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association (CAPA) agreed to be the lead funder and outfit

the laboratory. The CAPA Asphalt Laboratory opened in November 2006. That same year two heavy construction related elective courses were offered for the first time: CON270 Introduction to Road Construction and CON370 Asphalt Pavement Materials and Construction. These courses continue to be offered each year. In 2007, the endowment campaign was divided into two phases. Phase I would be met when the endowment reached $1.5 million and would allow the hiring of the endowed faculty chair on an interim basis. Phase II would be achieved at the $3 million goal and would permanently fund the chair. In 2011, the endowment reached the Phase I goal and a parttime interim endowed faculty chair was hired to teach the CON366 Equipment & Methods course. The development of the Soils Lab was another critical component of the department’s heavy civil initiative. The soils lab provides hands-on heavy construction exposure and prepares students to estimate and plan work activities relating to soil composition, material testing, and aggregate uses. Kiewit Companies, home to numerous CM Alumni, generously named the laboratory in 2011.

Kiewit Soils Laboratory

6 | CSU Construction Management Fall 2017

Will White (’98), Kiewit Central District Sponsor at the time, praised the department’s commitment to heavy


construction. “With post-secondary education focused primarily on vertical construction, we are pleased the program’s leadership presented an opportunity for us as industry representatives to help horizontal construction come alive to the students and enhance their understanding of ‘anchor bolt down’ construction terms, resources, and processes,” said White. The laboratory was open for use in fall 2011, and in conjunction with the CAPA Asphalt Laboratory, created a dynamic learning environment for students and faculty. Additional building blocks While the endowed chair and the laboratories formed the fundamental building blocks to elevate heavy construction, they were only part of the overall plan. In order to fuel and maintain student interest, it was essential to create scholarships to support students and provide the opportunity to participate in student heavy civil competitions. In 2008, The Beavers endowed a heavy construction scholarship. A few years later, a recipient of the Beavers Scholarship established a new Heavy Civil Alumni Scholarship. This alumni scholarship is funded by a number of CM alumni who pursued heavy construction careers and want to support current students who are interested in pursuing a similar path. The creation of this

CAPA Asphalt Laboratory

alumni scholarship is a pride point, as it exemplifies the CM department’s commitment to giving back. CAPA also started providing an annual scholarship in 2013 to students interested in asphalt technology and/or road construction industry. Today the heavy civil competition team is a regular contender at the annual ASC competition. In 2016, the $3 million endowment goal was met with the addition of the Patterson Family and Beavers Charitable Trust Heavy Construction Initiative Endowment. The purpose of this endowment was to provide support for heavy construction education including the endowed faculty chair, service/outreach programs of the heavy construction initiative, and support the heavy civil competition teams. Roy Patterson, president of Patterson Family Group explains, “Heavy construction is important to the future well-being of the United States, and we want to support those building the next generation of leaders in the industry.” Heavy Construction Management Endowed Chair

Heavy Civil Endowed Chair Jeff Wilkes

Jeff Wilkes has served as the Heavy Construction Management Endowed Faculty Chair since 2014 and he teaches heavy construction related courses including Construction Equipment & Methods, Soils Engineering for Construction Managers, and Introduction

to Road Construction. Since graduating from Texas A&M in 2000, Wilkes has worked for several top-ranked construction companies focusing on heavy civil projects. He was involved in numerous highway and earthwork projects involving work ranging from bridges and tunnels in Texas to levee improvements in New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. “I began working in construction in college during my internships at an engineering firm. I enjoyed the handson construction side of the industry, so that’s why I pursued a construction career path rather than a design path. Teaching full-time at the University (CSU) allows me to combine my years of experience with my desire to work with students.” In fall 2015, Wilkes piloted a new course, CON 280 - Introduction to Heavy Civil. The class was designed to build on CON 270, Introduction to Road Construction, by exposing students to a wider scope of projects such as airports and dams. While the feedback was positive, Wilkes is considering tightening the focus to a single project so that students have to work through all of the steps in depth. “I would like to make it a project-focused class, similar to a competition.”

(Continued on page 8) CSU Construction Management Fall 2017 | 7


Heavy Civil (Continued from page 7) This fall Wilkes is the faculty liaison for the first heavy construction boot camp course, Horizontal Construction. This boot camp course was taught by BT Construction and was designed to introduce students to the various types of underground utilities and the means and methods of horizontal construction. The boot camp course also covers trenchless construction, environmental and social impacts of utility construction, safety concerns, and common issues associated with utility installations. In addition to teaching classes, Wilkes has been reaching out to students to ensure they understand the opportunities offered in the heavy construction sector. He works

closely with the Colorado Contractors Association student club to bring guest speakers to the department. These speaker sessions provide insight into the projects, the climate of the industry, and offer perspectives from the field. Wilkes also presents on heavy construction to CON 101 Introduction to Construction Management so students receive immediate exposure to the field. Students have been taking note. “We are definitely seeing more interest and a growing cohesion among students pursuing the field. I have noticed a lot of the students interested in Heavy Civil careers taking classes together so they can support each other and that is very exciting to me,� said Wilkes.

Ultimate goal The ultimate goal of the department is to create a recognized Heavy Construction focus or specialization so Construction Management students can pursue this field as part of their degree. By creating this focus, the department would provide interested students a clear academic path for their career goals. It would also help heavy construction focused employers identify graduates with the academic background most closely aligned with their employment needs. With the building blocks in place, the Department of Construction Management is positioned to reach new heights as it continues its pursuit of excellence.

Thank you for your support of the Heavy Construction Management University Professorship Endowment - $1.5M A & S Construction A-1 Chipseal Co. Albert Frei & Sons, Inc. APC Southern Construction Co., LLC Asphalt Recycling and Stabilization, Inc. Berry Foundation Black Gold Asphalt, Co. Brannan Sand & Gravel Company Chemical Lime Company Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association Colorado Contractors Association, Inc. Colorado Contractors Association, Inc. Concrete Express, Inc. Connell Resources, Inc. Coulson Excavating Co., Inc. CTL Thompson Incorporated Fiore & Sons, Inc. First Data Corporation Flatiron Construction Corporation Ground Engineering Consultants Guy F. Atkinson Construction, LLC HollyFrontier Corporation Honnen Equipment Co. Idaho Asphalt Supply, Inc. J. A. Cesare and Associates, Inc. K. R. Swerdfeger Construction, Inc.

Kiewit Infrastructure Co. L G Everist, Inc. Lafarge North America M. A. Mortenson Company Mr. Benjamin P. Minger Mr. Brian W. Moinet Mr. Bryan S. Kucinski Mr. David R. Brown, III Mr. Gerald W. Zander Mr. James C. Abbott Mr. James F. Enssle Mr. Jeffrey W. Keller Mr. Joseph G. Harrel Mr. Melvin C. Reichwein, II Mr. Michael M. Kelly Mr. Michael R. Writz Mr. Paul Y. Iwata Mr. Richard B. Connell Mr. Stephen A. Weinstein Mr. William J. Keller Mr. William J. White Mrs. Carol N. Iwata Mrs. Jennifer J. Kelly Mrs. Lori A. Moinet Mrs. Peggy A. Brown Mrs. Stephanie D. Kucinski

Mrs. Tina M. Enssle Mrs. Wendy C. Abbott New West Paving, Inc. Portland Cement Association Power Equipment Company Premier Paving Inc. R. E. Monks Concrete, LLC Ready Mixed Concrete Company Rocky Mountain Asphalt Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference Rocky Mountain Cement Council Rocky Mountain Materials & Asphalt, Inc. Schmidt Construction, Inc. Sterling Ranch, LLC Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Pipeline Company Sunset Management Services, Inc. The James & Tina Enssle Trust Tierdael Construction Company, Inc. Transwest Trucks, Inc. United Companies Wagner Equipment Company Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Western Fleet Fueling Services, LLC

Thank you for your support of the Patterson Family and Beavers Charitable Trust Heavy Construction Initiative Endowment - $1.5M Patterson Family Foundation Beavers Charitable Trust

8 | CSU Construction Management Fall 2017

APC Construction Co., LLC Kiewit Corporation

Mr. Gordon and Joan Marks Mr. Henry E. Adams



Lindsey Blatz

“WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT ALL THE OPTIONS WERE,” SAYS CM ALUMNA LINDSEY BLATZ, A SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER FOR WEBCOR BUILDERS IN CALIFORNIA. Blatz, who graduated from CSU in 2006, nearly chose to attend another university to play golf competitively, but was inspired to pursue construction management after her father acquired a subcontracting company in Colorado Springs. “I liked the idea of doing something that I could actually see happen — it wasn’t phantom numbers on a computer screen,” she says. “You could see the physical progress. ” Time as a student Blatz’s internships and participation on the ASC Civil competition team provided her most memorable moments at CSU. “I had a great opportunity to learn more about real-life experiences.” While invaluable academically and professionally, they also were the building blocks of the camaraderie and relationships that were the highlight of Blatz’s college career.

Blatz encourages students to get out of their comfort zones. At graduation she had a job offer from a Colorado company that she interned with, but decided to accept an offer from Webcor Builders in San Francisco. “I was scared to move to a new city on my own, but knew that I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the skyline of a big city. I told myself that if I didn’t like it I could always pack up my car and move back home. People have the biggest regrets about the opportunities they turned down, rather than regretting an opportunity they took.” Reflecting on her time in the industry, Blatz noted that the construction field is stressful, but extremely rewarding. “When I look back on the most difficult times on my projects, those also end up being my proudest moments.” Returning to campus Over the summer she returned to CSU to help with the department’s inaugural Women in Construction Institute, which brought a group of female high-school students to campus to learn about

construction management. “They don’t know exactly what the industry is yet, but they might know they want to do something that’s life-changing and skyline-changing,” Blatz says of the high school students. “It’s not a very well-publicized industry to get into, so when we see young people who are interested and are going into construction, I get excited because these are going to be my future coworkers that I’m going to be able to mentor — and then eventually work alongside.” Blatz’s advice to young women interested in a construction management career, “Don’t take no for an answer. Trust your gut, and work toward the things you believe in. Be confident, and people will realize you are smart. Once people realize you know what you’re talking about, the gender bias goes out the window.” Asked about her experience as a woman in a male-dominated industry, Blatz said she never felt different, “The students and teachers in the program were all a tight-knit group. Whether it’s people in the CM program or the construction industry, once they realize you are smart and know what you’re talking about, they don’t care who or what gender you are as long as you’re good to work with.” Top Young Professional Blatz was recently named one of California’s 20 “Top Young Professionals” by Engineering News Record. She credits CM faculty, the program’s connections with industry, her internships and, ultimately, the sense of community in the department as the foundation that launched her career. “I think the program and the professors really get you prepared for taking the next steps when you graduate,” she said. “They are a group of people that I lean on for advice, even 10 years out of school.”

CSU Construction Management Fall 2017 | 9



Dawoud family


Salem family

Salem Family Project

Dawoud Family Project

The Salems are a family of 11. Six of the children are adopted and have special needs. The Salem’s applied to CM Cares hoping to get their unsound deck rebuilt, allowing safer use by the family.

The Dawoud Family Project involved home modifications for a family with an autistic son, Levi. Levi is a precocious 8 year old with a knack for taking things apart. While this skill is appreciated in the construction industry, it can be dangerous for a child, as student leader Zane Weist noted.

After visiting with the Salem family, the CM Cares team offered to remodel their bathroom as well, providing the family a larger bathroom to help with mobility and access issues. As a result of the increased scope, the Salem Family project was divided into an interior project and an exterior project.

The goal of the team was to make the Dawoud home a safe environment for Levi and his family. They installed tamperproof door knobs, electrical outlets, switches, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. They also replaced 1000 square feet of flooring. As is commonly the case, the scope of the project grew to encompass other upgrades when it was discovered that some of the plumbing and electric was not up to code.

The interior project involved joining two separate bathrooms into a single unit. The exterior project included removing and rebuilding the deck, along with completing some unfinished siding work where the garage had been converted in to additional living space.

The team admitted that the start of the project was difficult. They lacked a good system of communication and were not familiar with the techniques required to tackle some of the work. Realizing this, they took time to regroup and discuss their processes. Things proceeded more smoothly after that, and everyone was happy with the outcome. Marci, Levi’s mother, expressed their gratitude to the team and CM Cares for the work that was done.

While one goal of the CM Cares program is to help families along the Front Range, it is also designed to instill key leadership skills in students that they can draw upon throughout their careers and life. Describing the experience, student team leader Grant Frevert noted how the generosity and humility of the Salems had affected the student team. “We loved being there, being around their family,” he said. The other students expressed similar sentiments. “It’s pretty amazing to go through this,” said Jenna Richards.

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Impact on students and families


Following the students’ project presentation, Anthony Salem read a poem he wrote as a way to articulate his feeling about CM Cares. Titled, Before You Came, it told the before and after story of the project. “People just showed up and helped and gave and it meant so much to us,” he said.

challenges he faced when trying to start CM Cares. Now seven years and 22 projects later, CM Cares continues to grow in importance and impact. Khattab also thanked the families. “We are honored that you allowed us to serve your family and provided our students the oppertunity to learn.”

We are honored

Numerous students, volunteers, and donors contributed to the success of the projects. CM Cares shows how people coming together can make a difference in the lives of others.

Department Head Mostafa Khattab noted the questions and

Department head Mostafa Khattab and Anthoney Salem talk at the CM Cares presentation

Dawoud Family Project leaders and volunteers take a photo break

Jared Hoeflich, of Swinerton Builders, and Salem Interior Project student leader Jenna Richards discuss the day’s work

Salem Family Project team and volunteers on the new deck

CSU Construction Management Fall 2017 | 11



ASC teams and coaches pose for group photo

CM student competition teams continued their run of excellence during the 2016-2017 academic year. The season started with a first place finish at the Associated Builders and Contractors competition in November. The National Association of Home Builders competition team followed with a strong finish at their event in early January, placing 10th out of 35 teams. The National Roofing Contractors Association team advanced to the second round of the competition held in early March. CSU’s Mechanical Contractors Association of America team was again chosen as a final four competitor out of the 24 teams at the competition. CSU’s strongest event was the Associated Schools of Construction competition. In February, the department sent over 60 students and faculty-advisors representing 7 teams: Commercial, Design-Build, Heavy Civil, Mechanical, Preconstruction, Sustainability, and Virtual Design and Construction, to the event in Sparks, Nevada. The competition brings together over 1300 students, representing 45 universities, to showcase their knowledge, creativity, and presentation skills. The CSU Design-Build, Mechanical, Preconstruction, and Sustainability teams all finished first in their respective categories, a level of excellence unmatched by any other school. Additionally, Karina Smith, of the Mechanical team, was recognized for her outstanding individual performance. Ben Egan and Rupal Vaidya, participating in the Alternates competition, helped their teams to first and third place finishes as well. As intense as the events are, the preparation required is just as demanding. Faculty-Advisor Mohammed Mehany, talking about the ASC Design-Build team, said, “They worked day and night, sometimes from 7a.m. to 11 p.m.! They were eager to learn and improve. They had great work ethic, teamwork, and leadership. I am so proud of what they accomplished!” All of the teams demonstrated a similar level of commitment, spending long hours studying past problem statements and familiarizing themselves with different scenarios and questions they might face during their event. They also immersed themselves in the tools and software needed to create their proposals. Teams have already started preparing for the 2017-2018 competition season, which kicks off in November with the Construction Financial Management (CFMA) and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) competitions. Following these are the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) competitions in January, the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) competitions in February, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) competition in March. The CFMA is a new event for the CM department. The department will send eight teams to the ASC competition: Commercial, Design-Build, Electrical, Heavy Civil, Mechanical, Preconstruction, Sustainability, and Virtual Design and Construction. 12 | CSU Construction Management Fall 2017




First Place

Fourth Place



10th Place


Design Build - First Place

Mechanical - First Place

Preconstruction - First Place

Sustainability - First Place


Heavy Civil



A MESSAGE FROM THE PADB CHAIR As I reflect on three years as chairman for the Professional Advisory and Development Board (PADB), and as a CSU Alumnus, I am truly proud to be engaged with such an amazing organization. The CSU Department of Construction Management continues to provide an exceptional education to the students who choose the program. This is evidenced by the 2.5 job offers per student and average starting salary of $62,000. These graduates are leaving CSU with a professional degree and are highly sought after by the industry. It is the never-ending pursuit of improvement which keeps the CM program at the cutting edge and allows the program to sustain its excellence. The CM department excels thanks to the hard working faculty, staff, and administration. The engagement of the students and industry blend with the exceptional education arena to

set the stage for this unique learning experience. Have you ever asked, “How can I make a difference?” Here are some possible answers:

• As a faculty or staff member •

• •

continue to push the educational learning experience for the students. As an alumni - Recall how your CSU education has helped you to get where you are - and give back accordingly. As a student - get involved and participate in the program events and organizations. As an industry professional - give your time and monetary support to the students, department, and participate with the PADB.

Don’t sit around and expect others to make the program great - get involved and help make a difference.

Rick Tucker

Maintaining the status quo will allow other universities to catch and match the experience currently provided at CSU CM. Sustaining excellence will only be achieved by pushing the limits of the student learning experience, allowing CSU CM to stay at the front of the pack GO RAMS!

FRIEND OF THE DEPARTMENT: DAVE WOODS Dave Woods received the Friend of the Department award at the 2016 CM Scholarship and Awards Banquet. Woods is the executive director of the Beavers, an association whose purpose is to promote the heavy engineering construction industry. He also oversees The Beavers Charitable Trust, which delivers grants and scholarships to schools and universities to assist students entering the heavy construction industry. Woods has spent many years promoting the heavy civil construction industry. Prior to the Beavers, which he has led for almost 20 years, he published a heavy construction magazine. In these roles he has visited hundreds of job sites and dozens of schools. “I have a great respect for the people involved in construction. I am amazed at some of the creative approaches and novel 14 | CSU Construction Management Fall 2017

techniques contractors use to build difficult projects.” As Department Head Mostafa Khattab began laying the groundwork for a stronger heavy civil focus in the Department of Construction Management, Woods was a natural partner. Woods was impressed by the department’s commitment to the heavy civil industry and students, and became a strong and tireless supporter of the department. The award was the departmnet’s way to publicly thank Woods for his support. “Dave Woods supported the heavy construction emphasis in our program by supporting the Patterson Family and Beavers Charitable Trust Heavy Construction Initiative. As executive director of Beavers Charitable Trust, he was instrumental in securing

Dave Woods accepts the Friend of the Department Award at the 2016 CM Scholarship and Awards Banquet

funds to establish the Beavers Heavy Construction Scholarship to support students interested in heavy civil and also the CM Cares Endowment that directly impacts our community and provides the opportunity to our students to develop their leadership skills.”


INOVATIVE EDUCATION: CM BOOT CAMPS Construction management education is, by its nature, deeply connected to the construction industry. However, due to rapidly changing technology and its associated costs, it is a challenge for programs to stay “ahead of the curve” in a traditional model of higher education. As a result, CM programs’ curriculum tend to focus on building strong construction management foundations. This challenge has created an opportunity to introduce an educational model that, while continuing to offer this foundation, better meets the needs of a changing marketplace. With its strong connection to industry, the CSU Department of Construction Management is leading the way in developing new approaches to construction management in higher education. One of the innovative teaching approaches the CM program has utilized over the last several years is boot camps. The boot camp format is an intensive four- to six- week learning session where students are immersed in the latest industry technologies and methods. The format allows great flexibility in terms of topics covered and course material used, and makes them an important supplement to existing coursework. The group study courses are taught by industry members and focus on identifying and understanding current practices and applications used by industry. Topics covered have included estimating, scheduling, BIM, and change impact and construction claims management. Industry support and involvement as course instructors has included individuals from GE Johnson, Hensel Phelps, Mortenson, Trautman & Shreve, Trimble, and US Engineering. The boot camp model has proven to be a win-win situation for industry and students. For industry, it has changed the mindset from one of “donor” to one of “partner” and created a responsive

venue in which to directly participate in student curriculum and training. For students, it is imperative that they be able to hit the ground running with current technologies when they graduate. In the boot camps they learn current practices directly from those in the field who do the work every day. This knowledge gives them a distinct edge up in their careers. This innovative partnership with industry is a key aspect of the department’s vison of becoming the top construction management program in the nation. Additional, it also addresses the department’s mission of advancing construction management education. In 2015 the Department of Construction Management received the Construction Education Challenge Award from the Associated General Contractors of Colorado in recognition of this innovative approach. Chris Boal of Mortenson Construction has served as an industry instructor for several BIM boot camps over the last five years. “During the BIM boot camp, students get an introduction to advanced BIM/ VDC software,” said Boal. “With these tools the students are asked to produce and visualize work such as site utilization plans, concrete placement drawings, virtual mock-ups, 3D MEP/FP system coordination, and to understand how BIM/ VDC affect craft workers in the field. These skillsets are at the forefront of the construction industry today and will give them a leg up on the competition as they prepare to enter the workforce.” Mortenson recently received a Bluebeam eXtreme Award

for ‘Best Academic Partnership’ with CSU for its work with the BIM boot camps. This year the department offered a boot camp on change impact and construction claims management. Jim Zack, a recognized expert in mitigation, analysis and resolution, and defense of construction disputes, taught the course. For Zach the class is an opportunity to give back to the industry he has been involved with for the last 45 years. “I have presented classes like this in 28 countries, but never to a group of university students.” As Mehmet Ozbek, faculty liaison for the camp, points out, “Even the bestdesigned and well-planned project may encounter issues and events that lead to changes and claims. Construction managers must learn how to identify issues and bring them to management’s attention as early as possible attention.”

Mortenson’s Bluebeam eXtreme Award for Best Academic Partnership for its work with CSU

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CM ALUMNUS TREY NOBLES SHAPES COMMUNITIES Reflections “This is a difficult industry, but also very rewarding. You develop strong bonds with co-workers with whom you face daily challenges,” said Nobles. “You have to love competition and problem-solving, come in early and leave late, and raise your hand and ask for more.” Reflecting on how the industry has changed over his career and where he sees it going in the years ahead, Nobles commented on how construction is a strange mix of tradition and innovation. Many materials and installation techniques remain fairly constant. The, “sticks and bricks,” as Nobles called it.

Trey Nobles

Trey Nobles spent a lot of time at CSU before he ever became a student. Nobles grew up in Fort Collins and his mother worked in the business office at the Lory Student Center. When he graduated from high school, CSU was the obvious choice for college. What to study was not so obvious. His father wanted him to study dentistry so he signed up for biology and chemistry classes. The curriculum didn’t excite him. Looking for a direction Feeling a little lost, Nobles reached out to the CSU Career Center for advice. After discussing his interests and taking a few aptitude tests, the center suggested a few programs that might fit him better. The one that stood out was Industrial-Construction Management, the 16 | CSU Construction Management Fall 2017

But alongside this, there has been an incredible growth in virtual and technology-based tools, especially in the design and planning phases. Safety has also become a primary concern and this is something that Nobles is very proud to see. Going forward, he sees industry utilizing more prefab and controlledenvironment production to improve safety, efficiency, and quality control.

precursor to today’s CM Program. Shaping communities Nobles still recalls the sense of comfort with his decision when he walked into Guggenheim Hall for the first time. “I had found the right spot for me,” he said. “I remember spending the better part of a week talking about sand paper in one of my classes and realizing how much there was to learn! I was really wowed by that.” Nobles’ grandfather ran a small residential construction company and, early in his academic career, Nobles assumed that he would do the same. However, even though the department at the time had a strong residential focus, it was beginning to incorporate a more commercial focus into the curriculum, and commercial construction was the area where he has focused his career.

Despite the stresses associated with the commercial industry, the ability to shape communities in a positive and lasting way continues to hold Nobles’ interest. His first project after graduation was working on the Denver International Airport. Since then, he has built everything from performing arts centers, to schools, to hospitals. “I am very proud to have had that opportunity.” As Nobles has moved into senior leadership roles, mentoring less experienced colleagues has become his focus. “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping people grow in their careers and become leaders. That drives me today.”


NEW FACULTY SAFETY INSTRUCTOR Chad Olivier joins the department as the instructor for CON 317 Safety Management. Olivier spent nearly 28 years with PCL Construction, in various capacities, before retiring in 2016. He helped manage many prominent projects in both Colorado and Southern California, most notably the STAPLES Center sports arena, the Viceroy Resort at Snowmass, the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Denver, and Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. Olivier is a 1988 graduate of the CM program, and the invitation to return to CSU in a teaching capacity is a dream fulfilled. He serves on a several leadership boards and is finishing a master’s degree in leadership this year. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 23 years, Karen, and his three teenage children. Olivier also enjoys golfing, fly fishing, hunting, and dirt bike/ATV riding. He has been a passionate Ram fan for over 30 years and looks forward to the days ahead. Chad Olivier

NEW STAFF ACADEMIC SUCCESS COORDINATOR Molly Weisshaar joins CM as the academic success coordinator for the advising office. She received both her Master of Science in counseling psychology and Bachelor of Science in Psychology here at CSU. She brings with her an enthusiasm for CSU and for working with students to develop their personal and professional identity. She has seven years of combined experience facilitating goal attainment for individuals across the lifespan, advising, counseling, neuropsychological assessment, and research. She strongly believes that true growth and transformation happens when students are given the support and scaffolding to develop their whole self and cultivate skills that will serve them both inside and outside the classroom. Weisshaar encourages students to treat all of their experiences at CSU as learning opportunities, not just the academic experiences. In the past, Weisshaar has worked as a therapist and psychometrician, taught undergraduate courses, and recruited students to CSU. In advising appointments, she encourages students to discuss “real life” challenges, goals, and accomplishments that impact their experiences at CSU in addition to discussing academic planning. In her free time, Weisshaar enjoys hiking, cooking, traveling, and training her new puppy. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband, Taylor, and their animals – Zephyr the border collie, Rhea the calico, and an aquarium of freshwater fish.

Molly Weisshaar

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2016 CHHS Superior Staff Service Award Anna Fontana

2016 Faculty of the Year Brent Sigmon

2017 MCAA Educators of the Year Dennis Pettitt and Mostafa Khattab

2017 ASC Best Paper Award Jon Elliott, Manikandan Natesan, and Svetlana Olbina

CELEBRATING SERVICE MILESTONES In recognition of the following faculty and staff for their dedicated service to Colorado State University:


Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez Assistant Professor

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Jon Elliott Assistant Professor


Anna Fontana Internship and Outreach Coordinator


Loren Funk Assistant Professor


Mostafa Khattab Department Head



Jeff McCubbin Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences Jeff McCubbin

For those who have been around the CSU campus this past year, we have seen first-hand the successes of a building boom. There is no doubt, that our CM program graduates have helped shape the future of CSU with their collective impact through the work in the design and construction aspects of the campus renovation. Two CM alumni currently with Adolfson and Peterson, Doug Johnson (`95), vice president, and Zella Goettsch (`05), project manager, provided oversight of the new CSU Health and Medical Center and truly demonstrated what the pride of CSU and CM is all about (see This new structure is now serving the health and medical needs of students, faculty/staff and the nearby Fort Collins community. In addition, the building will house two important programs from the College of Health and Human Sciences. We also had numerous CM alumni in important roles with the construction of the new on-campus football stadium complex and other building projects. Literally, CSU is Ram Built! Please come back to campus and visit these new and improved CSU facilities.

The College was proud to recognize Anna Fontana this past year as the recipient of the Superior Staff Service Award. Anna has been stellar in her leadership as our internship and outreach coordinator in the Phelps Placement Office. Anna, also a CM alumna, brings her pride to work every day to enhance our students’ educational experiences. Our student competition teams proudly represented CM and CSU with an enormously successful year by capturing multiple top national and regional awards from the various industry competitions. These opportunities for students to participate at this level can only occur with great industry partners, top quality faculty, and leadership with a commitment to excellence. A tremendous thanks goes out to Doug (`76) and Loretta Patterson who made a lead gift, which was matched by the Beavers Charitable Trust, and supported by Gordon Marks (`66) and anonymous donors to create a new $1.5 million endowment for our Heavy Construction

Initiative. These monumental gifts will continue to build our capacity for this important sector of our CM program, which has been supported by numerous industry partners over the years. Thanks to all who made this new endowment happen. Lastly, this past summer, aligned with our College’s commitment to diversity, our CM department hosted the inaugural Women in Construction Management Summer Institute. This summer program created learning opportunities for 16 young women on the CSU campus and in the Fort Collins community. Led by Kayla Boos, Anna Fontana, and CSU student mentors, this program was a great success. A strong line-up of CSU alumnae came back to provide technical expertise and insights into career paths for women in the construction industry. Thanks to all the alumni, faculty, staff, and students from the Department of Construction Management who continue to represent CSU with distinction. Go Rams!

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CSU Construction Management Newsletter 2017  
CSU Construction Management Newsletter 2017