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New faculty position answers call for more construction expertise

June 01, 2011

Beavers-Ames Chair holder will prepare students to help nation face infrastructure challenges

Arizona State University is ramping up support for students pursuing careers in the construction industry by establishing a prestigious faculty position focused on teaching heavy civil construction and engineering.

An endowment for the Beavers-Ames Heavy Construction Chair has been started with a gift of $500,000 from the Beavers Charitable Trust and an additional $300,000 from the Ames family and associates.

The holder of the chair will have a leading role in developing a bachelor of science program in construction engineering, as well as strengthening the existing heavy construction emphasis in the Del E. Webb School of Construction Programs.

The programs are part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

The heavy construction industry typically includes builders of large projects such as major roads, bridges, tunnels, power transmission systems, water and waste systems, mass transit and related types of projects requiring the use of large construction machinery.

“We see a huge need for expertise in heavy construction to help the nation build new infrastructure and rebuild old infrastructure in the next two decades,” says G. Edward Gibson, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

“Our country faces large challenges in providing adequate water, power and transportation in a sustainable manner,” Gibson says. “The new chair will provide us with a faculty member who focuses on the key elements of heavy construction critical to facing these challenges.”

Establishment of Beavers-Ames Chair will enable ASU to attract more high-caliber faculty and top-tier students into the construction management and engineering programs, he says.

The Beavers Charitable Trust is a nonprofit organization formed in 1977 that uses proceeds to support education and students seeking careers in the heavy construction industry.

The new chair position is named in of honor W.F. “Bill” Ames and Wink Ames, longtime advocates for the construction industry and education in Arizona and California.

Endowed chairs are prestigious academic positions that honor and recognize scholarly excellence. An endowed chair represents an opportunity to attract an internationally acclaimed teacher and scholar who will help build an outstanding program. Proceeds from the endowment provide permanent funding to support the research and teaching activities of the distinguished faculty recruited to hold such a position.

Establishing the chair is among a series of efforts that ASU has implemented in recent years to bolster students’ preparation for careers in construction and engineering, and to recruit a diverse population of students.

For more information, visit the website of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment

G. Edward Gibson,
director, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
(480) 965-7972

Joe Kullman,
(480) 965-8122
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering