M i n d s
e Q U i p S S t U d e n t S F o r h i g h -t e c h c A r e e r S
BSUis doing something right,” says student Barrett Stoks, who has nearly completed his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology with an emphasis in construction management (CM).
Stoks is currently interning as a safety engineer with M.A. Mortenson, a national company with Minnesota roots that conducts general contracting, con- struction management, program man- agement, design-build, project devel- opment, and turnkey development. As part of Mortenson’s Energy Division, Stoks is involved with constructing wind turbines and hopes to parlay his on-the-job student experience into a full-time position by fall.
mating. The six-credit business block allows students to take accounting and business administration courses that fit their interests and career goals.
Adding to the students’ professional development, the construction man- agement emphasis offers many oppor- tunities for students to connect with the industry through field trips, inter- views, guest speakers, and attendance at national conferences.
“BSU’s approach to skills is an advan- tage, but the best way the program prepared me for the industry was by improving my ability to problem solve,” Stoks says. “It also gave me the skills to learn quickly on the job.”
Stoks is an example of the budding pro- fessionals being readied to meet indus- try’s demand for their skills through Bemidji State’s construction manage- ment emphasis area. An upturn in the need for managers in this field and the nation’s increasing emphasis on renew- able energy have created new oppor- tunities in these high-tech industrial occupations.
The program is a blend of technical, management, and business courses. The technical core offers courses such as fluid power, electronic technology, and mechanical power. Within the pro- fessional core, students grapple with such topics as human resources, project management, and quality assurance. The construction management block addresses construction technology, construction materials and practices, print reading and project documenta- tion, project bidding and estimating, and computerized construction esti-
Both problem solving and learning quickly are key for construction man- agement professionals. “our CM stu- dents have to be flexible, adapting to technologies as the industry demands,” says Timothy Brockman, technological studies assistant professor.
Small classes in the program foster strong student-to-student and student- to-faculty relationships. These rela- tionships have led to active alumni involvement in the program. “We have the good fortune of having excellent graduates who provide curriculum- design feedback directly from the field,” notes Dr. Elaine Hoffman, asso- ciate professor in the technological studies department.
Besides providing program perspec- tives, alumni also often help place stu- dents in internships and graduates in positions, demonstrating a loyalty to BSU that Stoks already values. “My greatest experience at BSU was devel- oping personal relationships with other students and professors,” he says.
Industrial technology faculty help stu- dents hone their academic expertise, build confidence in their abilities, and guide them toward jobs where they can begin building their careers. “We help them develop in their construc- tion interest and abilities and mature in their professional attitudes and abili- ties toward learning and management,” Brockman says.
To advance, skills are essential, but so is the storied work ethic exemplified by many BSU graduates.
“I can only speak for Mortenson, but I know that here, it is a good thing to say you are from Bemidji State,” Stoks says. “BSU graduates have a repu- tation of being ready to work, and that is a major point of pride for me.”
Bemidji State University