Construction reps to help lead new construction management program

CULLOWHEE – Fifteen construction industry leaders from the Southeast have been named to help provide direction and support for Western Carolina University’s new bachelor of science degree program in construction management.

The 15 industry executives make up the program’s Construction Industry Advisory Board. The group met for the first time recently in Western’s Belk Building to learn about the program, which began enrolling students this fall.

Twenty-five students are now majoring in construction management at Western, and many of those students come from families who are involved in the construction industry, said Bradford Sims, associate professor and program director. Students who earn degrees will enter a profession that is hot with job options. New graduates in the field can expect entry-level salaries in the $35,000-$45,000 range and graduate placement across the country is almost 100 percent, Sims said.

Construction management is a professional service that applies effective management techniques to the planning, design and construction of a project from beginning to end for the purpose of controlling time, cost and quality. Some typical position titles are assistant project manager, superintendent, scheduler, cost engineer, field engineer, office engineer, estimator and project engineer, Sims said.

Western’s first class of construction management majors will graduate in fall 2004. The program is expected to grow in numbers of students and faculty over the next few years, and a 4,100-square-foot room in Belk Building will be equipped for use as a construction materials and methods laboratory, Sims said.

Construction management majors are required to complete 66 semester hours in construction management and related courses, 16 hours in geology, mathematics and physics, and another 42 hours in Western’s liberal studies program. Students also will be required to complete a full summer internship in the construction industry.

Members of the program’s advisory board are Robert Anderson, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College; Jeff Cattrell, Price & Price Mechanical Inc., Arden; Oscar Esquibel, Halliburton, Sugar Land, Texas; Jerry Grant, Beverly-Grant Inc., Asheville; David Hourdequin, D. Remy & Co., Highlands; Bernie Kessell, Bunnell-Lammons Engineering Inc., Arden; Fred W. Lewis, Haynes Electric Construction Co., Asheville; Rick McCarroll, McCarroll Construction Co. Inc., Arden; Bill Newman, Taylor & Murphy Construction Co. Inc., Asheville; Lewis Penland, C. Lewis Penland Inc., Franklin; William Ted Phillips Jr., Buffalo Construction Co., Knoxville, Tenn.; Gene Presley, Hayes & Lunsford Electrical Contractors Inc., Asheville; Eugene Rash, Smith, Currie and Hancock LLP, Charlotte; W.H. Reeves, Carolina Steel Inc., Greenboro; and Otis Vaughn, APAC-Carolina Inc., Wilmington.

For more information about WCU’s construction management program, contact Bradford Sims at (828) 227-2175 or by e-mail at