OGDEN, Utah – The Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) recently honored Steven Peterson, a Weber State University construction management professor, with its Outstanding Educator Award for 2010-2011. He was one of three winners honored from regions around the country at the national convention in Omaha, Neb.
The ASC is the professional association for educators who teach construction management, construction engineering or related fields. The award recognizes individuals who contribute to construction education, excel in teaching and are dedicated to the construction profession.
Peterson said it was his grandfather, a master craftsman, who taught him a love of building, something he tries to share with his students. Peterson joined WSU in 2000 when the Parson Construction Management Technology Program was in its infancy. He helped develop the curriculum and build the program from 92 students in 2000 to its current enrollment of 260 students and now serves as chair of the construction management department.
Peterson said that while his grandfather could create beautiful cabinets, he would not have been prepared to handle the complex management and technology required of today’s construction management professionals.
“For so many years, we were an industry that if someone had a hammer and a pickup truck, he could get a license and go to work,” Peterson said. “Today’s buildings are so much more complex and intricate that it’s hard to do without a professional core of educated managers who know both the trade and the business side of the work.”
Peterson’s area of expertise is the financial aspects of managing construction companies and projects. In addition to teaching, he has written several textbooks on that topic. His book, “Pearson’s Pocket Guide to Construction Management,” was released in April 2011.
The guide gives students and professionals a reference to the concepts and formulas required for a construction project or company. Topics include construction math, contracts, bonds and document tracking.
Peterson said companies that can handle the financial pressures of an up-and-down industry will be those who survive and thrive.
“This downturn has been a great learning opportunity for the industry and students to take a look at the way we do business. We ask in class, ‘Is there a better way we can do this so we can stay financially viable and survive even in a down market?’ Hopefully what we’ve learned in the downturn can make the way we do business a whole lot better.”
WSU’s construction management department provides a strong foundation for a professional career in the construction industry. Graduates learn the major aspects of construction technology including residential, commercial and highway. Coursework includes the construction sciences or engineering and architecture as well as math, physical science, business, management and general education. The program provides an excellent foundation for graduate work in architecture, construction and business management.
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