The Beavers, Inc., a professional construction organization, has a long history of honoring the leaders of today’s heavy construction industry and supporting the people who will shape its future—our students.

“Chico is among the top—if not the best—construction programs in California,” said recent alumnus Matt Hall (’16), who received a Beavers Charitable Trust Heavy Construction Scholarship and is now a project engineer at Teichert Construction.

Hall’s employer is one of hundreds of top companies that visit campus each year to recruit for jobs and internships. He said the hands-on experience he was able to gain through these opportunities was unbeatable.

“The Beavers have supported a lot of the students coming out of Chico, which is great because ultimately we want to be where they’re at one day,” said Hall who had six job offers before graduation and competed on the Association of Students in Construction (ASC) team in 2015 and 2016, earning first and second place finishes.

“You go to almost any major construction company in California and you’ll meet a Chico State grad,” said Joel Arthur, chair of the Department of Construction Management (CM). He added that Chico State’s program is the second oldest in California and has more than 3,000 alumni working across the state and world.

Arthur said the reputation of Chico State as one of the country’s leading heavy construction programs is directly linked to its track record of hiring faculty with impressive careers building highways, bridges, tunnels, dams, rapid transit, and other civil construction projects.

ASC competition with Matt Hall and Chris Souder.

Matt Hall (front left) with his teammates and faculty advisor Chris Souder (back right) finished second place in the heavy civil category at the Associated Schools of Construction regional student competition in Sparks, Nevada. The four-day event drew more than 13,000 students from 46 universities. (Photo courtesy of ASC)

In 2015–16, The Beavers established a faculty endowment to ensure CM students continue to have access to professors with extensive heavy construction industry experience.

Before his passing in 2000, CM professor Stuart “Bart” Bartholomew was honored with The Beavers’ highest honor, the Golden Beaver Award, for his outstanding 40 year career working on high-impact projects, such as the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and the Bakhra Dam in India.

Today, faculty like Hall’s ASC advisor Chris Souder and fellow ASC advisor Alan Bond are carrying on Bartholomew’s legacy. Their extensive career experience not only prepares students to win competitions against big-name schools like Stanford University and UC Berkeley, but also to tackle problems on the job—starting day one.

“You can get a lot more mileage when you have an enthusiastic person in front of the class. You reach the whole class of students, rather than one person who receives a scholarship,” said David Woods, executive director of Beavers, Inc. and The Beavers Charitable Trust, which has awarded more than $10 million in grants since 1977, establishing 44 endowed scholarships and nine endowed teaching positions at top schools around the country.

Woods added that The Beavers’ faculty endowments inspire broader support by matching funds from at least one of its members or the University’s supporters, such as the Chico State CM Industry Advisory Council.

“There’s a lot more benefit for the student if their faculty has come from the field— they know what it’s like to be in the entry role, the management role, and up,” said Hall, who said at least 80 percent of Teichert’s area managers—the position he aspires to hold—are fellow Wildcats.

“It’s pretty cool because we talk about the faculty—they had the same classes, learned the same stuff,” said Hall, who said he and his Wildcat coworkers are examples of how investing in students produces better workers. “The industry is booming, and I would recommend Chico to anyone.”