Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2023
Jacob Kopitske loves that in construction, he gets to assemble parts of the urban environment around him.
“To be able to walk around a city and point to the buildings that exist, in part, because of me is a powerful thing,” Kopitske says.
He’ll do just that after graduation when he starts a position at Sundt Construction’s Frontline Construction Technologies department.
Kopitske’s passion for construction led him to Arizona State University due to his positive impression of the construction management program’s reputation. He felt the program offered valuable resources for his career.
The more Kopitske learned about construction management, the more surprised he became by its variety of potential career paths.
“A degree in construction management allows you to enter any portion of the construction industry and pursue any role you could want,” he says. “While many choose to be project managers or superintendents, one could also do estimating, virtual design and construction, construction technology or business development, among many other things.”
Kopitske names Associated General Contractors Lecturer Barry Kutz and Associate Professor Steven Ayer, both in the construction program, as especially helpful. Kopitske says that Kutz and Ayer, both faculty members in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment’s Del E. Webb School of Construction, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, gave him opportunities to learn beyond normal classwork.
Kopitske worked as a teaching assistant for Kutz for six semesters, allowing him to learn more directly and collaboratively from Kutz than otherwise would have been possible.
“His commitment to student success is recognized by most in the program,” Kopitske says. “He is one of the faculty I admire most.”
In Ayer’s class, after Kopitske shared an interest in construction technology, he invited Kopitske to take part in his doctoral students’ research.
“The opportunity to participate in this extracurricular activity and expose myself to research within the construction industry was instrumental to determine what direction I wanted to take my career in,” Kopitske says.
One of his most memorable projects is competing in the Fiber-Reinforced Concrete Bowling Ball Competition with the American Concrete Institute student chapter at ASU, in which entrants attempt to create the most well-designed bowling ball made of fiber-reinforced concrete.
“I know this project will stick with me, if only because of all the strange looks I got from my friends when I mentioned the words ‘concrete bowling ball,’” Kopitske says.