New tradition shows students, industry and construction school are “vested” in each other
Posted September 20. 2013
The Del E. Webb School of Construction Programs (DEWSC) hosted its first Vesting Ceremony on September 4 in the Carson Ballroom at Old Main on the Tempe campus.
The ceremony, sponsored by the Bechtel Corporation, provided students the opportunity to receive a personalized safety vest and safety glasses – their first pieces of Personal Protective Equipment from ASU – and to be a part of a new tradition for the construction school.
The Del E. Webb School of Construction Programs is part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
“It is important that we impress on our students from the very beginning that safety is part of the culture at the Del E. Webb School, and having such a great company support the ceremony will provide the lasting impression that we want,” says Allan Chasey, DEWSC program chair and Sundt Professor of Alternative Delivery and Sustainable Development.
Bechtel has been a longtime supporter of the Del E. Webb School, providing scholarships and support for interns within the program for more than 20 years. “When I approached Susan McCullough, an alumni of the construction school, and a 31-year employee of Bechtel, with the idea of the vesting ceremony, she liked the idea and quickly provided the support,” Chasey says.
Bechtel has been named by Engineering News Record as the top construction contractor in the United States for 15 straight years.
Having Bechtel be the first industry connection made by many of the freshmen and transfer construction students is a significant achievement, Chasey says.
McCullough, a Human Resource Manager at Bechtel, calls work place safety “a fundamental component of Bechtel’s culture,” and says sponsoring the Del E. Webb School event “was an excellent fit with our corporate and personal values.”
“Bechtel has shown great support and involvement in starting this new tradition,” Chasey says. Alasdair Cathcart, a senior vice president of Bechtel, was especially committed to the event and made himself available to meet with students and faculty throughout the day of the event. Cathcart was also the main presenter at the Vesting Ceremony.
“These types of industry interactions show the broad reach of the Del E. Webb School. Having a world-class company interact with our new students, almost from their first day on campus, shows our students that they have made a great career choice, and at the same time it heightens their focus on job safety, ” says Edd Gibson, professor and director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.
The construction school offers a large number of scholarships by industry partners. In addition, about 40 to 50 companies visit the school each year to meet and interview students. “The construction industry has always been very supportive of the school,” Chasey says.
“Industry involvement right at the get-go is huge for retaining our students. It leaves a lasting impression when they get to see what their futures could look like once they graduate,” says Dawn Rogers, DEWSC program manager of recruitment and retention.
“Students were really excited about the event and expressed their appreciation for the time spent by Mr. Cathcart, Paul Johnson (dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering) and Edd Gibson in taking the time to attend,“ Chasey says.
“At the ceremony the students really began to understand the caliber of what was happening. The only unhappy students are the juniors and seniors who didn’t have this event their freshman year,” Rogers adds.
“As a graduate of the program, it is great to come to campus and see the enthusiasm and potential in the students. It is amazing to see how the program has evolved and also to see the increase in the number of women in the program since I was a student,” says McCullough, who graduated from the school in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in construction.
Chasey says the Del E. Webb School plans to continue the Vesting Ceremony tradition. “Getting our students to realize the value of safety early on is a win-win for all,” he says.
“Most of all, this event shows that the students and the school are “vested” in each other,” Rogers says.
Written by Rosie Gochnour
Joe Kullman, Joseph.Kullman@asu.edu
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering