New Faculty Member, 2022–23
Beavers - Ames Lecturer in Heavy Construction
Gary Barras is no stranger to Arizona State University. He earned his master’s degree in construction management from the Del E. Webb School of Construction, which is housed in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the seven schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU.
He spent the last two decades applying what he learned as a project manager doing large scale projects for one of the largest energy companies in Arizona — Salt River Project, or SRP.
“The challenge for the project manager is to effectively utilize a combination of his or her technical, managerial and people skills in order to safely complete a quality project that is delivered on budget and on schedule,” says Barras.
Now, he is returning to ASU as the Beaver-Ames Lecturer in Heavy Construction.
Barras is the second to hold the role that was established by ASU to bolster construction management and engineering education for undergraduate students and to promote the heavy construction industry. The position honors Bill Ames and Wink Ames, who passed away in late 2020, and was established by trustees of the Beavers Charitable Trust in recognition of the Ames family’s generations of support of the construction industry and construction education in California and Arizona.
In his new role, Barras says he is dedicated to working with the next generation of construction management professionals and recalls how his passion for the industry was sparked early in his career.
“I became interested in the many challenges associated with delivering major international mining projects during my first job as a young civil engineer,” Barras says. “Since then, I have strived to learn and apply all that I could about improving the multi-step project management process which progresses from inception to design, into procurement then onto construction, equipment start-up and finally delivery of the final product to its owners and operators.”
Barras’s work has been recognized by industry peers. His master’s thesis about trenchless technology was published in the American Society of Civil Engineering Journal of Construction, Engineering and Management. He also served as the construction manager on Power Generation’s 2006 Gas Fired Project of the Year and was the project director for the demolition of the Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona, including the three iconic 775-foot smokestacks.
When he isn’t working, Barras says he spends time with his family exploring the natural wonders the state of Arizona has to offer and learning more about its rich history.
Written by Monica Williams