Industry experts to help grow construction management program

May 04, 2022

Group of industry and college representatives.

Civil Engineering and industry representatives from left: Professor Carlos Sun; Deborah Thornburg (BS IE ’06) President, P&D Electric; Jeff Cook (BS CE ’83), Co-Founder and President, ARCO; Chip Jones (BS CE ’88), Vice President/Branch Manager, Emery Sapp & Sons; Justin Bloss (BS ME ’04), Project Manager, Burns & McDonnell; Jamie Miller, District Environmental Manager, District Quality Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.; and Professor Praveen Edara, Department Chair.

With help from some of the top firms in the country, Mizzou Engineering will expand offerings and experiences that prepare students for construction management.

Five companies — ARCO, Burns & McDonnell, Emery Sapp and Sons, Kiewit and P&D Electric — make up a new Construction Management Industry Consortium at Mizzou. Company representatives joined MU Provost Latha Ramchand, Dean Noah Manring and civil engineering faculty and students on May 2 for the group’s inaugural meeting.

“Industry consortia are not uncommon at a research university like MU,” said Praveen Edara, chair of civil and environmental engineering. “However, this consortium is unique because it is primarily focused on academics. Specifically, this group will guide us as we look to best prepare our students for construction related careers. These industry partners will help ensure our curriculum is not only relevant to today’s workforce but innovative as we consider the needs of tomorrow.”

Mizzou has been offering a construction management minor and a graduate certificate in construction management for three years, said Professor Carlos Sun, director of the program.

“About four years ago, students began talking about the need, and we listened,” Sun said. “We met with business and architectural studies programs to pool our expertise and built the program from scratch.”

Today, courses are offered both online and on campus. Students take a required introduction to construction management class and a course on legal issues to study regulations around public infrastructure. Students then select from electives in areas such as Infrastructure Project Development, Prestressed Concrete, Environmental Regulatory Compliance and Foundation Engineering, as well as transportation-related courses such as Asphalt Materials and Bridge Engineering. Architectural studies electives include design courses such as Building Information Modeling, and the Trulaske College of Business offers accounting, finance and management classes.

“These industry partners are exactly what we need to further grow the program,” Manring said. “Students, this educational opportunity is going to provide you a competitive edge not only when you’re entering the workforce but throughout your career.”

Already, the State of Missouri employs about 200,000 individuals across the construction sector, Edara said. With the recent passage of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Missouri gas tax increase, there will be a significant increase in the need for talent.

“We need highly skilled, highly qualified construction management professionals to meet the demand,” Edara said. “As Missouri’s flagship land grant university, we accept this challenge. And our students have proven they are up to the task. They’re eager to learn, willing to put in the work and are excited about the opportunities.”

Customize your engineering education and prepare for a job in construction management! Learn more about civil engineering at Mizzou.


  • ARCO is a general contracting firm with design/build experts in a variety of industries including athletic facilities, offices, distribution, warehouse centers, aviation and healthcare facilities. It is headquartered in St. Louis.
  • Burns & McDonnell is a full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting solutions firm based in Kansas City.
  • Emery Sapp & Sons provides excavation, grading, underground utilities, bridge construction, asphalt paving and concrete paving. It is headquartered in Columbia.
  • Kiewit is an engineering and construction organization that provides services for building, industrial, mining, oil, gas and chemical, power, transportation and water markets. It is based in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • P&D Electric provides electrical services for commercial and industrial clients. It is based in Hannibal, Missouri.

Interested in joining the Construction Management Industry Consortium? Contact Praveen Edara at