California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Civil And Construction Engineering Gets A Boost

Published: November 16, 2015

At the unveiling of the plaque outside the Vivian Engineering Center at the Beavers Endowed Chair event on Oct. 20 were (l-r) Ralph Larison, Herzog Contracting Corp. and Wilford Clyde, The Beavers Inc.; along with CSULB’s David Dowell, interim provost and senior vice president; Forouzan Golshani, dean of the College of Engineering; and Antonella Sciortino, associate professor of civil engineering and construction engineering.
PHOTO BY MARGO MCCALL
At the unveiling of the plaque outside the Vivian Engineering Center at the Beavers Endowed Chair event on Oct. 20 were (l-r) Ralph Larison, Herzog Contracting Corp. and Wilford Clyde, The Beavers Inc.; along with CSULB’s David Dowell, interim provost and senior vice president; Forouzan Golshani, dean of the College of Engineering; and Antonella Sciortino, associate professor of civil engineering and construction engineering.

The CSULB College of Engineering commemorated the creation of the Beavers Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Construction on Oct. 20 in the courtyard west of the Vivian Engineering Center Building. Funded by the Beavers Charitable Trust and other major supporters, the Beavers Endowed Chair will promote interest in civil and construction engineering at CSULB, as well as strengthen the pipeline of highly skilled heavy construction practitioners.

The heavy civil engineering and construction industry employs nearly 1 million individuals across the country, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is one of the fastest-growing engineering sectors. Heavy civil engineering refers to the design and construction of highways, bridges, rail corridors, dams and other infrastructure.

“The Beavers Endowed Chair will lead the development of a number of new laboratories, including the Marine Construction Lab and Structural Health Monitoring Lab,” said College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani. “There is already a significant degree of support for growing this area in our college and we see this initiative to be a clear win-win for both employers and our graduates.”

The Beavers Charitable Trust funded one-half of the $1 million endowment to establish the Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Construction position within the College of Engineering. CSULB is the first university in California and one of only seven in the nation to receive the grant, CSULB being the seventh.

The remainder of the endowment was funded with matching gifts. Major donors include Casco Contractors Inc., Granite Construction, Griffith Co., Hensel Phelps Construction, Herzog Contracting Corp., Mr. and Mrs. Ralph G. Larison, Manson Construction Co., Moffatt & Nichol Engineering, Dr. and Mrs. Eric Nichol, Reyes Construction Inc., Sukut Construction Inc., Swinerton Foundation, Traylor Bros. and Turelk Inc.

“With its proximity to the Port of Long Beach and other industrial hubs, the CSULB College of Engineering is well-positioned to take advantage of industry partnerships to deliver graduates who are highly skilled in the field of heavy engineering construction,” said Nicole Forrest Boggs, director of development for the College of Engineering. “We are very grateful for support from a membership organization that is a leader in the field.”

The Beavers Charitable Trust has supported the College of Engineering over the years and has an endowed Beavers Heavy Construction scholarship fund at CSULB. Founded in 1955, the Beavers is a social, honorary organization formed, organized and managed by construction companies and individuals who are involved in heavy engineering construction.

The purpose of the Beavers is threefold: to promote goodwill, friendliness and consideration within the heavy engineering construction industry; to give recognition to those men and women who have demonstrated particular skill, responsibility and integrity; and to encourage and support the entry of promising young individuals into heavy engineering construction.

“Scholarship support is one of our main ways to encourage students to pursue careers in heavy construction,” explained Dave Woods, executive director of the Beavers Trust. “Other ways are providing internships, guest speakers and project visits. Despite the flat economy and low inflation rate over the last decade, the cost of higher education continues to increase, making scholarship support more important than ever as an incentive for students to pursue degrees relevant to heavy construction careers.”

Woods praised CSULB’s commitment to excellence. “The outgoing president of the Beavers gets to choose a school for an endowed scholarship grant. Ralph Larison, who served as Beavers president, had attended CSULB and thought highly of the construction program,” he said.

“Having a national leader from heavy engineering area in our college enables us to be more responsive to the needs of a rapidly growing segment of the construction industry,” Golshani concluded. “As the first university in California to be selected by the Beavers, we see ourselves in closer partnership with the major segments of the regional economy, not the least of which are ports of Long Beach and L.A., the rapid railway initiative and good movement infrastructure.”