Beavers Endowed Chair Delivers Talk on Heavy Civil Construction Industry

William Wolfe

Beavers Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Construction William Wolfe on Monday extolled the advantages of a career in heavy civil to a class of civil engineering and construction management students.

”Heavy civil is the infrastructure part. You’re got vertical and you’ve got horizontal. We’re talking about the horizontal,” he explained.

Heavy civil projects include bridges, dams, roads, tunnels and transportation and water systems. One advantage of that career path, he said, is that the projects are tangible and easy to explain. “When you talk about these big projects, you don’t need to explain yourself,” he said.

Another advantage is the influence large projects have on people’s lives. For example, the Pearblossom Pumping Plant and Devil Canyon Power Plant were built as part of the California Aqueduct, which brought water from Northern California to Southern California.

“Life would not just be different without them; it would be impossible without them,” he said.

There are plenty of large projects to work on, said Wolfe, given that the American Society of Civil Engineers has given U.S. infrastructure a D+. In San Diego, the $3-billion Midcoast Trolley extension projects has been underway for three years. And in Hawthorne, Tesla founder Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. is excavating tunnels for the movement of high-speed transportation pods.

“Civil engineering and construction management is going to make that possible. None of that is going to be built without you guys,” Wolfe told the students.

He suggested that students visit to search for internships to fulfill the Heavy Civil Emphasis’s requirement for three months of full-time practical experience.

Wolfe joined the CSULB Department of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management as Beavers Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Construction in Fall 2016. He is Faculty Emeritus for the Ohio State University Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodesic Engineering.

The Beavers Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Construction is supported by the Beavers Charitable Trust and lead champion Ralph Larison, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee.

“None of this would have been possible without the leadership of Mr. Ralph Larison of Beavers Charitable Trust,” said College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani. “Ralph has been  a generous supporter of the College for more than a decade.”

The heavy civil engineering and construction industry employs nearly 1 million people across the country and is one of the fastest-growing engineering sectors, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.