One way NPCA strives to increase the visibility of the precast concrete industry is by educating the academic community on the applications and benefits of precast concrete products and about an industry that is ripe with career opportunities.
The list of NPCA’s strategic outreach activities is extensive in this arena, and so are the metrics. However, there is also a great narrative beyond just the numbers. The association’s involvement with California State University, Chico’s Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program and its Construction Management (CM) program provides one such story.
NPCA professional staff have recently increased their involvement with the CIM program at CSU, Chico. In fact, a group of CSU, Chico CIM students won the NPCA Foundation Student Competition at The Precast Show 2019 in February. In addition, NPCA has previously conducted outreach at CSU, Chico. Claude Goguen, P.E., LEED AP, NPCA’s director of outreach and technical education, conducted a guest lecture and general informational session to CIM students in April 2017.
In a display of continued partnership, Assistant Professor Mohammed Albahttiti, Ph.D., requested NPCA professional staff to speak to his CIM students earlier this year and extended an invitation to attend the CIM program patrons meeting while in town. To maximize outreach efforts, NPCA reached out to faculty in the CM program at CSU, Chico and added a second presentation.
Goguen traveled to Chico, Calif., to conduct a presentation on precast concrete uses in above- and below-ground applications to an audience of nearly 100 CIM and CM students and faculty. NPCA worked with CIM and CM faculty to distribute flyers and supply information for on-campus promotion prior to his presentation.
Goguen also guest lectured for Dr. Albahttiti’s course and educated more than 20 CIM students on quality control and quality assurance best practices in precast concrete manufacturing. He attended the patrons meeting later that evening – a congregation of local concrete companies and organizations that are patrons of the CIM program.
The meeting included several student-led presentations, strategic planning and a tour of the new CIM lab on campus. CSU, Chico CIM students who won the NPCA Foundation Student Competition attended the patrons meeting to provide patrons with a recap of their presentation and first place win at The Precast Show.
Goguen wrapped up the trip with a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Albahttiti. The pair discussed future opportunities for partnerships and NPCA support for the CSU, Chico CIM program. Of the 120 CIM students who attended the presentations, there were 23 requests for follow-up, six new NPCA Student Memberships, and one new NPCA Faculty Membership. Goguen made new connections within the CSU, Chico CM program as well. Lecturer Jamie Cochran and CM Department Chair Chris Souder discussed future collaboration with both the CIM and CM program with Goguen. Additionally, Goguen showcased NPCA’s newly launched webpage for students and professors. You can visit the page at precast.org/welcome.
The CIM program at CSU, Chico is geared toward concrete materials. However, there is still room for more precast content in the program curriculum. Goguen’s two-day outreach excursion in Chico brought precast to the forefront and inspired students and faculty to seek additional information, stay in the loop and inquire about future collaboration. In addition, the NPCA Foundation provided a $12,000 grant to Albahttiti to create the first-ever CIM precast-specific course, which is required for CSU, Chico CIM graduates. The course finished its first semester. These interactions allow NPCA to build relationships that will facilitate a stronger presence of precast among future decision makers and the incoming trades workforce.
The association’s outreach metrics illustrate significant movement in the right direction. However, there is no limit for success when it comes to making an impact. We encourage members to collaborate with NPCA on efforts to make connections and build relationships in local academic communities. NPCA professional staff is happy to assist in providing guidance, resources and staff for your outreach endeavors. Contact Ashley Benson, education outreach coordinator, for assistance.