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UA professor implements programs to help students develop skills in the business side of engineering

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Construction Engineering Management students visit the construction site at ENR2. UA Professor Dean Papajohn is helping secure a $5 million endowment for students studying construction engineering management.

For the past year, UA engineering professor Dean Papajohn has been helping to implement programs at the engineering college to acclimate students with the business side of engineering.

Last spring, he teamed up with the American Society of Professional Estimators to hold an 11th Hour Bid Simulation on the UA campus.

Both the Phoenix and Tucson chapters of ASPE came to campus to share their knowledge of bid presenting in a hands-on simulation that taught students “the process of evaluating subcontractor bids, calculating bonds and tax, considering overhead and profit, and the ethics against bid shopping,” according to a thank-you letter to APSE Arizona Chapter Vice President Gene Plumb and Tucson Chapter President Trip McGrath.

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The Phoenix Chapter will host the next 11th Hour Bid Simulation Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets range from $15.00 for ASPE members to $30.00 for non-members. Admission is free for students at the Arizona State University Del E. Webb School of Construction.

Papajohn led the formation of a construction engineering management emphasis within the Department of Civil Engineering. He has also established the Design-Build Institute of America chapter at the UA to help students develop skills around the business side of engineering and has promoted his CEM emphasis in developing company and alumni support to eventually establish a $5 million endowment.

“When I was developing a new course in Construction Cost Estimating (CE483) in spring 2016, I reached out to ASPE and they helped put me in touch with industry people that could come to class as guest speakers on specialized topics.” Papajohn said in an email. “ASPE also offered an outstanding bid simulation, which UA students participated in as part of the class,” 

ASPE not only facilitated the 11th Hour Bid Simulation but provided students with resources like an undergraduate scholarship and monthly programs conducted by local chapters, according to Tom Mayer, chairman of the ASPE National Education Technical Committee.

The ASPE undergraduate scholarship application is an opportunity for students to earn a scholarship of $5,000 by completing an application form and providing ASPE with a list of extracurricular activities, employment history, an essay and a transcript.

Students majoring or minoring in a field related to construction can apply to this scholarship as long as they have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, are a full-time sophomore, junior or senior and have no relationship with any member of the scholarship committee. Applicants are also subject to a personal interview with an ASPE representative.

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The winning student is invited to an annual business meeting or chapter meeting, and the scholarship will be mailed directly to the recipient’s school in their name by Sept. 1. Applications for this scholarship are due June 1 and the application is available online under the ASPE website’s education tab.

The American Society of Professional Estimators provide estimators and students alike with valuable professional development through summits, bid simulations and an undergraduate scholarship competition.


Follow Elizabeth Quinlan on Twitter.



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