Industry Partners Generously Support SIUE Construction Teacher-Scholars


School of Engineering Faculty Advancement Endowment Gains Momentum

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville faculty members are teacher-scholars who strive to remain at the forefront of a fast-moving industry and translate that into theoretical and applied classroom learning. Their guidance ensures students have the skills, knowledge and versatility needed to thrive in the workforce and make industry advancements.

The SIUE School of Engineering (SOE) has created the Faculty Advancement Endowment to provide teacher-scholars in the Department of Construction with the resources needed to develop applied research and enhance curriculum. Realizing the return on investment these faculty members make by developing future leaders, industry partners are showing their support by contributing to this growing endowment.

To date, three generous partners have contributed $25,000 each, including:

  • The Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program (SICAP) of the Southern Illinois Builders Association (SIBA)
  • Holland Construction Services
  • Contegra Construction

“The professional development of our faculty members ensures our students continue to receive cutting edge instruction, as faculty expertise is linked to student success,” said SOE Dean Cem Karacal, PhD. “This endowment is the perfect example of how our strong, regional partnerships with construction companies can provide additional resources for our School, and we greatly appreciate their commitment to the well-being of the Department of Construction. With their support, our faculty will be more available to work on real industry problems, which will not only benefit our industry partners, but also faculty and students in the form of real-life experiences and case studies.”

(L-R) SICAP Administrator Donna Richter, SOE Development Director Lisa Smith, SOE Dean Cem Karacal, SOE Associate Dean Chris Gordon, and SICAP Chairman Bruce Holland.

“SICAP believes that there is an absolute need for continuing to support education which is a simple, hard fact of modern life for all workers, including and especially construction industry workers now and in the future,” said SIBA CEO Donna Richter. “The contributions that SICAP donates to SIUE ensure that students are trained with state-of-the-art equipment and in construction-related programs that will prove beneficial in industry. It is imperative that SIUE has the resources to retain the faculty necessary to teach and train future generations.”

(L-R) Holland Construction Services President Mike Marchal, SOE Associate Dean Chris Gordon, SOE Dean Cem Karacal, SOE Development Director Lisa Smith, and Holland Construction Services CEO Bruce Holland.

According to Holland Construction Services’ President Mike Marchal, an SOE alumnus, more than a third of the company’s office staff and over half of its owners are graduates of SIUE’s construction management program.

“The SIUE School of Engineering has provided best-in-class talent to Holland since our company was founded over 35 years ago,” Marchal said. “We feel extremely grateful to have a program of this caliber in our immediate area. By staying involved at the University through boards, committees and scholarships, we are able to deepen our relationship with SIUE, the program and its students. Our goal is to be the most sought-after employer and builder in the metro area. Contributing to the Faculty Advancement Endowment is one way to ensure our goals are achieved through the important work of our partner – SIUE’s School of Engineering.”

(L-R) Contegra Construction’s Project Executive Dennis Araujo, President Eric Gowin, COO Jim Mundy, and SOE Associate Dean Chris Gordon.

Contegra Construction Founder and President Eric Gowin is also an SIUE alumnus. He consistently looks to SIUE for new and upcoming talent. Currently, more than 20 alumni and nine SIUE Construction Leadership Institute (CLI) graduates are in the company’s employment ranks. Additionally, Contegra annually strives to have several SIUE student interns.

“Contegra Construction Company is a National Design-Build General Contractor specializing in industrial, corporate office, multi-family, healthcare, municipal, institutional and retail construction,” said Gowin. “The School of Engineering’s program aligns perfectly with our core business needs, providing graduates with a solid educational foundation that is perfectly suited for our industry.”

“Contegra maintains a close relationship with the University,” added project executive Dennis Araujo, DBIA, LEED AP. “Our employees have and continue to serve on the School of Engineering’s Industry Advisory Board, the CLI Advisory Board, and as guest speakers for several program’s classes.”

The SOE seeks seven additional gifts of $25,000 or more to fund the endowment, which will generate an estimated annual income of $10,000 to support construction faculty.

“We appreciate the generous support of our industry partners, and are confident that their return on investment is significant,” said SOE Director of Development Lisa Smith. “Interest earnings from this endowed fund will allow construction management faculty fellows to work alongside industry partners to solve real-world problems. This, in turn, will help attract and retain talented faculty members to the Department of Construction, as their applied field research will enhance program quality and improve the ability of our graduates to meet industry needs.”

To learn more about this giving opportunity, contact SOE Director of Development Lisa Smith at

The Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program (SICAP) serves as the unifying force within the southern Illinois construction industry and develops programs aimed at opportunities for the betterment of all aspects of the industry. SICAP supports the southern Illinois construction industry by promoting safety and accident prevention in the industry; supporting educational seminars and training programs for all industry personnel; supporting economic development programs for the benefit of the industry; conducting community education and public relations programs to benefit the industry by educating both the mass media and general public about the critical role the construction industry plays in helping assure economic development and job growth across all sectors of the economy; promoting affirmative action, equal employment opportunity and business diversity efforts to support our neighbors, our communities and our construction industry.

Holland Construction Services is a full-service construction management, general contracting, and design/build firm guided by the principle of providing its clients the best possible building experience on every project. Holland has been providing quality construction services throughout Illinois and Missouri since 1986, when it was founded by company CEO Bruce Holland.

Contegra Construction is a general contracting and construction management firm serving the education, industrial, healthcare, municipal and office markets. Since 2003, Contegra’s team of professionals has delivered high-quality, cost-effective projects on schedule for our clients through innovation, foresight, integrity and aggressive performance. Contegra clients count on its dependability, drive and integrity. Contegra takes great pride in its accomplishments and build on them every day. Contegra is committed to the service provided to its clients and wants its customers to be proud of their new facility.

The SIUE School of Engineering is one of the largest engineering schools in the region. It offers comprehensive and affordable engineering programs with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and two cooperative doctoral programs. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. Students gain hands-on experience in the School’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the new Fowler Student Design Center.

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