Jason Peschel, Richard L. Silliman Distinguished Professor of Estimating, is Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture’s 2017 Reid Miller Excellence in Teaching Award recipient.
With more than 25 years of combined construction and teaching experience, Peschel directs Washington State University’s in-demand Construction Management program, where four out of five students often receive job offers from industry prior to graduation.
We caught up with Peschel to ask him about the Construction Management program, and about what makes it so special.
Tell us about WSU’s construction management program.
WSU’s Construction Management (CM) program is an outstanding place for students to get an education that prepares them for the construction industry. In our curriculum, students are exposed to a variety of business/management courses, as well as a strong foundation of courses pertinent to a career in construction management.
The CM curriculum is designed to teach students about the management of a construction project – not pounding nails and pouring concrete. The students learn how to determine project costs and schedules, and how to manage the process, the budgets, and schedules as they relate to labor, materials, subcontractors, and equipment. Graduates will be exposed to opportunities that can lead them to a career in estimating, project management, business development or even as a superintendent or safety manager.
We have alumni in all positions from project engineer to vice president and/or CEO at companies of all sizes across the country. For example, WSU CM graduates are currently serving at high levels in multi-national companies like Kiewit, Balfour Beatty, and Skanska, but also in regional companies like Andersen, Sellen, and GLY.
CM students seem very involved with student competitions.
In the last several years, WSU teams have earned top places in regional and national competitions. Student competitions are an amazing addition to the typical academic experience. The students that participate are exposed to an intense method of education that includes peer learning and practice problem-solving challenges developed by our industry partners. In the last several years, WSU teams have earned top places in regional and national competitions.
The construction industry places a lot of value on these experiences. Several of our student teams receive corporate sponsorship, including from Holland Construction, Howard S. Wright, and Absher Construction.
What are the keys to success for students who are pursuing a WSU construction management degree?
I think the best advice is to come with a curious mind and a good work ethic. To be successful, students have to do more than simply show up for class.
Success requires engagement in class but also in extra-curricular activities such as competitions, student clubs, and/or service groups. This combination of classroom and extra-curricular education is where students can set themselves apart and develop the skills they need in school and in the industry.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
The best thing about teaching is watching our students grow over time and knowing that we’ve had an active role in that.
I left the construction industry to pursue a career in teaching with one goal in mind…to leave something behind. I love the construction industry and am deeply passionate about construction education.
That, coupled with the ability to interact with students on a daily basis is what creates an environment that I truly love.
Learn more about WSU’s Construction Management program.
Pictured at top: Peschel (back row on left) stands with students on the Commercial team. The students took 3rd place at the 2017 ASC student competition in Sparks, NV.