March 07, 2012

Two earn construction manager in training honor

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Stephen Garver heard the suggestions that he should pursue a degree in business.  But he could not envision himself sitting in an office.

With his career path chosen, it’s likely that Garver will not spend much time indoors.

Garver, a senior in the Technical Resource Management (TRM) program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the first of two students in the program’s professional construction management (PCM) specialization to earn a construction manager in training (CMIT) designation.

Garver, and a second student, Michael Connelly, recently successfully completed the five-hour online examination.  The designation is the first step in becoming a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) and will require additional documented experience in multiple manager areas of construction before they can qualify to take that exam.

J. Kevin Roth, an assistant professor in the TRM program, said it’s exciting to see students already achieving the honor.  The specialization is in its first full year after beginning as a pilot project two years ago.  The specialization is a “2+2 program,” where students with occupational associate degrees come into the TRM program and ultimately earn a bachelor’s degree.

“We want to show that we can do it, and make this specialization very valuable,” he said.  “Stephen and Michael are each great students and it’s fantastic that they have already earned the CMIT honor.”

Garver, who is from Champaign and West Chester, Pa., earned his associate degree in construction design and management from Parkland College in 2010.  He is the son of Cathy and John Garver, also of West Chester, Pa.

“I was always interested in construction and liked building,” he said.  “It was something that fascinated me.  I decided to take a couple of classes and see where it went.  It turns out I really enjoyed it and have a knack for it.”

Connelly, also a senior in the TRM program, is originally from Clinton and lives in Johnston City.  He is a field supervisor for E.T. Simonds Construction Co., and works full time while attending classes at SIU Carbondale at night.  He earned his associate degree in construction management technology from John A. Logan College in Carterville.

Obtaining the CMIT “is a very positive step for my career,” and will enable him to network with other industry professionals who share the same interests, Connelly said.

“The TRM program has provided a great education in terms of overall managerial practices, while the specialization completed the circle as it pertains directly to the construction industry,” he said.

Garver and Connelly will earn their bachelor degrees from SIU Carbondale in May. Garver said he chose SIU Carbondale because construction programs at other universities offered broad construction-related programs, but did not have the construction management specialization.

The specialization complements and expands on prior experience, education and training people have.  When students graduate, they are ready to manage all facets of the construction process, from the initial idea through to the disposal of the structure when its useful life is over.  The curriculum prepares students for the competencies required by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) for certification.

“This is a shining example of how our programs and faculty in the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies (ISAT) prepare our students to meet the requirements of the industries that employ them,” said Ralph F. Tate, associate professor in Electronic Systems Technologies and interim ISAT director.

“We are very proud of our nearly 100 percent student placement rate and I am proud that I have faculty like Kevin Roth who keeps current on the needs and requirements of the Professional Construction Management community and ensures our students are prepared to meet those needs,” Tate said.  “We strive to add real value to our students’ educational experience and the success of Steven Garver and Michael Connelly are positive results of our efforts.”

Professional construction managers assist in defining the construction project, project needs, budget and schedule.  To earn the internationally recognized CCM certification, in addition to earning their bachelor degrees, Garver and Connelly will need specific, documented work experience that takes a minimum of four years.  That includes being the responsible person in charge in such categories as pre-design, design, procurement, construction, post-construction and post-occupancy.

Roth credits the CMAA’s Chicago chapter with encouraging SIU Carbondale students in the program.  The organization has agreed to pay for up to 10 students to take the CMIT exam each year, and assisted in getting SIU Carbondale’s CMAA registered student organization formed, Roth said.  Garver is the current student organization president.

“They are encouraging our students,” he said.  “This is a program that will connect students through the industry.”

Interest in the specialization is growing, Roth said.  To learn more about the PCM specialization or the Technical Resource Management Bachelor of Science program, contact Roth at 618/453-7219 or by email at