A national convention in Las Vegas last month welcomed professionals, students and university officials from a Texas State industrial degree program available at only four other institutions in the country.
The annual World of Concrete show took place Jan. 24-27 with 52,088 professionals in attendance. More than 1,200 indoor and outdoor exhibitors showcased new concrete equipment and products in 552,500 square feet of space. The World of Concrete Management and the U.S. Commercial Service worked together to coordinate attendance from international buyers and delegations from across the world interested in exporting goods and services.
Concrete Industry Management, or CIM, is an undergraduate degree program first initiated in January 2009. Students are required to minor in business and earn at least 123 hours in their field of study to graduate in the program.
The program’s curriculum consists of seven core classes. There is a technology component of nine classes directly relating to construction of concrete. This is to encourage a technical background with a strong emphasis in management and business.
Jiong Hu, assistant professor in the department of Engineering Technology, said the National Steering Committee oversees the five CIM programs offered across the nation. He said the committee “carefully” picks institutions to host the program based on several aspects including location and job opportunities in the area.
“In our CIM program, we focus on more hands-on activities in management and concrete,” said Yoo-Jae Kim, assistant professor in the department of engineering technology. “You get to learn a lot about materials within the industry.”
Provostattended the World of Concrete show with University President . Bourgeois said Vedaraman Sriraman, director of the program, and Gary Winek, professor in the department of engineering technology, visited the conference with other faculty members as well.
Hu said there were more than 100 educational seminars at the conference relating to aspects of concrete construction involving equipment showcases and technique demonstrations. He said students are encouraged to attend a variety of seminars to get advice from professionals working in the concrete industry.
Kim attended the show with the six students and the other faculty members. He said the program invites three or four guest lecturers each semester to educate students in a fashion similar to the conference seminar speakers.
“We want them to hear people from the real world to learn why something is important,” Hu said. “It is very closely related with the industry. I learn a lot from those seminars as well, because we get to hear from people who are dealing with that every day.”
Bourgeois said the program demonstrated significant progress this past December when the first class graduated. He said Sriraman indicated during his presentation to the National Steering Committee that several, if not all, of the recent graduates have already been hired in the concrete industry.
Bourgeois said enrollment has increased “tremendously” since the start of the program three years ago. There are currently 56 students enrolled in the program.
“With that enrollment, a number of very meaningful internships have come for the students,” Bourgeois said. “In addition, our faculty has been engaged in research and scholarly activities that have included getting several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of funding from the Texas Department of Transportation.”
Kim said faculty members within the program publish approximately two to three journals a year on concrete and management research. He said both the university and concrete industry agencies fund the program.
“This program is so unique, and not many people can offer it,” Hu said. “If you’re talking about knowledge and concrete there is no other program like it.”