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Professor and alum aim to elevate construction education

Convergence magazine > Professor and alum aim to elevate construction education

Associate Professor Jim Ernzen found his professional passion more than 23 years ago when he began teaching construction management at Arizona State University.

He realized even then how much students need beyond classroom instruction to get a solid education and jump-start on their careers.

Especially vital to students’ success, Ernzen says, are mentorships, internships, research training and connections to industry leaders.

“You need to deeply engage your professional community. You need to strengthen generational connections with alumni,” Ernzen says. “That’s how to open a wider path for our students to get the kind of education we want for them.”

Ehret says the company’s success has enabled him to put his philanthropy to work at ASU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management in 1976 and an MBA three years later.

His donations are “all in the spirit of giving back to an institution that absolutely prepared me well to accomplish what I’ve done in my profession,” Ehret says.

Convergence magazine > Professor and alum aim to elevate construction education

Support for Ernzen’s new position comes from ASU construction management alumnus Jeff Ehret, CEO of The PENTA Building Group — a nationally recognized commercial building contractor — and his wife, Mary.

The Ehrets’ contributions have helped fuel the advance of ASU’s construction education programs for most of the past two decades.

Since 2005 they have funded a scholarship for an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in construction management or construction engineering. The PENTA Building Group was also a significant donor to the capital campaign to fund construction of the College Avenue Commons building where the Del E. Webb School is housed.

Ehret says the company’s success has enabled him to put his philanthropy to work at ASU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management in 1976 and an MBA three years later.

His donations are “all in the spirit of giving back to an institution that absolutely prepared me well to accomplish what I’ve done in my profession,” Ehret says.

Donors Jeff and Mary Ehret

Jeff and Mary Ehrets' contributions have helped fuel the advance of ASU's construction education programs for most of the past two decades.

Ernzen is leading the charge to achieve these goals as the first PENTA Building Group Professor for Construction in the Del E. Webb School of Construction.

Ernzen’s overall directive in the position is to enhance the experience of undergraduate students in the school, which is part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

Ernzen is working with faculty advisors and student organizations to increase student interaction with alumni and industry, and support students’ participation in industry events.

“We want to make sure our graduates walk out of here with a thorough knowledge of what they will do in their jobs and what they need to do to advance in their careers,” Ernzen says.

Support for Ernzen’s new position comes from ASU construction management alumnus Jeff Ehret, CEO of The PENTA Building Group — a nationally recognized commercial building contractor — and his wife, Mary.

The Ehrets’ contributions have helped fuel the advance of ASU’s construction education programs for most of the past two decades.

Since 2005 they have funded a scholarship for an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in construction management or construction engineering. The PENTA Building Group was also a significant donor to the capital campaign to fund construction of the College Avenue Commons building where the Del E. Webb School is housed.

Ehret says the company’s success has enabled him to put his philanthropy to work at ASU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management in 1976 and an MBA three years later.

His donations are “all in the spirit of giving back to an institution that absolutely prepared me well to accomplish what I’ve done in my profession,” Ehret says.

Ernzen is leading the charge to achieve these goals as the first PENTA Building Group Professor for Construction in the Del E. Webb School of Construction.

Ernzen’s overall directive in the position is to enhance the experience of undergraduate students in the school, which is part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

Ernzen is working with faculty advisors and student organizations to increase student interaction with alumni and industry, and support students’ participation in industry events.

“We want to make sure our graduates walk out of here with a thorough knowledge of what they will do in their jobs and what they need to do to advance in their careers,” Ernzen says.

Support for Ernzen’s new position comes from ASU construction management alumnus Jeff Ehret, CEO of The PENTA Building Group — a nationally recognized commercial building contractor — and his wife, Mary.

The Ehrets’ contributions have helped fuel the advance of ASU’s construction education programs for most of the past two decades.

Since 2005 they have funded a scholarship for an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in construction management or construction engineering. The PENTA Building Group was also a significant donor to the capital campaign to fund construction of the College Avenue Commons building where the Del E. Webb School is housed.

Ehret says the company’s success has enabled him to put his philanthropy to work at ASU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management in 1976 and an MBA three years later.

His donations are “all in the spirit of giving back to an institution that absolutely prepared me well to accomplish what I’ve done in my profession,” Ehret says.