Preparing the Next Generation for Success

by Balfour Beatty

January 23, 2024

When addressing the ongoing labor shortage facing the construction industry, college partnerships are paramount to staffing success. Balfour Beatty has a longstanding relationship with Texas A&M University (TAMU), employing hundreds of alumni, welcoming student interns from the university every year and regularly participating in events that give students insights into the realities of the construction industry.

Members of our Oak Hill Parkway project team in Austin, Texas, recently invited students onto the jobsite as well as visited the TAMU College Station campus to share real-world experiences and examples. Our experts sharing their expertise allows students to gain an understanding of the industry beyond the classroom and allows our teammates to make connections with those who will be the future of the construction world.

Boots on the Ground

On the recent jobsite tour, the project team invited about 50 undergraduate TAMU construction science students to walk through the major structures on the project while discussing specifics about coordinating and logistics on a project of this magnitude. For everything from environmental controls to coordinating rework and the costs associated with it, the project team gave the students insights into what it looks like to work on a real jobsite.

“Jobsite tours like these allow us to scratch the surface of what management looks like on a major construction project,” says Dave Richmond, deputy construction manager. “We can’t possibly share everything involved in a project like this, but we can make connections and begin a dialogue with these students so they can reach out to us when they have real-world questions.”

Real-World Examples

Following the jobsite tour, Dave visited the TAMU campus to speak to the J.T.L. McNew chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The TAMU ASCE strives to introduce students to the duties surrounding civil engineers in the industry through professional presentations, outreach and networking opportunities.

This was the second time our teammates have participated in a professional presentation for the TAMU ASCE. Dave and his teammates presented to around 70 students on the topic of resource constraints, sharing examples of solutions the Oak Hill Parkway used to address these constraints. They specifically discussed the project’s use of precast bridge caps.

“We get to engage the students with the realities of the industry during these visits,” says Dave. “We would love to recruit every one of these students to work for Balfour Beatty, but it’s more important to us to grow their interest in construction as a career path. There is so much opportunity in the industry, we want to make sure students know what is available to them.”

Recruiting Wins

Jobsite tours and on-campus events allow our teammates to make valuable connections with students like Brandon Casares, a paving engineer who graduated from the civil engineering program at TAMU in 2022.

Brandon met members of the Oak Hill Parkway project team at a campus job fair, where he learned about the project as well as Balfour Beatty’s people-first culture. Brandon went through the interview process prior to graduation, and by the time he walked across the stage and received his diploma, he knew he was starting his career with Balfour Beatty.

“I was so excited to be hired before I graduated,” says Brandon. “My friends and I had a lot of anxiety around beginning the next chapter of our lives. Knowing that I had a job on an incredible project with a great company was very comforting.”

One year into his time with Balfour Beatty, Brandon supports paving operations at Oak Hill Parkway through managing materials, planning, scheduling and anticipating potential challenges. His college professors prepared him for a job in construction by teaching him the basic tenets of the industry; now he relies on “professors” on the job like Area Operations Manager Dave Trent to guide him on the project.

“Nobody expected me to be an expert right out of college, and there were a lot of things I could only learn on the jobsite,” says Brandon. “People like Dave Trent have helped me grow in my knowledge and are always giving me opportunities to learn new things.”

The Road to Success

As our teams in Texas build groundbreaking civil infrastructure projects, we will continue to turn to TAMU to hire some of our best and brightest. Through jobsite tours and school visits, our Oak Hill Parkway teammates hope to motivate TAMU students to recognize the myriad of possibilities within the construction industry and encourage them to begin their road to success with Balfour Beatty.