NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The construction management program at Stephen F. Austin State University is reinforcing its structure and goals with the establishment of an external board.
The board’s three inaugural members – John Glaze, Justin Jeffus and Calli Blankenship – were selected to provide insight on the construction industry, as well as help build the program into one of the nation’s best.
“The purpose of the external board is to guide, give insight on the industry, assist with field experience opportunities, provide guest lectures, assist with fundraising and scholarships, and help students obtain internships and jobs in the field,” said Sally Swearingen, associate professor in the James I. Perkins College of Education’s School of Human Sciences and facilitator of the construction management program.
The interdisciplinary program was established in 2019 and has courses in the Rusche College of Business, College of Sciences and Mathematics, and Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. Board members will help ensure the program is teaching industry-appropriate content to make the degree successful.
The external board meets four times throughout the year, with the next meeting set for April 29. Read about each construction management advisory board member below.
John Glaze ’94
Glaze has kept his nose to the grindstone for a long time.
At six years old, he understood the value of hard work, beginning a paper route for the Houston Chronicle after school and on weekends. Fast forward to today, that hard work paved a path to his current role as president of Fast Track Specialties.
After attaining a criminal justice degree, Glaze’s career took an unexpected route when he joined his family’s specialty construction product business, which he later left to begin his own company. That small change catapulted Glaze into a career he loves.
Glaze is approaching 32 years in the construction industry. Along with being the leader of the Fast Track Specialties, he also serves on a number of boards, including as chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston. He also co-founded a nonprofit called “Building New Foundations” for at-risk youth, children in foster care and kids who have aged out of foster care.
Now in his new role as a board member of SFA’s construction management program, Glaze will put his unrelenting work ethic and expertise to use.
“The best part of being involved on a Construction Management Advisory Board is that the board can give feedback in real time of what the industry needs,” Glaze said. “That can include technology, knowing how to read a contract, scheduling the sequencing of a project, or being able to sketch a detail to give a designer the look they want in a way that is constructible.”
Justin Jeffus ’98
Jeffus is no stranger to building something from the ground up.
Jeffus, who earned a degree in agriculture, has worked in construction management for 21 years and is currently a partner and senior vice-president of MYCON General Contractors. In this role, he’s involved in all aspects of leadership, including contract negotiations, business development, strategic planning, and providing growth strategies and goals for the company’s business sector.
Now, in Jeffus’ new role as board member of SFA’s construction management program, his experience in the industry will provide a blueprint for the program’s future.
“My experience is multifaceted in the aspect of knowing what the industry needs and wants and the demands placed on students as they graduate and advance through their careers,” Jeffus said.
His goals mirror the purpose of the board: to help build a program that produces high-quality, knowledgeable workers for the future. But to Jeffus, being on the board also is an opportunity to help it compete at the highest level.
“Within the next 10 years, SFA’s construction management program will rival the best programs in the country,” Jeffus said.
Calli Blankenship ’18
Blankenship couldn’t have drawn up a more ideal career for herself.
Earning a degree in interior design, Blankenship translated her eye for design into a career in construction. She currently serves as a project designer with the Houston-based construction company, Kingham Dalton Wilson, where she works closely with project managers to produce construction drawings and oversee construction administration.
“I have always like interior design and thought it would be a fun career to go into,” Blankenship said. “My dad also worked in construction the majority of my life, which heavily increased my interest in the architectural and construction side of design.”
Blankenship’s experience brings unique architectural and design expertise to the board. According to Blankenship, having the interior design and construction management programs housed in the School of Human Sciences will allow interdisciplinary opportunities for collaboration as well as real-world practice for students in both programs.
“I see the program in 10 years being hopefully one of the largest offered at SFA,” Blankenship said. “I believe the demand for construction management is growing every year, and I would love to see SFA use the resources it has to teach students how to enter this career path.”
To learn more about SFA’s construction management program, visit sfasu.edu/hms/academics/construction-management.