CIM Program Expands to South Dakota State University

The National Steering Committee (NSC) for the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program has announced that South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering will soon offer a degree in CIM.

The announcement comes after a six-month selection process by the NSC and the North Central Region (NCR) patrons for the CIM program – a business intensive program that awards students with a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Concrete Industry Management. The NSC and the NCR patron groups are combining resources to provide approximately $1.5 million to SDSU over five years to develop the degree program and assist in employing a CIM program director, recruiter, and laboratory manager.

“We are excited to be selected as the university to fill the needs of the concrete industry, not only in South Dakota, but throughout the entire North Central Region,” says SDSU President Barry Dunn. “The program supports our mission as a land-grant university of addressing workforce needs in the communities of South Dakota and beyond. These Jackrabbits will become knowledgeable in concrete technology and techniques, capable of managing people and systems, skilled in technical sales and expected to advance to industry leadership positions.”

“We are pleased to welcome SDSU to the family of CIM universities,” states NSC chairman Michael Schneider. “This partnership will be a great asset to the CIM program and concrete industry. We look forward to a long relationship with this exceptional university.”

“The concrete industry recognized the need for the CIM program in the Midwest,” says NCR patrons chairman Thor Becken. “Once the decision was made to develop a CIM program in the region, it took two years of planning and gaining industry member support before a search committee began interviewing various universities about potential interest in offering a CIM degree.”

The CIM program provides graduates with both technical knowledge and management expertise to be hired into entry- or middle-level management positions. “The goal of CIM is to develop the future leaders of the concrete industry,” states Becken. “This is important because our industry, like many, is aging, higher-level managers are starting to retire and we’re looking for the next generation of leaders to lead the concrete industry.”

“The selection committee, made up of NSC and NCR members, overwhelmingly agreed that SDSU was the most logical and best choice for us,” says Eugene Martineau, CIM NSC executive director. “SDSU’s prior experience with public/private partnerships, combined with how the Lohr College of Engineering stresses developing programs that engage industry needs, were critical in our decision making. It was obvious that working with industry is not something new to the university. During our visit to SDSU, it was evident that the president and provost down through the dean and department heads were all-in for establishing a CIM program.”

“The CIM degree is a really nice fit for us,” says Teresa Hall, who leads SDSU’s Department of Construction and Operations Management. “If you look at a Venn diagram, you have construction management and operations management and the CIM degree comes up between the two of them, so it works,” Hall says. “While the degree is very focused on a particular material, it’s one that goes hand in hand with construction since concrete is used in virtually every form of construction.”

“We are in an interesting place within Lohr College and the School of Design,” says Hall. “We have everything on the design-build continuum. There are a lot of great things happening at SDSU and there is no reason this degree program shouldn’t flourish.”

According to Art Thompson, NCR site selection committee chairman, there were multiple career openings last year for every CIM graduate. “These jobs include substantial starting salaries as well as full complements of benefits. For any student who is considering a career in a construction related industry, I would highly encourage them to learn more about the CIM program.”

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