Meet Kenneth Beckwith, building construction management major

Created on: August 27, 2013
Meet Kenneth Beckwith, building construction management major

Kenneth Beckwith, Kokomo, Indiana

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Making a difference

My goal is to have my own company, to hire BCM students, and to use my expertise to give back to Habitat for Humanity. I enjoy community service and using my expertise to help other people.

My major

We are preparing to be the person out on a construction site who is managing the site and making it happen. We focus on organizing subcontractors and contractors to work together to turn a job site into a building. BCM17500 (Construction Materials and Methods) is the first real BCM class you take. It introduces you to BCM. You build stuff, yes, and you also start to do calculations and estimations; it ties everything together. From there you can start to see what area you want to specialize in. Personally, I like electrical and mechanical construction.

Choosing BCM

In 2003, there was a flood in my hometown, and our basement flooded. My dad and I demolished and rebuilt it from scratch. During the re-construction phase I really enjoyed seeing the empty basement turn into a livable space due to the work my dad and I put into it. This was really rewarding and made me want to pursue a construction career. Also, during my senior year of high school, I was the leader of our FIRST robotics team, where I learned how to work on a team with students and local engineers. BCM brings together construction and leadership. When I was looking at programs, I liked Purdue’s curriculum and the fact that the professors had experience in the field.

Hands-on projects

My favorite class project so far was in BCM 21601 (Electrical Construction). For our final project we had to design the electrical for a room and then wire it. We did the whole process, from the management to the hands-on work.

Getting experience

As part of my 800 hours of required work experience, I’ve had three great summer jobs. I worked for Gaylor, an electrical contractor, as a project engineer intern, where I helped with the computer side of the business, billing and cash flow. And they even had me work out in the field. The next summer I worked for DPR Construction in Washington, D.C. I conducted safety audits, walk-through inspections and managed the blinds contractor on a data center construction project. I don’t believe I would have obtained the DPR job if I weren’t a Purdue student. This past summer, I worked in the Purdue University construction scheduling office.

A community of majors

BCMentors is a student group that focuses on academic success in our major, recruitment and personal growth.  It creates a community among our majors; we’re like a family. We all know each other and get help if we need it. Last year, I helped coordinate BCMentors service projects with the local Humane Society, including installing a new roof for them.