Oct 7, 2011

UC Alums Help Construct Florida Atlantic University Football Stadium

This past summer we caught up with two UC alums Sean Stichter, BS in Construction Management ‘03 and John Pearch, BS in Civil Engineering ’08, while they worked on the Florida Atlantic University Football Stadium.  See what they had to say about their experiences at UC and how UC has helped them in their careers.

What were some of the most memorable experiences you had at UC?
Sean: UC’s win over Wisconsin (10th in the Nation at the time) in 1999 (we rushed the field and the goal posts came down); being part of Homecoming Committee and working to create a memorable Homecoming experience; attending Colin Powell’s on campus speech in 1998; and watching great UC basketball players such as Kenyon Martin, Danny Fortson, and many others.  My friend and I attended almost every home game.

John: Serving as Chapter President for the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity; and viewing first-hand the transformation of the campus construction from endless rows of temporary chain-link fencing to the beautiful campus showcased today.

How did UC transform your life?
City Place Office Tower
Sean: UC not only gave me a top rate education, but helped to develop the life skills which have allowed me to be successful in business as well as in my home life.  In addition the 6 quarters of co-op experience allowed me to hit the ground running after graduation and land a great job.

John: UC exposed me to the professional world through the co-operative learning program, including three separate projects with my current employer.  It helped me to “get my foot in the door” during a time where competition for job placement was at its highest.

What makes you proud to be a graduate of UC?
Sean: Recruiting and talking with young talent coming out of the construction management and civil engineering programs every year.

(left to right) Sean Stichter, Jonathan Pearch,
Dr. Saad of UC, and Jeff Zebrasky UC co-op
John: I’m proud to be a Bearcat because of the weight that the degree carries in our profession.  Due to the success of the co-op program, UC graduates are known for entering into the profession with more knowledge and understanding of the work tasks, thus exceeding employer expectations. I’m proud to carry on the tradition.

What did you do after graduation?
Sean: I was recruited by a prominent national Commercial Construction Management Firm (Centex Construction) directly out of college.  The firm was primarily based in Florida and Texas but has since been acquired by and international firm (Balfour Beatty Construction).  I’m currently working with the same company as a Project Manager managing the construction of the new Florida Atlantic University Football Stadium.
John: Following graduation, I moved to Orlando, Florida to participate with the construction management team in the construction of a $250 million expansion to the existing four-star Peabody Hotel.  I am currently operating as a Project Engineer for the construction team building the new Florida Atlantic University football stadium.

What was your role in the Florida Atlantic University Football Stadium project? What was it like to work on the stadium?
Sean: I’m currently one of two Balfour Beatty Project Managers Assigned to the Project.  Early in the conceptual phase of the project I helped with estimating the project cost, establishing budgets, and identifying savings opportunities.  I joined the stadium project team about halfway through the construction process.  This was due to the fact that I was managing the construction of a High School Football Stadium in Pompano Beach, Florida.  Once I joined the Stadium team I took over management of the purchasing and buy out of the Commissary and Concessions package which was roughly 3 million dollars of addition scope.  In addition I have taken on the responsibility of managing the completion of the exterior skin of the 6 story pressbox tower.  My daily tasks include coordination of trade work, creation and issuance of contracts, creation and issuance of change orders, and Coordination with Owners & Architects.

John: My role for the project is to aid the project managers in specific scopes of construction including the site work, finishes, and miscellaneous metal work.  It is my job to read and evaluate the contract drawings and specifications to ensure correct installation by my respective subcontractors whom I manage.  Meanwhile, I also monitor progress of the work and any subcontractor cost impacts via changes to the drawings. The experience of working on the stadium can be defined as unique yet challenging.  As a member of the construction team, you not only have to build as it is shown on the contract drawings, but also for the end user.  In this case, the construction team communicates daily with the FAU athletic department, the coaching staff of the football team, the administration of the Sun Belt Conference, and broadcasting networks such as ESPN.  Additionally, the project is defined as a “fast-track” project involving a start date and finish date for the 30,000 seat stadium only 12months apart.

Anything else you would like to highlight about your career or your relationship to UC? 
Sean: Since graduating from the University of Cincinnati I have been involved in the construction the Port Everglades Security Upgrades Project, Palm Beach International Airport Terminal Expansions, Palm Beach Therapeutic Center and Special Olympics Gymnasium, City Place Office Tower, Blanche Ely High School Football Stadium, and the Florida Atlantic University Football Stadium.  I’m constantly pushing to hire more UC co-op students and full time graduates.  Over the past decade Balfour Beatty has had an successful history of employing UC graduates, and look to not only continue that relationship, but to strengthen it.

We recently hosted a representative of the University of Cincinnati Construction Management Program here in South Florida.  During his visit he was able to review our operations, tour our jobsites, and see firsthand what the UC co-op students and graduates do.  It was a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the University (see first picture).

John: My time spent at UC was unforgettable.  I continue to be an advocate for the University for any young, uncertain minds that are wavering between selections for higher learning institutions.  I inform them that they would be regretful for not putting UC at the top of the list.

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