The Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University shines the spotlight on graduating senior, Anthony Beckstead, who is from Brentwood, California, a small farm town in the East Bay area. He was born and raised in this town as were many of his family members. He comes from a family of farmers, rooted there since the early 1900s.
Beckstead came to CSU mainly because construction management was a major offered here. After touring the campus, he said, “I instantly fell in love with the beauty of the campus, the historical buildings, the gorgeous landscape, the history behind the university and the overall community of Fort Collins.”
He learned about CSU from his sister-in-law who had attended; Beckstead knew nothing about the school other than what she told him. When he figured out CSU offered a major in construction management, he applied and was accepted.
Asked about his CSU experience, Beckstead said, “College prepares one in general, but CSU specifically has prepared me by teaching me to care for others and work as a team, to be adventurous, and to not be afraid to make mistakes. I didn’t know a single person in Colorado when I moved out here, CSU forced me to network and meet great people who I will never forget and with whom I will stay in touch. There were many tough times during college. However, the entire CM department is so supportive, and you never feel alone. Many students are in the same boat as you, collaboration and communication between students is typically encouraged by professors. This makes CM feel like a family.”
Internship learning experiences
Wanting to complete an internship with a company that was different than the big-name general contractors that many prefer, Beckstead started reaching out to development companies to try to get his foot in the door with the real estate development side of construction.
His first internship was with Confluence Builders, a development company out of Golden, Colorado. He worked on a seven-story mixed-use, condominium building project, with a six-story parking garage attached to it in the heart of downtown Castle Rock, Colorado. Confluence was the owner and acting general contractor. Beckstead lived across the street from the site in a mixed-use multi-family apartment complex that Confluence had previously built. The Confluence office was located one floor below his apartment.
He didn’t get much of the real estate development experience for which he’d hoped, as he was mostly in the field completing quality control tasks: checking safety, reviewing submittals, documenting RFIs and inspections. However, he enjoyed being in the field, communicating with all of the subcontractors, engineers, and the team in the office. Beckstead said, “Overall, I had a great experience. However, I knew I couldn’t work for a general contractor long-term.”
His second internship was with Helix Electric in Oakland, California. He was on the commercial team working on 10+ jobs at once. They completed medical office buildings, historic buildings, clean rooms, schools, mixed-use commercial, etc. Beckstead was mostly in the office compiling submittals, communicating with the general contractor and subcontractors, completing various takeoffs, completing monthly safety inspections, and much more. He enjoyed this internship, learned a lot, and was successful. Basically, his internships accomplished their purpose: provide experience and perspective.
Regarding specific CM involvement, Beckstead offered high praise. He served as president of the CM student Board of Directors (BoD), treasurer of the MEP club, served on the mechanical competition team, and also was a member of the WIC student club. He attributes his eagerness and work ethic to some of his CM instructors.
He said, “I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in one of the only ‘Introduction to Construction Management’ courses Professor Mohammed Mehany ever taught. That was my very first college class ever. Professor Mehany was extremely motivating because his expectations are so high. We didn’t know our own capabilities. He made me confident in my ability to learn and apply the knowledge. Professor Mehany has always been there for me whenever I stop by his office. I will never forget him!”
He continues, “Also, Anna Fontana is incredible at what she does, and her effort level is always 110%. I am so thankful for her as an adviser to the student BoD; she knows how to guide me in the right direction, and makes sure I have everything necessary to stay going forward in that direction. Overall, there hasn’t been a single class, professor, or student that has affected me negatively; I strongly believe that I have had special experiences with every class and professor or faculty member in the Construction Management Program.”
Plans for the future
Beckstead’s immediate plans after graduation include a move back to Northern California to start working for an electrical subcontractor, Helix Electric in Oakland, California. Beckstead’s project executive asked him about his future goals, while they had lunch one day during his internship.
Beckstead responded, “I have many goals but the most important are to become a project manager when ready, not just to promote to have a title; to become a great husband and father, which means family comes first and I will have to manage my time so that I can be such; and a long-term goal is to become an executive or start my own company, and hopefully move out of California.” The executive appreciated those answers and, on the spot, pulled out an envelope containing Beckstead’s full-time offer.
Asked what advice he might offer current or new students in the CM program, Beckstead had no hesitation. “Work hard, play hard,” he said. “Knowledge is something that no one can ever take from you. Respect yourself and soak up as much as you can. With that being said, balance in life is very important – HAVE FUN! You can even have fun working on an estimating project for hours in the lab, as life is about perspective; take advantage of that. Explore Colorado, travel to other states, stay in touch with family, and never be afraid to fail! Take care of the days, and the years will take care of themselves.”
The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.