The Ram Built Hard Hat Award, first presented in 2004, is a recognition bestowed upon members of the Colorado State University community for their invaluable contributions to construction education. This year’s recipient is certainly no exception.
When Steve Jaouen retired from the Department of Construction Management in July 2009, he pursued a logging business, continued his work on the ski patrol at Winter Park, and worked at restoring his 1931 Model A pick-up. His future plans at that time included finishing and getting his Ph.D. in technology of industries, possibly going to Antarctica, and continuing with his hobbies of skiing, climbing and hiking. So it didn’t seem quite right to say that the CM professor retired; Jaouen simply traded his career as an educator for a host of other activities for which he’s also passionate.
In the 10+ years since retiring, Jaouen has been traveling frequently to the Spokane region of Washington to visit and work with family members. He was also elected president of the board that is charged with the upkeep and maintenance of a historic building, built in 1924-25, that is directly across the street from the state capital (Denver), and which he has found quite interesting. He also enjoys participating in car rallies with his MG – “when running.”
A few years ago, his friend, also a graduate of CSU, assisted Jaouen in adding a room above his garage in order to build his American Flyer model railroad empire. “The building of the railroad has taken many hours of fun and frustration over the years,” Jaouen said.
Career in higher education
A third-generation CSU graduate, Jaouen began his teaching career in 1966, after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Western State College. In the late 1960s, he served in Vietnam. Afterwards, he farmed, ranched, and worked in construction for such companies as Kiewit, Huebner, Palmer, Turnmar, Andersen, and Wilson.
Jaouen received his master’s degree in 1980 in industrial sciences from CSU. In 1990, he began teaching classes in construction management. Over the years he taught undergraduate and graduate-level classes in construction safety, safety in the school environment, technology studies in the classroom, alternative energy for homes and business, power and energy, heavy equipment methods and management, facility design and management, and more.
Investing in people
One of the highlights of his 21-year career at CSU, he says, was convincing a computer science student who was intent on dropping out to instead change his major to technology education and remain in school. The student went on to earn his master’s degree. Jaouen says he always finds it rewarding when a student who graduated several years ago comes up to him and says, “Professor Jaouen, you probably don’t remember me, but I want to thank you for everything you taught me.”
Jaouen worked with many student clubs including the Society for International Technology Education, served as faculty advisor for student chapters of Sigma Lambda Chi, the Associated Builders and Contractors club, and the Heavy Civil Associated Schools of Construction competition team. He worked with the American Society for Professional Estimators in Denver to begin the student chapter at CSU, and he also sponsored the Alpine Ski Team. Jaouen always worked to engage students by “respecting them as individuals, appreciating their abilities, and by expecting them to do their best.”
In 2007, Jaouen was recognized for his outstanding teaching by the Associated Builders and Contractors, who presented him with the John Trimmer Excellence in Teaching Award that year.
His classroom motto was: “Entertain greatly, educate gently.” Jaouen enjoyed teaching safety classes, as “they are of the utmost importance,” he said, “and estimating classes because estimating is at the heart of construction; and trucks because it involves dirt and big toys.” He enjoyed the graduate classes the most “because of their small size.”
Jaouen currently resides in Greeley, Colorado. His future plans include continued travel in his RV, hiking and camping around the state with family, and “spoiling the three grandsons, and thanking God for all the many blessings he has bestowed on me and my family!”
Reflecting on his time teaching in CM, Jaouen said, “Building buildings was a great career; however, building people and touching the future through the CM department was a much more rewarding aspect of one’s life.”