News | November 02, 2022

College of EngineeringCollege of EngineeringGivingGivingNewsStudent success

FGCU celebrates $2.5M gift to construction management program

Contributors: James Greco, Photography

Florida Gulf Coast University’s construction management department received a $2.5 million gift from Stock Development. The funds will allow the program to continue building on the quality of the education and experiences it provides students preparing for careers in one of Southwest Florida’s most critical industries.

In recognition of the company’s generous commitment, the department within FGCU’s U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering has been named the Stock Development Department of Construction Management. It represents the first named academic department at FGCU.

Photo shows construction students
Construction management students learn the skills needed to supervise construction projects from start to finish, including scheduling, budgeting and managing materials and people.

“This program was built based on the needs of the local industry and the need to develop a high-quality workforce for the region,” said Long Nguyen, professor and chair of the department. “Stock Development has been deeply involved in starting the program. This investment shows their confidence in its quality.”

Stock Development is a diversified real estate company established 20 years ago in Naples under the leadership of K.C. and Brian Stock. Its executives have been actively involved at the university for years, serving on the FGCU Foundation Board and the engineering college’s Construction Industry Advisory Board.

“The university has done such a great job of growing over the years, to educate students so they can fulfill their dreams and better themselves,” said CEO Brian Stock. “We’re proud to support the construction management program’s growth. It’s a chance to give back to the community and to help the industry as a whole by incubating talent. There are a lot of good-paying and fulfilling positions in the industry.”

Construction ranks as one of the top economic drivers in Southwest Florida, but workforce demands aren’t being met, added Stock Development President Matt Sellick.

“We’re seeing a huge need for the next wave of industry professionals,” he said. “Our goal is to keep the talent coming through the university in Southwest Florida. We need them here.”

That includes FGCU students like Yulissa Valdez, a senior from Lehigh Acres.

“I chose construction management because it’s a growing industry with a lot of job security. There are so many roles within the construction industry, and there is a place for everyone,” she said. “This program has helped me be exposed to the different facets of the industry and find where I belong. As the program continues to grow, I hope more and more students can take advantage of the resources at FGCU in establishing themselves as future construction management professionals.”

Students like Valdez will benefit from Stock Development’s gift by having more access to scholarships and experiential learning activities like regional and national building competitions that teach skills not easily incorporated in the classroom, Long said. Faculty will also see opportunities for professional development and research partnerships with local industry leaders.

Nationally, the career outlook in construction management is better than the average of all sectors, with 8% job growth in the field projected through 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual income for construction managers is $95,260.

Just 4 years old, the FGCU construction management program has grown to 230 students and awarded its first four degrees last spring. Some of its courses are also offered at the graduate level for a construction management concentration, part of the engineering master’s degree. That means Stock Development’s gift will also benefit students in other programs.

“Interdisciplinary work is a core trait of U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering,” said Huzefa Kagdi, dean of the college. “This gift will clearly enable, inspire and sustain several symbiotic relationships among faculty, staff, students and community members across all our educational and scholarly programs in the college. This program was built by the community and for the community and of the community. It really represents the benefit of public-private partnerships.”

For more information, go to the program’s website.