March 28, 2018 9:30AM
Shortly after, a recent PSU graduate joined the Summit team, and the relationship began to grow, as did Summit — now the largest new home builder in the Kansas City market as well as an emerging land development leader in the area. Last year, they permitted 375 homes and anticipate 400 in 2018.
Today, PSU's relationship with Summit means not only scholarships, but jobs. Summit sponsors the School of Construction's team at a national level in the National Association of Home Builders Student Competition and the International Builders Show with $10,000 in support. PSU has done well, coming in 11th out of 50 teams in 2017.
Summit also recently started a Summit Homes Scholarship program at PSU, which will provide $2,000 in annual financial aid to five students majoring in construction, with preference given to students majoring in residential construction.
"We have found that students from PSU receive a well-rounded education in the construction industry that allows them to jump into work in the 'real world' easily and begin contributing immediately," said Whitney Rinne, marketing manager for Summit Homes. "They are well-versed in purchasing and estimating processes, principles of project management and current protocols and procedures for safety."
And, Rinne noted, they are passionate and hard-working.
"They bring a fresh perspective and energy to our team," she said.
Chris Collins of Miller, Missouri, heard about PSU's construction program in high school and when Gorilla Advantage offered him in-state tuition, "it sealed the deal," he said.
After an internship with Summit, he got a job offer. Collins attributed his success to what he learned at PSU.
"Pitt has a pretty unique construction program. We did hands on things in our courses, each subject individually, from HVAC to plumbing," he said. "One of the things that has also been beneficial is the leadership they instill in us. Ethics, morals, and networking is a big deal."
"And, everyone who taught in our program came from a job or a career that they're now teaching," Collins said. "They're not just teaching by the book — they're helping us relate because they've gone through it."
Spencer Yohn, Summit's director of construction, landed a job with the company in 2013. He plans out the new project starts, manages trade partner relations, and sources new trade partners. His goal is to provide support to the area managers and the personal builders to get projects completed on time.
PSU prepared him with valuable experience in nearly all aspects of his job.
"Because of my education at Pitt I am able to understand how to create and read blueprints and plot plans, estimate projects, be organized, know how to utilize computers and technologies to be more efficient in the construction industry, and overall how to effectively manage a construction project and a team," he said. "I believe that I'm successful in my career due to the education and experience that I gained while at Pitt State."
Kyle King, a business major who graduated in 2008, is another Gorilla working for Summit.
"During the interview process, me being a Pitt State grad was a big deal. They were touting the relationship with Pitt State – they really try to get Pitt State alumni," King said. "Along with hands-on work experience in construction, I've turned my business management degree into something else."
He's now a project manager, or "personal builder," who works with clients from the pre-construction meeting through their certificate of occupancy.
"I run I all from start to end," he said. "The business program at Pitt helped me. You have to be self-motivated, independent. Our business school has such great ratings for the size of the school. I can't say enough good things about it."
King looks forward to returning to campus on a future recruiting trip to sign on more Gorillas.
Learn more about the http://www.pittstate.edu/department/construction/