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Building support for construction technology

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Mike Williams photo

Student Matt Williams

At first glance, the PCC Golf Challenge may look to be just about the game of golf. But behind the big swings and deft putts is a foundation of support for students.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, the PCC Golf Challenge, presented by Walsh, Emerick, Skanska and Howard S. Wright construction companies, will get underway at Heron Lakes Golf Course. Proceeds from the Challenge will fund a new Construction Technology Endowed Scholarship Fund, a General Scholarship Fund, program enhancements and special projects and equipment for the Building Construction Technology program.

"The Challenge is an exciting and enjoyable event to fund raise and friend-raise for those who support the construction industry and partners of Portland Community College," said Mike Drake, Foundation director. "The participation of these folks makes a difference in the lives of students at PCC."

The event may look simple, where golfers vie for prizes in putting contests, long drives, closest-to-pin and straight-drive competitions and a hole-in-one competition that could win them a new 2006 Volvo S-80 Sedan courtesy of Jim Fisher Volvo. However, the day of fun in the sun is really about students like Matt Williams.

The Salem native is in his third year in the Building Construction Technology program at the Rock Creek Campus. Williams smiles every time he looks at the 700-square-foot BCT shop. When he finishes school next year, he will have earned three associate’s degrees and certificates from the program and plans to work in residential construction right away.

"They do an excellent job," Williams said of the construction program. "The instructors’ knowledge and the courses are excellent. They are industry professionals who know what needs to be done. It’s a fun teaching environment where you learn while you work on putting together each step of a house. This makes it easier to learn."

Williams loves the hands-on instruction. He said if the courses were like lectures, he would have a harder time understanding the material. Williams also works at Home Depot, which has given him valuable experience learning about wood materials and customer service.

Each step of the Building Construction Technology program involves a stage of home building. They start with how to construct the foundation, make the structure frames and put together the roof, and they do it all outside so that students get used to the ever-changing Oregon climate. By the end of the year, students are able to construct smaller models to put to use the tools and techniques they have learned.

As he finishes his studies, he plans to earn a certificate in construction management and plans to specialize in cabinet making.

"This program is hands-on for sure," Williams said. "They not only show you how things are done but the instructors make it interesting."

It’s students like Matt Williams who will benefit the most from the PCC Golf Challenge. Williams will be the featured speaker during the evening banquet to drive this point home to the gathered industry professionals. And, it’s another chance to continue his learning in a field he loves.

"Networking is one of the biggest parts of the construction industry," Williams said. "If nobody knows who you are then you won’t find work. You have to learn to talk with industry professionals. It’s crucial."

For more information about the Golf Challenge or to donate time or funds, call 503-977-4382.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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