Building Tomorrow’s St. Louis Construction

industry on a Solid Foundation

The St. Louis Construction Forum Education Foundation

What if, by bringing the best and brightest minds in the St. Louis construction industry together, we could test some potential solutions to some of its most vexing problems?

What if, through individual mentoring and program support, we could help encourage bright young minds to enter our industry, where they could help shape the future?

In founding Construction Forum St. Louis in late 2013 the organization’s leadership wrote,
“We believe that when the construction community comes together to network, discuss ideas, and share information we are all better for it.” Construction Forum STL was incorporated as a 501c(4) nonprofit civic organization.

From the organization’s beginning, the concept and mission of Construction Forum STL has included:

Supporting original, action-oriented, academic research aimed at addressing key industry issues.

Fostering construction-focused K-12 STEM education to help develop and encourage our industry’s next generation of practitioners in all disciplines – management, labor, designers, suppliers, and owners.

The standard for quality in action research is that the research results in desired change.

— Steve Bannes, MSE — Director, Sever Institute, Graduate Studies in Construction Management at Washington University
Member Board of Directors, Construction Forum St. Louis and Construction Forum Education Foundation —

In April of 2015, the board of directors of the Construction Forum St. Louis, with the support of the Forum’s board of advisors, voted to incorporate The Construction Forum Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable foundation. The bylaws of the organization state that among its purposes are:

To advance, improve, and promote effective construction methods, practices, communication and to generally advance the St. Louis construction industry.

To conduct original research in partnership with St. Louis area universities, educational institutions, industry trade organizations and companies on topics relating to construction.

To create studies and surveys for the purpose of disseminating information related to the St. Louis construction industry.

Through the educational opportunities and research conducted, to assist and encourage St. Louis area construction companies and professionals to reach the highest levels of effectiveness, efficiency, and achievement.

To promote STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) Education among area public and private primary and secondary schools with the purpose of encouraging and preparing area youth for a career in the St. Louis construction industry.

The Construction Education Foundation has a separate board of directors and governance from Construction Forum St. Louis. Among the founding directors are:

Marcelo Azambuja, PhD — SIUE, Assistant Professor, Department of Construction

Dave Baker, EdD – Interim Director of College and Career Readiness – Special School District

Steve Bannes, MSE — Board Member, Construction Forum St. Louis; Director, Sever Institute, Graduate Studies in Construction Management at Washington University

Joe Blanner, MA, JD – President Construction Forum St. Louis; Partner, McCarthy Leonard Kaemmerer

Mark Carlie, MBA – Board Member Construction Forum St. Louis; Senior Member Stone Carlie & Company CPAs

• Ed Choklek, Executive Director, Construction Forum Education Foundation

 Steve Faust, AS/E – Business Development/Diversity Coordinator, icon Mechanical

Tom Finan, MA — Executive Director, Construction Forum St. Louis

John Gaal, EdD – Director of Training and Workforce Development, Carpenters District Council of St. Louis and Vicinity

Deborah Henry, PhD — St. Louis Community College, Professor of History, Research field: “Race and the Building Trades”

Michael Kennedy, BS, Business Management, President, KAI-DB

Ronaldo Luna, PhD — Dean of Civil Engineering, St. Louis University

Sandra Marks, MBA — Senior Vice President, Clayco, principal Marks and Associates

Arthur McCoy, PhD — Chief Academic Officer/Superintendent, The MIND Research Institute

W. Eric Showalter Ph.D., P.E., LEED AP, M.ASCE —  Associate Teaching Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Associate Director of Freshman Engineering Program, Missouri University of Science and Technology

In learning environments with cradle-to-career supports, a culture of success thrives.  We must advocate for and support transformative program and conceptual learning opportunities for millions more students to experience creativity, problem solving, technical skills, adaptability, perseverance and critical thinking.

— Arthur McCoy, PhD — Chief Academic Officer/Superintendent, The MIND Research Institute
Member, Board of Directors, Construction Forum Education Foundation —
Construction Forum Education Foundation is taking a two-pronged approach toward knowledge-based
support of our industry’s future:

Action-Focused Research, modeled after the successful formula developed by the Construction Industry Institute of collaboration between academics and practitioners in the industry. Specifically, the Foundation directors will evaluate potential topics/areas for research. The research will consist of a) Identifying an issue/problem; b) Posing a potential solution; c) Testing that solution in a controlled environment; and d) Evaluating the success of that intervention.

Construction-Focused K-12 STEM Support will identify opportunities to assist bright young minds in developing their interest in the construction industry, both on an individual basis and through existing STEM entities. The effort will help expose young thinkers to the technological marvel of modern construction. The Foundation’s primary focus in doing this work will underserved populations of children, who might otherwise not have access to the construction industry and to STEM enhancement.


We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.

— Winston Churchill —

Your support is needed to make the work of the Construction Forum Education Foundation possible. There are a number of a ways in which you can be involved. All gifts to the Foundation will be recognized on the Foundation website, in literature, and at Foundation events.

1.) Involvement in Foundation programs – as an advisor, mentor, or program participant.

2.) Individual gifts – of any amount.

3.) Major corporate, foundation, and individual gifts:

“Footing” Gifts – which lay the platform on which the Foundation is built, start at $1000. footnew_300
“Soldier Course” Gifts – named for the rows of individual masonry bricks or blocks that stand together to build a strong structure, start at $2,500. soldiernew_300
“Pillar” Gifts – start at $5,000. They may be earmarked for specific types of projects, for example research, or STEM mentoring for K-12. 32231064_l_opt3002
“Cornerstone” Gifts – start at $10,000. Recognition may include name recognition on a published Foundation study or project. Cornerstone Gifts may be given in the form of annual pledges corner
“Keystone” Gifts – start at $50,000. They may be earmarked for specific Forum initiatives or to endow particular types of projects. Keystone Gifts may be given in the form of multi-annual pledges. 37846352_ml_opt300

Whatever your contribution, your help is needed and appreciated! Together we can make St. Louis a better place to live, work, and build.

Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.

— Ludwig Mies van der Rohe —


If you’d like to know more about the Construction Forum Education Foundation or you are interested in helping or becoming involved, please contact us. We’d love to help you.

CFSTL-LOGO-FINAL(O)stroke.Tom Finan (Executive Director)
Construction Forum STL
3245 Hampton Ave., Second Floor
St. Louis, MO 63139
Direct (314.880.2063)     Cell (314.743.7505) •

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