Samuel Ariaratnam, professor and chair of the construction engineering program in the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University, has been named the Beavers-Ames Chair in Heavy Construction after years of involvement with the organization.


The Beavers-Ames Chair in Heavy Construction was established at ASU to bolster construction management and engineering education for undergraduate students and to promote the heavy construction industry.


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“Sam’s passion, energy and enthusiasm for all that we do in our enterprise is unparalleled. He is the first to step up to help advance an initiative or champion a cause,” says Ram Pendyala, the director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “He always makes time to engage, collaborate and brainstorm new and exciting ideas. Even in the midst of the pandemic replete with Zoom meetings and virtual engagements, Sam has consistently walked the halls of College Avenue Commons to knock on doors, connect in person and check on the welfare of others.”


The position honors Bill Ames and Wink Ames, who passed away in late 2020, and was established by trustees of the Beavers Charitable Trust in recognition of the Ames family’s generations of support of the construction industry and construction education in California and Arizona.


“I want to recognize Wink Ames, as he was a wonderful man and he was such an inspiration to our program,” Ariaratnam says. “Since I arrived here on faculty in 2001, he was always a big supporter of what we do at ASU and in the construction programs, and I’m honored to be the Beavers-Ames Chair of Heavy Construction to be able to continue some of the great things that he did.”


The Beavers’ investment in the professorship is with the goal of encouraging students to pursue careers in the heavy construction industry and help them foster connections with professionals in the industry.


“In today’s environment, the typical hiring for permanent employment of graduates involves summer internships that provide both the student and a company time to determine if they are a good fit,” says Dave Woods, the executive director of the Beavers. “We hope that partnering with Dr. A will create opportunities for students to find internships and permanent jobs with heavy civil contractors, ideally Beavers member companies.”


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