Getting to know Brad Benhart
Brad Benhart is a clinical assistant professor of building construction management and a graduate of the program. Before returning to Purdue, he was a vice president at Pepper Construction Company in Chicago, Ill.
On being an industry advocate: I was a vice president of a large company, and I was an adjunct professor while I worked. I hired a lot of BCM students over the years. And the professors here told me I should come back. So we decided to give up the industry life and relocate to Purdue. I feel like a translator at times between industry and academia – making sure we are delivering job-ready students. Purdue can do so much more for industry, too. We have research and training. We can help organize the industry into a common voice.
On learning from his students: They give me a lot of energy. Their fresh, uncynical enthusiasm sometimes brings out brilliant ideas that we in industry miss because we are entrenched in our old habits. I love the fresh ideas students have.
On teaching vs. working in industry: In a lot of ways, they are similar. A good manager in industry mentors and communicates. As a professor, you are doing the same thing – mentoring the next generation.
On getting involved: This is my second year here, so we spent much of the first year figuring out things like where the preschool was. We are members at St. Tom’s, and my wife and I both volunteer with Daisy Scouts and Cumberland School. I am the chapter advisor for Associated General Contractors and the faculty advisor for the Construction Leadership Council.
On the near future: My short-term goal is to continue supporting CoT and BCM by increasing dialogue with industry. In fact, we are rolling out a continuing education program for construction field supervisors this week, which is something the industry has been asking for. I’d also like to utilize my industry background to help Purdue through a tough economy.
On his non-work focus: Family. We love living in a college town. It’s a great place to raise kids.