MTSU and industry celebrate 25 years of real-life success – and Brown walks away with awards


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Heather Brown, longtime professor and former director of the MTSU School of Concrete and Construction Management, was recognized by peers and industry leaders at a special event on Tuesday, October 26 at the Embassy Suites Hotel Nashville SE Murfreesboro.

Brown, who was the face of the MTSU program for 20 years before leaving this year to become vice president of quality control and quality assurance at Irving Materials Inc., based in Indianapolis, Indiana, was awarded the Champion award from the National Steering Committee for Concrete Industry Management. on the 25th anniversary of the organization.

The former MTSU CIM leader, a Tennessee Concrete Association Lifetime Hall of Fame member, also received a Patrons Award from the MTSU CIM, a group of concrete professionals serving the academic program and students by through financial assistance, marketing and mentoring in a non-profit capacity.

MTSU hosted the anniversary celebration, bringing together over 100 industry leaders from across the country, guests and other CIM universities – Texas State, New Jersey Institute of Technology, California State University-Chico and the most recent member, South Dakota State University, who joins in September.

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In pre-recorded video remarks, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, who also attended the special occasion, called the CIM program “an incredible partnership between academia and industry, and as one from the flagship institutions that started 25 years ago, we are delighted to see the incredible results and the production of some outstanding employees for the industry.

“On behalf of all of us at MTSU, I want to thank all of our partners for the great support you have given us all over the years. We are considered a premier program because of your generosity and look forward to many years of association and industry partnerships, ”added McPhee, who praised faculty, staff, partners , the patrons of the ICM and the national steering committee under the direction of Gene Martineu. , and later personally greeted the guests.

Kelly Strong, who became MTSU’s director of concrete and construction management in August 2020, praised the national organization.

“The success of the faculty, staff and students of the undergraduate and graduate programs in Concrete Industry Management at MTSU would not have been possible without the continued support of the National Steering Committee for the Management of the Concrete Industry. industry and their patrons over the past 20 years.

“Their support has included hiring our students for full-time positions and internships, funding for research programs, generous scholarships, networking events for students, faculty and staff,” and more recently, generous donations that have enabled us to innovate on the iconic new building of the concrete and construction school should open its doors in the fall of 2022. “

One of the recognized participants was former student Chris Davenport (class of 2000) of Murfreesboro – the very first ICM graduate and owner of Southern Concrete Machinery.

History of CIM at MTSU

In 1995, leaders in the concrete industry “recognized the need for a program to develop skills specifically tailored to the concrete and construction industry,” said Jon Huddleston, clinical associate professor responsible for guiding the program.

These leaders included Ward Poston, Bob Elliott and the late Jim Speakman and Woody Crawley, who had the support of Dean Earl Keese of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at MTSU. Austin Chaney became the first president of the MTSU CIM. A purse is named after Keese.

MTSU began its program with two students in 1996 – and popularity spread to other schools across the country over the next decade.

The National Steering Committee held its first CIM auction in 2006 at the prestigious World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Nevada, an event McPhee later attended.

MTSU’s program expanded through an Executive MBA degree in 2012, with the first graduates in 2014.

In 2020, there were nearly 475 MTSU students pursuing CIM degrees.

MTSU inaugurated a $ 40.1 million, 54,000 square foot building this year slated to open in August 2022. It includes classrooms, offices for faculty and staff, and laboratories.

Impact of ICM

More than 1,300 students have graduated from the MTSU Concrete program.

ICM patrons and supporting companies have donated more than $ 5 million to the MTSU program since 1996, Huddleston said. Golf tournaments, trap shots and other grassroots efforts helped raise funds

The ICM National Steering Committee

This committee is a broad industrial coalition at national level, dedicated to a collaborative process in partnership with the institutions of the ICM and the groups of patrons of the local industry. Its mission is to develop, support, promote and maintain a network of higher education institutions with programs producing graduates with CIM degrees.

The organization’s executive director, Gene Martineu of Jacksonville, Fla., And president Mike Schneider, vice president / head of human resources at Baker Concrete Construction Inc. in Hamilton, Ohio, were among the leaders of the celebration. Schneider served as master of ceremonies. Martineu founded US Concrete, retiring in 2007.


Over 25 awards were presented – 16 by the ICM National Steering Committee and 10 by ICM MTSU Patrons. McPhee received one of the awards and explained how Posten made a point of stopping to see him on the then new president’s first day on the job in 2001.

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