Posted on Mar 9, 2017

Image via California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo

Did you know? The Kerrie Kelly Companies offers a scholarship to two students in the Construction Management program at Cal Poly every year? With our CEO, Kerrie Kelly, as an alumni closely tied to the school, and our company culture of giving back and investing in a new generation of designers, architects, and creatives, we were excited to learn about this year’s recipients. Billy Markham, one of the two All-American Scholarship recipients is well on his way to a successful career in Construction Management. We were able to chat with him about how he became interested in the field, what his career plans are, and what advice he’d give to students pursuing their passions.

So Billy, what’s your major?

Construction management.

And what made you decide that Cal Poly is the school for you?

My sister recommended that I check it out. She’s in her fourth year here as an Agricultural Business major and told me to take a tour and see how I felt about it. It turns out that Cal Poly offered a great program for my major, construction management.

What’s been your favorite course thus far?

A cement based lab, CM-114. I’m only in my second quarter at Cal Poly so I only have 7-classes under my belt but the lab embraces a hands-on learning approach that the school is known for that I really like.

When studying construction management, what were you most surprised that you enjoyed?

I came into the construction management program not knowing what it was actually really all about. Most high schools don’t tell you what construction management is, or that it’s even an option. I was surprised that the curriculum aligned with exactly what I want to do– surprised in the best way.

How has Cal Poly’s¬†entrepreneurial spirit inspired you?

Having any support as a student trying to reach your goals and aspirations is super important. Seeing what Cal Poly’s construction management students are doing after graduation is always inspiring.

How has being a scholarship recipient affected your time at school?

College is expensive, point blank. Any support is an extra push toward my goals and reminds me why I’m studying and putting 25-35 hours in a week.

So what do you think you’ll be doing after graduation?

My father has a contracting business and I’d love to partner with him on future projects, specifically¬†developing residential areas in the Bay Area.

Who would you consider your ‘career idol,’ or someone you aspire to be like?

My dad. He graduated from Chico from a similar program that I’m in and now owns and runs a successful business.

What advice would you give to kids applying for the same degree?

I would tell them to make sure you’re doing something you’re passionate about. I’m incredibly lucky that I love what I’m doing every day, and not many kids get to go into programs certain of their passions. Though I unknowingly found that I was drawn to construction management, it’s important to research and put the hours in to make sure you’re selecting something that fits you perfectly.

What advice would you give to anyone exploring entrepreneurship?

Always ask questions. Don’t be afraid to be innovative.

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