Industry Connections Report | 2019



Dean Wirtanen, an assistant professor in the construction major at UW-Stout, routinely takes his students to job sites and to manufacturers for on-site experience. Recently Wirtanen took a “field trip” by himself, although his students still will be the beneficiaries. He helped on three construction projects with Market & Johnson Inc., an Eau Claire-based company. The work was part of a 10-week, 400-hour Faculty Externship through Associated General Contractors of America’s Education and Research Foundation, with equal financial support from Market & Johnson and UW-Stout. The goal of the externship is to make sure professors — and therefore their students — are up to date with industry best practices and standards. “It will affect every course I teach in a very positive way,” Wirtanen said. Wirtanen didn’t just observe but, per the internship, was part of the crew. He helped with a six-story apartment-commercial complex, a three-story apartment building and a renovation, all in Eau Claire. His duties included estimating, getting bids from subcontractors, hiring subcontractors and preparing and updating construction schedules.

Several other crew members on the projects were UW-Stout alumni, including Matt Faulkner, an executive vice president with Market & Johnson. He also is on UW-Stout’s construction advisory committee. “Most students end up working for a general contractor, or subcontractor, who works for general contractors,” Wirtanen said. “The externship is directed at where our graduates will end up.” Associated General Contractors is a professional organization for contractors who work in the construction industry. The externship was developed by members of the AGC Education and Research Foundation and the Associated Schools of Construction.

Dean Wirtanen, an associate professor in the construction program at UW-Stout, visits the Haymarket Landing building site in Eau Claire, one of three he worked during an internship with Market & Johnson Inc.


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