Missouri construction companies and Missouri University of Science and Technology will combine their expertise to spur innovation in the construction industry. The Missouri Consortium for Construction Innovation (MoCCI) was established Thursday with a celebration at the headquarters of a charter member, Brinkmann Constructors in Chesterfield, Missouri.

Missouri benefits from having top nationally known, recognized and ranked construction companies in its urban areas and strong academic support for the construction industry from Missouri S&T, according to consortium leaders.

“Brinkmann Constructors is thrilled to be a part of such a unique partnership helping shape the future of the construction industry,” says Brian Satterthwaite, president of Brinkmann and a Missouri S&T alumnus who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1989. “We are proud to have many Missouri S&T alumni in our ranks, and they are honored to be able to share their insight beyond measure. By connecting experienced professionals with the next generation of construction engineers, MoCCI is enhancing not only the skills of current students and their development, but preparing them to be the future leaders of our industry.”

MoCCI is composed of various construction-associated members such as contractors, owners, subcontractors, vendors and service providers. Brinkmann is one of the initial MoCCI members, along with McCarthy Building Companies, Arco Construction, Clayco, BJC HealthCare and the Greensfelder law firm. All have operations in St. Louis. Consortium leaders expect other companies to join in the near future.

Three core areas make up the focus of MoCCI: education, research and professional development. Consortium leaders say integrating these three areas in a corporate-academic partnership will benefit the member companies and their employees so that they stay at the cutting edge of the construction industry. The relationship will also provide S&T students with increased opportunities for broader education programs and direct employment, internships and cooperative educational opportunities with MoCCI members, leaders say.

“One of the first things we learned at S&T is what our students need to succeed in the construction industry,” says Dr. Islam El-adaway, the Hurst/McCarthy Professor at Missouri S&T and founding director of MoCCI. “We began by closing gaps in the curriculum.”

As a result, S&T is, for the first time, offering a minor in construction engineering and management in the civil, architectural and environmental engineering department. The program’s six courses provide the academic foundation that graduates will need to be successful in the construction industry from day one rather than picking up needed skills during their first months of employment after graduation.

The second core area for MoCCI, research, aims to develop practical, applicable solutions to challenges in the construction industry. Two research projects are underway so far. Each involves developing a model for best practices and decision making – one in collaborative planning and one in modularization.

In the core area of professional development, experts from Missouri and across the nation will present workshops for member companies focusing on challenges and areas of interest for those companies.

“MoCCI is a service-based organization,” El-adaway says. “Our goal is to meet the needs of the construction industry, and the member companies have a say in what those needs are and how they are met.”

He adds that combining the strengths of vigorous academics and the work of large construction companies will benefit state and local economies and help build the work force.

“This is an opportunity that needs to be grasped,” El-adaway says.