A 35-year veteran of the concrete industry has been tabbed to direct the new concrete industry management program at South Dakota State University.
Tim Hostettler, currently of Rapid City, will take the reins in early July.
In December 2020, the South Dakota Board of Regents gave SDSU approval to plan the program of study for the degree, which is a private/public partnership that aims to educate the next generation of leaders for the concrete industry. Final board approval of the new program was received in May.
SDSU is the fifth U.S. university to offer the program and the first one in the 12-state, Upper Midwest region. SDSU was selected after an extensive search of five universities.
Entry-level courses will be offered this fall with the full program to be implemented in fall 2022.
Hostettler, a native of northern California, began work as a concrete laborer at Pleasant Valley Ready Mix in Chico, California, in 1986. He stayed with the firm (now A&A Concrete Supply) for 31 years, holding management positions the last 20 years.
Also while there, he taught night classes in the concrete industry management program at California State-Chico from 2009 to 2017.
Bruce Berdanier, dean at the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering, which will house the program, said, “Tim’s background in the industry and his experience in working with students will provide the perfect combination for launching a program that supports our mission as a land-grant university of addressing workforce needs of industries in the 12-state region and beyond.
“I am so excited for SDSU and the state of South Dakota that we were chosen to deliver this important program across 25% of the United States.”
Hostettler envisions a program of 80 to 100 students by the fifth or sixth year of the program.
Found teaching passion at Chico State
A lesson he learned at Chico State is that promotion within the industry will be vital for growing enrollment and financial support.
Hostettler was general manager of the Northern California division of A&A Concrete Supply when the program began at Chico State in 2007. Two years later, program director Tanya Komas asked him if he would team teach a class on facility management. Two weeks before classes were to begin, his faculty partner resigned, and Hostettler taught solo.
He was assigned another class for spring semester and two classes the next school year. Hostettler worked days at A&A and taught evenings from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
Demanding, but he loved it. “I was very fond of the time (2009-17) I spent (teaching) in California. I really enjoyed working with the students. A lot of them stay in contact and keep me posted on what they are doing. When the program came to South Dakota State, it seemed like it was just destiny,” Hostettler said.
Worked in Dakotas since ’17
Since February 2017, he has been a senior sales representative with Master Builders Solutions Admixture Systems covering North and South Dakota while living in Rapid City.
His background also includes a Master of Business Administration in 2015 from the concrete industry management program from Middle Tennessee State, home of the first such program. His final position with A&A was sales and technical service representative at the Chico plant, taking sales from $2.2 million in 2011 to more than $4 million five years later.
Eugene Martineau, chair of the CIM National Steering Committee, said, “I believe this is an excellent hire for SDSU and the CIM program. Tim’s knowledge of the program and its goals, along with his personality and passion for education, make him the ideal candidate to lead the implementation.”
Strong private backing to launch
The Concrete Industry Management National Steering Committee and its North Central Region patrons selected SDSU as its candidate to launch an Upper Midwest program after a six-month selection process. The groups will provide SDSU $1.5 million over five years to develop the degree program and assist in employing a program director, recruiter and laboratory manager.
Hiring a recruiter is in the second year of the plan. Right now, Hostettler will teach two classes and introduce himself to regional firms in the concrete industry.
He said the key to the program’s success will be recruitment. “Once students are involved, they’ll love it. There is a perception issue that concrete is a dirty, grimy job. But what is exciting about the industry is there is a place for you regardless of your interest whether it is numbers, human relations, quality control or operations …
“The main underlying theme is a work ethic. We’re looking for somebody who doesn’t mind getting up early and staying up late.”
Family footprints set in concrete
One might look no further for proof of job satisfaction in the industry than Hostettler’s own family. He and his wife, Shannon, have two sons.
The oldest, Robert, received his college diploma from the concrete industry management program while Hostettler was teaching at Chico State. Robert now is head of Oregon aggregate operations for CalPortland, one of the top 10 producers of cement in the United States. Donald, of Missouri Valley, Iowa, is the Nebraska territory manager for Master Builders Solutions Admixture System.
Tim and Shannon Hostettler have purchased a house in Aurora and will be relocating in June.