Ford now leading MSU’s building construction science program

August 2nd, 2018 Comments Off on Ford now leading MSU’s building construction science program

George Ford (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

A longtime educator and licensed professional engineer is the new director of Mississippi State University’s Building Construction Science program.

George D. Ford comes to the state’s leading university after serving 14 years in the construction management program and the College of Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina University in North Carolina, where he earned a doctorate in educational leadership.

In addition to 18 total years of teaching at the post-secondary level, Ford is bringing 15 years of industry knowledge to his new role at MSU. His project management and industrial experience includes corporate work, as well as commercial and industrial construction.

Prior to moving into academia, Ford served as a U.S. Army infantry officer (reserves) and an industrial manager. A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional, he also holds a master’s degree in environmental engineering (Civil) from the University of South Carolina, as well as a master’s degree in business administration and bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University. For additional biographic information, visit

Ford, who also will serve as a professor in MSU’s BCS program, said “I am excited about the opportunity to lead and teach in one of just two studio-based construction programs in the nation.” Graduating its first class in 2012, the program currently is a candidate for accreditation with the American Council for Construction Education. He said one of his top priorities is working with BCS students and faculty to help the program reach this important milestone.

“Maintaining the collaborative relationships and incredible support the program receives from industry partners will be another priority,” Ford said.

Angi Elsea Bourgeois, dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, said Ford’s extensive experience in industry and academia will serve the BCS program well as it continues to grow its student and faculty strengths.

“This is an exciting moment for the Building Construction Science program,” Bourgeois said in making the recent announcement. “Dr. Ford’s dedication and enthusiasm for our program will foster excellence among our faculty, collaboration with all stakeholders, and continued success for our students as future leaders in the discipline.”

Learn more about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and its Building Construction Science program at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at (Read the story here.)

See the story in the Maroon Memo.

Assistant Professor Saeed Rokooei receives SEC travel grant

July 30th, 2018 Comments Off on Assistant Professor Saeed Rokooei receives SEC travel grant

Via Maroon MemoJim Laird | Public Affairs

Achievements of the Southeastern Conference’s student-athletes are well known, but many fans may not know that the SEC’s 14 member institutions pack an equally potent academic punch.

Thanks to an innovative grant program funded by the conference, 10 Mississippi State University faculty members now are better equipped to collaborate with SEC colleagues from across the region.

Reuben Burch, Harish Chander, Hilary DeShong, Thu Dinh, Hyungsuk Lim, Mohammad Marufuzzaman, Saeed Rokooei, Colleen Scott, Andrea Strzelec and Gregg Twietmeyer are recipients of 2018-19 SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grants. They will be partnering with faculty from Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and LSU, according to a senior administrator at the land-grant institution.

“Our faculty will be able to travel to SEC campuses or host colleagues from other SEC schools in order to exchange ideas, develop grant proposals, conduct research, meet with peers and students, and give lectures or other presentations thanks to these funding awards,” said Assistant Vice President for Research Teresa Gammill.

She coordinated the application and review process in conjunction with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at MSU.

Each grant is for $1,000, Gammill said.

“We received very competitive applications this year, and I appreciate the efforts of all who applied,” Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw said.

Nearly 30 applications were submitted for review.

Burch is an assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering; Chander, assistant professor of kinesiology; DeShong, assistant professor of psychology; Dinh, assistant professor of animal and dairy science; Lim, assistant professor of sustainable bioproducts; Marufuzzaman, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering; Rokooei, assistant professor of building construction science; Scott, assistant professor of chemistry; Strzelec, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Twietmeyer, assistant professor of kinesiology.

For more information about the program, please contact Gammill at or 662-325-3570.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Building Construction Science Program holds annual awards banquet

May 14th, 2018 Comments Off on Building Construction Science Program holds annual awards banquet

Class of 2018: (Pictured, L to R): Jonathan “Jon Luke” Cave, Thomas “Alex” Gray, Matthew Harkey, Charles “Chipper” Cary, Jansen Fuller, Adam Sims, John “Caleb” Crawford, Regan Horn, Harrison Walker, Seth Gillett, Cora Howell, Tyler Bexley (Not Pictured): Johnathan “Hunter” Burcham, Davis Byrd, Montrel Davis, Justin McKenzie, Ky Reynolds

The 2018 annual Awards and Recognition Banquet for the Mississippi State University Building Construction Science Program was held on May 3 at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville.

A special thanks to all the alumni who attended as well as our Advisory Board members, who sponsored the event this year.

The following students were recognized at the event:

Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Region II Student Competition

An MSU team participated in the annual student competition this year in Peachtree City, Ga. The team consisted of Hunter Bullock (2nd year), Regan Horn (4th year), Cora Howell (4th year), Kacie Lynn James (2nd year), Robert Montoux (2nd year) and Harrison Walker (4th year). The faculty coaches were Visiting Associate Professor George Martin and Assistant Professor Saeed Rokooei. The Lemoine Company sponsored the team.

Each year, there is also an opportunity for younger students to participate in a shadow competition. The Mississippi State students that participated as shadows were Tori Thompson, Jalyn Wallin, John McMahon, Chris Sharp and Bobby Fatherree. The shadow team that Tori Thompson was a part of placed first in the shadow competition.

2017-2018 Scholarship Recipients:

  • Regan Horn, Abbey Burnett Bridges Endowed Scholarship
  • Victoria Thompson, Chip & Jennifer Crane Endowed Scholarship
  • Christopher Sharp, MS Contractors Endowed Scholarship
  • Jalyn Wallin, Brislin, Inc. Annual Scholarship
  • Cora Howell, Brislin, Inc. Annual Scholarship
  • Jonathan Luke Cave, Brislin, Inc. Annual Scholarship
  • Hunter Bullock, Brislin, Inc. Annual Scholarship


Students of the Year:

One student from each studio level is selected as the Student of the Year based on academic performance. The student/s with the highest Grade Point Average at the conclusion of the fall semester receives this award.

(no photo available)
First-Year: Zachary Taylor

Second-Year: Victoria Thompson

Third-Year: Evan Hodge (second-time recipient)

Fourth-Year: Jon Luke Cave (fourth-time recipient)

Director’s Medallion:

Selection criteria include academic effort, participation, leadership abilities, strong moral character and a concern with the sustainability of the program. The recipient must work diligently in the classroom, participate in BCS extracurricular activities and be a role model to students.

2018 Recipient: Regan Horn


Thanks to Windie Jenkins and Charles Beckham for their work for this special event.

View the program.

See all the photos from the event below. (Full-res. files can be downloaded here until July 30, 2018).

Learning by doing: MSU building construction science students get real-world experience with tiny house project

May 10th, 2018 Comments Off on Learning by doing: MSU building construction science students get real-world experience with tiny house project

Students and others stand near the steel and concrete tiny house created as part of a two-semester construction project in MSU’s Building Construction Science program. Part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, the program is one of only two studio-based construction programs in the U.S. (Photo by Megan Bean)

George Martin, left, visiting associate professor in Mississippi State’s Building Construction Science program, discusses the wooden tiny house construction project with students Evan Hodges and Collin Manuel during a recent presentation on the Starkville campus. Martin was among faculty and construction professionals who toured the house and provided feedback to the students on their work. (Photo by Megan Bean)

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Students in Mississippi State’s Building Construction Science program found completion of a two-semester tiny-house construction project a challenging experience, but the lessons learned were worth the work.

Nearly 30 students spent the full academic year working on several projects leading up to the design and construction of steel and wooden house frames.

MSU Assistant Clinical Professor Lee Carson and College of Architecture, Art and Design Dean Jim West guided students as they went through the process of designing, researching and exploring materials and fabrication methods, planning construction, and building every element of the structures. Students also were responsible for creating a comprehensive document explaining the entire design and construction process.

For fabrication, the students were split into two teams of 14 with a hierarchical structure of one project manager—West for the wood building and Carson for the steel building—as well as one superintendent and four foremen, with two or three crew members under each foreman.

During a recent presentation on campus, each student team discussed learning outcomes and challenges regarding their respective building’s foundations, interiors, and structural, wall and roof systems. MSU faculty and local construction professionals toured the houses and provided feedback the students could use for future projects.

The wood building is 8 feet wide by 16 feet long by 13 feet tall with 210 square feet of interior space. This includes loft sleeping space accessible by a ladder. The roof of the building is removable for ease of transportation, and the students built a “pop out” or extension for the shower that expands three feet and also allows for a balcony that reaches four feet out upstairs. Other features are a concrete foundation and floor, wood frame, fiber cement board siding, steel wall panels, vinyl reflective windows, metal roof, cellulose insulation, gypsum board interior walls and a V-joint pine wood ceiling.

MSU junior William H. Young of Madison, a foreman for the wooden tiny house, said the fabrication process challenged him and other crew members to work with unfamiliar materials. He credits the group’s success to its positive team dynamic and willingness to evaluate processes and find creative solutions in the face of obstacles.

“A lot of the things we were doing were pretty new to us, if not completely new to us, so there was a learning curve,” Young said. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned from this project is most of construction isn’t just about following directions, but fixing what is broken while you’re following directions.”

In addition to learning from West and Carson, the students also benefited from the expertise of representatives from West Point-based Graham Roofing and Meridian-based Glass Inc.

“Professor Carson also asked a subcontractor from Cell-Tek to show us how to properly hang drywall,” said sophomore Andrew D. “Drew” Pankratz of Taylorsville, also a foreman for the wooden tiny house. “There’s definitely a technique to it, and he showed us some cool tricks of the trade.”

For the tiny house with a steel frame and concrete foundation, the students had to build a structure that was 10 feet wide, 20 feet long and 13 feet tall, with 320 square feet of interior space including loft sleeping space. Primarily constructed of non-combustible materials, the building features light gauge steel studs, precast concrete wall panels, a glass curtain wall, fiber cement board cladding, steel wall panels, vinyl windows, a metal roof, gypsum board interior walls, plywood upper interior walls and a metal ceiling.

“If you’re trying to design this as a movable building, steel and concrete are not the choice of materials or systems, but I wanted the students to go through the process of having to use those materials because many of them had never done that before,” Carson explained.

Curtis A. “Curt” Wilson, a sophomore from Olive Branch who served as superintendent for the steel and concrete tiny house, said installation of wall panels and insulation was a tough, yet beneficial part of the project.

“Using two-inch insulation made it hard to find the studs and we placed them wrong, so that was the first challenge,” Wilson said. “Fastening the Hardie panels to the wall took two weeks, but it also was a great learning experience because of the difficulties.”

Carson, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from MSU, said the tiny house project provided a “huge learning opportunity” for the students to work together in an “intense, comprehensive environment.”

“We are really proud of these students. They put their sweat, time and heart into this project and have produced an incredible amount of work,” he said. “I believe the strength of what we’re doing in the studio classes is bringing the students’ knowledge base all the way through the design and construction process. They will be able to take a lot of this knowledge forward.”

Part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, MSU’s Building Construction Science program is one of only two studio-based construction programs in the U.S. Learn more at, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

See the story in the Clarion Ledger.

See the story in the Daily Journal.

BCS second-year studio wraps up year with final presentations

May 1st, 2018 Comments Off on BCS second-year studio wraps up year with final presentations

Second-year building construction science students – led by Interim Director of the BCS Program and Associate Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design Greg Hall and Assistant Professor Saeed Rokooei – wrapped up the year with a final project presented on April 25 in the studios in Howell Building.

The final project, which students worked on for the last three weeks of class, covered pre-construction subjects such as quantity take-off, scheduling, project management and cost management.

Students were required to perform estimation and scheduling for the major divisions, and they used software packages such as On-Screen Takeoff and Microsoft Project in their individual submission and presentation of their +44,000 sf base project. 


BCS seniors visit Denver

March 9th, 2018 Comments Off on BCS seniors visit Denver

Photos and story by Regan Horn, senior BCS student

Senior students in the Building Construction Science Program at Mississippi State University participated in a field trip to Denver, Colo., the week of Feb. 19. This was part of an annual field trip week in which students from the BCS Program travel to metropolitan areas to meet with construction professionals, visit construction sites and observe urban environments.

Eighteen students in BCS 4126 Building Construction Studio 6 (taught by Assistant Professor Michele Herrmann) traveled to Denver with Visiting Associate Professor George Martin. This group was able to visit the following sites:

  • Charles Hay Elementary School (Fransen Pittman)
    • Hosted by: John White, Burns Morrison, and Jacob Miles
  • Clayton Elementary School (Fransen Pittman)
    • Hosted by: John White, Burns Morrison, and Steve Gilmor
  • Colorado State Capitol Building (Fransen Pittman)
    • Hosted by: John White, Burns Morrison, and Rich Mendez
  • Water Treatment Facility (Garney Construction)
    • Hosted by: Jefferson Lewis and Adam Theriault
  • Lockheed Martin Satellite Production Facility (Hensel Phelps)
    • Hosted by: Jonathan Couch

Activities such as site visits and meetings with professionals have a significant positive and long lasting impact on students. In addition to increasing the relevance of information addressed in the BCS curriculum, site visits and meetings with professionals provide additional reference points that faculty incorporate in studio projects and discussions. These experiences also expose students to the variety of career paths and professional opportunities available to them.

The BCS Program is committed to increasing the scope and value of educational experiences for its students by engaging with professionals; achieving this goal would not be possible without the generous time and commitment of many individuals, companies, organizations and institutes who supported and hosted BCS students during the 2018 spring field trip.

Building Construction Science student featured as ‘Our People’ on university website

March 7th, 2018 Comments Off on Building Construction Science student featured as ‘Our People’ on university website

Collin Manuel (Student)

via | Our People

Collin Manuel first became interested in Mississippi State as a Biloxi High School student in a robotics engineering course.

“While in that course, I found I liked taking a set of instructions and making a deliverable,” he said.

Now a senior at MSU, Manuel found his perfect fit in the university’s building construction science program, which prepares students for careers in construction management.

“Its studio teaching method is a collaboration with students and faculty – figuring out how to learn on your own,” he said. “It’s an interesting and great way to teach (and learn) in today’s modern society; it really forces critical thinking.”

Manuel has taken advantage of the program’s unique teaching method – both researching on his own and having in-depth discussions with faculty – to discover how he can make a difference in the construction industry.

“A big driving factor of what I want to do is leave somewhere a better place than how I came to it,” he said, explaining that he hopes to achieve this goal through focusing on LEED standards and sustainability in construction. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

Because of the hands-on nature of the program, Manuel and his classmates are already accomplishing the goal of making a positive impact.

“Community service is a huge factor of we do,” he said. “We are able to knock out two birds with one stone – learning to do something and giving back at same time.”

Manuel is especially proud of projects he and his classmates have done for the Boy Scouts of America. They have helped with restorations at a camp, built kayak shelters and built a sleeping shelter prototype.

Collaborations and learning about other areas of study within the College of Architecture, Art, and Design also are an important part of the building construction science program’s curriculum – preparing students to work closely with architects, interior designers and other professionals in their field.

The college’s Collaborative Studio, which consists of third-year architecture and building construction science students and faculty, is currently working on a feasibility study to restore the old police station in Meridian.

“The building was left to rot, and as we begin to do more and more research, we are finding that this building holds more historic and monetary value than we originally thought,” said Manuel. “To see my classmates and myself performing these kinds of projects and making this kind of impact on communities – I can’t even imagine the potential this generation of students can accomplish later.”

Building Construction Science Program holds annual Academic Insight event

February 20th, 2018 Comments Off on Building Construction Science Program holds annual Academic Insight event

(Photos by Kelsey Brownlee and Regan Horn)

On Sat., Feb. 17, the College of Architecture, Art and Design held Academic Insight, an annual event for admitted MSU students and their guests.

The event is meant to help students get a better understanding of the programs within the college and is a chance for students to meet other incoming students, current students and professors.

After a department fair, students and their guests had a chance to mingle with current students and faculty over breakfast before Dean Jim West presented an overview of the college.

After the presentation, the group split up into the four college units – architecture, art, interior design and building construction science – and went to those facilities for a “breakout session.”

During the sessions, parents had a chance to meet with the program directors and faculty while students worked on an activity meant to give them a glimpse into their program.

Students interested in building construction science worked with current student volunteers on a project and toured the facilities.

Building Construction Science holds 2018 spring career fair

February 9th, 2018 Comments Off on Building Construction Science holds 2018 spring career fair

The Building Construction Science Program at Mississippi State holds an annual career fair for students who are seeking internship, co-ops, and full-time positions in leading construction companies across the U.S.

The spring 2018 event began at noon on Thurs., Feb. 2 with a lunch and presentation for representatives in the Hunter Henry Center. 

The fair portion began at 2 p.m. and was in the program studios in Howell Building.

The following companies participated:

  • American Glass Company Inc.
  • Brasfield & Gorrie LLC
  • Caddell Construction Co. (DE) LLC
  • Century Construction Group
  • Doster Construction Company Inc.
  • Flintco LLC
  • Fransen Pittman General Contractors
  • Garney Construction
  • Graham Roofing Inc.
  • Hoar Construction
  • Linkous Construction
  • Turner Construction

Funds raised through the career fair allow the program to enhance technology resources and opportunities for students in their studios and courses as well as increase student participation in a variety of academic and professional events, such as field trips and competitions, which reinforce the studio experience.

For more information about participating in a future career fair, contact Windie Jenkins at or 662-325-8305.

Building Construction Science Program holds spring Industry Advisory Board Meeting

February 7th, 2018 Comments Off on Building Construction Science Program holds spring Industry Advisory Board Meeting

The Mississippi State University Building Construction Science Industry Advisory Board met on Thurs., Feb. 1 in the Hunter Henry center for its spring meeting.

2018 Chairman Robert Robison, Brasfield and Gorrie, led the meeting, which – in addition to board members – included Interim BCS Director Greg Hall; College of Architecture, Art and Design Dean Jim West; and BCS faculty, staff and students.