The company that managed construction of the SDSU Trolley Station is now helping to build a world-class construction program at San Diego State.
Clark Construction Group and its Aztec employees have committed more than $120,000 to the J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program in SDSU’s College of Engineering.
The company has pledged to match employee contributions and make additional contributions from its general charitable fund over the next four years.
Leading the initiative is Carlos Gonzalez, vice president of Clark Construction’s San Diego regional operations, who earned a bachelor’s (1997) and a master’s (2000) degree in civil engineering from SDSU.
Gonzalez contacted all San Diego State alumni employed by Clark and asked each one to make a personal contribution to The Campaign for SDSU. Then he asked Clark’s charitable fund manager to maximize the private commitments with a corporate gift.
“Clark Construction has a corporate philosophy of giving back to the communities in which it does business,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez began studying engineering in his native Mexico before transferring to SDSU in 1994. Although the course work was rigorous and English was his second language, he thoroughly enjoyed SDSU’s lively environment. “I still have friends from that time,” he said.
After a few years of work and with a master’s degree in hand, Gonzalez joined Clark Construction, the 10th largest construction firm in the country. Clark has offices throughout California and in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. In 2005, the firm completed construction of a 50,000-square-foot underground trolley station at SDSU.
As vice president for San Diego, Gonzalez manages about 50 employees. He claims to be the oldest of the SDSU alumni employed by Clark, and knows each fellow Aztec personally. “These people are all very solid contributors to Clark’s success,” Gonzalez said. “That’s another reason for the company’s commitment to SDSU.”
Gonzalez personal commitment involves not just financial support, but also the gift of time. He is a member of the industry-based committee dedicated to building the J.R. Filanc Construction Engineering and Management program into a national model.
“San Diego has a great need for excellent construction services,” Gonzalez said. “For Clark and other construction companies to be successful in the future, we need competent, sophisticated people coming behind us, the kind of high quality professionals we’ve found among SDSU alumni. We really are creating a company culture.”