The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Education and Research Foundation recently named Professor Justin Reginato its 2016 Outstanding Educator for his work in teaching construction management at Sacramento State.

“Your work as an educator, a mentor of students, and as a colleague in the construction industry sets you apart as an outstanding leader and role model for this award,” wrote foundation director Melinda D. Patrician in a congratulatory letter to Reginato. “The recommendations of your peers at (Sacramento State) and in the industry, as well as your students, were impressive testimony to the impact your work has had.”

Reginato calls the honor a "team award" and "another building block" in Sacramento State’s brand as one of the country's leading construction management programs. "The award highlights the virtuous cycle of quality instruction, industry support, and hardworking students who make our graduates some of the most sought-after in the industry," he says.

Reginato, a Sac State instructor since 2009, says he got into construction management education by accident. He says he was working as a design engineer for a large company that supported graduate studies and just before he returned to grad school for his doctorate, one of his supervisors suggested that because the company already had a lot of geotechnical engineers, he should study construction management.

"That 2 minutes of impromptu career advice set me in the construction education direction," says Reginato, Ph.D., P.E. "Upon graduation, I had to decide between industry and academia and figured I would only have one shot at academia and took it. From day one, I have loved teaching and have never looked back."

Reginato says he teaches a mix of "old-school fundamentals" and newer construction innovations. "I still drill students on how to put together estimates from the ground up using the methods outlined by Dick Nickles, a former Sacramento State instructor," he says. "In addition, we increasingly discuss more contemporary topics, such as integrated project delivery and lean construction. We also are implementing new technology tools, such as PlanGrid and BlueBeam, and I am looking to bring new scheduling software into our planning and scheduling classes."

He says the rapid evolution in construction software and the sheer volume of technology change in the field is difficult to keep up with, but "luckily, the Construction Management Department’s industry supporters are helping us with it. Aside from software and other technologies, we spend a lot of time on alternative delivery methods (IPD, design-build, etc.) and sustainable building," he says. "As a department, we also are focusing more on specialty contracting (e.g. mechanical, electrical and plumbing contracting, heavy-civil contracting, etc.) to help meet the needs of industry."

Evan Albright, a junior majoring in Construction Management at Sacramento State, says Professor Reginato's class on the Fundamentals of Construction Estimating taught him the basics of how to estimate the cost of a construction project.

"The skills I learned are invaluable in the construction industry," says Albright, who was named the Electrical Problem’s Most Valuable Presenter at the 2016 Associated Schools of Construction’s annual competition. "The ability to quantify and understand the costs of a project are a key component to running a successful job."

As the AGC's 2016 Outstanding Educator, Reginato will receive a cash award, as well as two $2,500 scholarships for Sac State construction management students, at the AGC’s annual convention in March in San Antonio, TX.