CEFGA CareerExpo Connected Tanner Boyd to a Career in the Heavy Highway Sector

By Zach Fields
CEFGA Vice President, K12 Pipeline

Tanner Boyd was a student at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) when he attended the 2016 CEFGA CareerExpo and SkillsUSA State Championships. While pursuing a degree in Construction Management under the leadership of instructor Donny Holmes, he competed in the SkillsUSA Teamworks competition. Tanner’s positive attitude and work ethic helped propel his team to a first-place finish and on to the national competition.

Attending that same event were representatives from C.W. Matthews Contracting Company (CWM). C.W. Matthews has proven itself time and time again as a forward thinking, well-respected industry leader in the heavy highway sector.

In 2017 the company’s operational capacity on display nationally when it accomplished the rebuild of the I-85 bridge in just 44 days, showcasing the value of our skilled trade workforce and what can happen when we need to get something done.

Tanner and C.W. Matthews made a connection at the CEFGA CareerExpo that led the student to the career of his dreams. After just six months in the field with C.W. Matthews, Tanner was promoted to Project Engineer over multiple projects.

Besides the strong foundation of construction knowledge that Tanner received in his program at GNTC, his employer says what set him apart from others was his “self-motivation to be involved and his readiness to learn and take on new challenges. Tanner exemplifies the type of positive attitude that we look for in our young professionals. Over the last two years he has shown major professional growth.”

Holmes highlights something else that sets Tanner apart from many other young people his age: No student debt. “The construction industry needs more employees like Tanner who decide to go through the technical college route, learn a trade or supervisory skills, and go to work with a company with no student debt to pay,” Holmes says. With student debt at 1.48 trillion nationally, this is certainly good advice.

For his part, Tanner says, “I chose this career because I’ve always enjoyed building things. The projects that we build impact not only this generation, but the ones that follow as well.”

Talk about having something to show for your work! Many craft professionals are driven by the fact that they can create with both their mind and hands. They get to see the daily impacts of their work, whether it be in the skyline or the infrastructure that we all use every day. It is work that is important, valuable and vital.

In addition to the hands-on problem solving, Tanner cites CWM’s family atmosphere as another reason he loves his job. He also is well on the way to fulfilling his goal of being a key leader in the Bridge Division of C.W. Matthews. Clearly, doing the right work for the right company sets one up for success.
C.W. Matthews and other industry leaders are prioritizing workforce efforts with high school and technical college students. They are committed to providing work experiences for students in school that will allow a young man or woman to see if this industry is right for them and hit the ground running upon graduation.

Tanner’s story illustrates that the construction industry has a place for anyone, whether they’re right out of high school or have chosen to continue their craft education at the post-secondary level. Think you have what it takes to make it in the construction industry? Young leaders demonstrating work ethic and positive attitudes are accelerating into rewarding career paths with guidance, support and numerous opportunities for advancement.

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