This article was written by Meagan Patterson, a graduate student pursuing a degree in English literature.
It is said that “the best way to honor your father is to learn from him and follow the same path he did.” In the Construction Management (CM) program at Boise State University, Bryan Smith and his son Caden Smith, have turned a sense of community into a family affair. As Bryan graduates this Spring, Caden hopes to follow in his footsteps in a few years.
Bryan wasn’t the first member of the family to be a part of the CM program. In fact, it was Bryan’s wife and Caden’s mom Kori Anna Smith who first introduced the family to construction management.
Kori is the Department Manager for the College of Engineering’s Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning, but before her current role, Kori served as the Academic Advisor for the Construction Management Department. During this time, Bryan accompanied Kori to numerous department and college events from football tailgates to barbecues.
Bryan’s exposure to these events led to conversations with students and faculty filled with goals and mindsets similar to his one. He noticed that many of the people he spoke with were business-minded individuals who liked working with others toward a shared goal.
As a new passion sparked, Bryan found himself back in school and in the classroom. After his first CM course, Bryan felt like he and his classmates had created a team relationship. He knew he found people he could rely on throughout his academic career. He said he had not experienced anything like this in his first-degree program and to him, “teamwork is unique to the Construction Management program.”
While Kori and Bryan were enjoying events with students and faculty, their son Caden also found a connection in the same place his father had. While still in high school, Caden’s attendance at numerous CM events allowed him the same opportunities for conversations as Bryan had, but it was site visit to a project rebuilding the Schick-Ostolasa woodshed that sparked Caden’s interest to pursue the same degree as his father. By the time Caden graduated from high school, he knew he wanted to follow in his father’s path.
Both Bryan and Caden found a community of individuals with similar goals and mindsets who welcomed and accepted them long before their enrollment into the program. From father and son to classmates the Smiths have experienced many opportunities together in their time with CM, but back in February Bryan and Caden also became teammates.
A top memory for father and son came as students in CM traveled to Reno, Nevada, to compete in the 2023 Associated Schools of Construction regional student competition. Bryan and Caden competed together on Boise State’s project management team who finished second overall. Caden also brought home the top award in the alternates category.
“I see Caden more now than I did before,” Bryan said. “ Being in this program together made our relationship even stronger.”
The inspiring father-son duo has made a name for themselves within the department, a fear that Bryan had not only for himself as “just Kori’s husband,” but for Caden as well as “just Bryan’s son.” With this fear out of mind, the two have grown together to become better construction managers and to grow closer together.
“For the past several years, it has been a blast to watch the Smith family grow within our community,” Construction Management Department Chair Anthony Perrenoud said. “It started with Kori and has led to an impressive father and son combo. Strong community has always been a strength of the CM program and the Smith family is a great example of how students are easily attracted to the program once they see the connections within the program.”
After graduation, Bryan will be joining the McCarthy Building Companies in Phoenix, Arizona, in their water division. While Caden, like many of the construction management students, will be heading to an internship this summer in Seattle with Performance Contracting, Inc. Caden will return to Boise blazing his own path, while also following in his father’s footsteps.