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New Program Coordinator Brings Experience, Expertise to Post

December 7, 2018
Matt Newman mug shot
Matthew Newman brings years of experience in the construction industry to his new post as program coordinator for the Construction Management degree. (Matt Newman photo)

Matthew Newman has seen the construction industry from just about every angle.

He has more than two decades of experience as an architect, contractor, construction administrator and owner’s representative. He now will leverage that knowledge as the program coordinator for the new construction management degree at the University of Wyoming. The program will be administered through the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Newman serves as a Professor of Practice in the department.

Originally from Lyons, Colo., Newman grew up in the Front Range. He earned an undergraduate degree in environmental design, and two graduate degrees in architecture and business management, all from the University of Colorado.

“I’ve sat on all sides of the table in the construction industry,” Newman says. “My construction career began very early, working for our family-owned general contracting business. I learned hands-on craft skills and the importance of trade coordination in constructing custom residential projects.”

During his undergraduate studies, Newman worked for a commercial general contractor as an apprentice, gaining trade skills in steel framing and suspended ceiling systems. While earning his graduate degrees, Newman worked for a large Denver-based architectural firm and learned to operate industry modeling software such as Autodesk Revit, Navisworks and SketchUp. His proficiency in these programs led to jobs in civic and higher education construction projects, earning the required experience to sit for the architectural registration exams to become a licensed architect. Over the course of 15 years, he worked for firms in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, and served in architectural roles that included project management and construction administration for large projects, some in excess of $40 million.

“My involvement in construction administration over my career has allowed me the opportunity to work closely with some of the largest and most progressive general contractors in our region,” he says.

Newman came to UW after he was offered a job in 2013 as the associate director of facilities planning. It was a homecoming of sorts. He has deep roots in the state, and his family still owns and operates their homestead near Albin in southeastern Wyoming. He and his wife have also lived in Rock Springs and Saratoga, where Newman worked under a local architect.

“When the opportunity to come back to Wyoming came, we took it,” he says.

A year after starting at UW, Newman took on an additional role as an adjunct professor in the department, delivering one course per semester in the areas of plumbing and electrical systems, architectural design, project management and building code regulations. He was a teaching assistant in college as an undergraduate student, and never lost his passion for it.

“That is where my interest in education started,” Newman says.

When the opportunity to lead the new program as a Professor of Practice became available, Newman was immediately interested. He knows the industry and the various opportunities the program will offer to Wyoming students.

“This is an exciting time for the department and something I am proud to be a part of creating,” he says.

This latest position certainly presents new challenges for Newman. Instead of designing and constructing buildings, he’s now writing curriculum outlines, as well as creating and delivering new coursework in scheduling, estimating and project management.

“Construction management is a program the department has been working towards for a long time. The conversations and vision for the program started well before I joined the department,” he says. “The program wasn’t created in a bubble. We have had a unique opportunity to house this program under our existing department. We have a well-established faculty, advisory board and curriculum committee in the department, all of which have contributed to building this program. The staff at the American Council for Construction Education from which we will seek accreditation has also been very supportive.”

Newman has been working with state community colleges on creating 2+2 articulation agreements that will allow Wyoming students the opportunity to earn in-state bachelor’s degrees. He says the next steps for the program include recruiting, creating new courses, working through the accreditation process with a focus on building multiple pathways for student success.

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