Five years ago, Justin Honey, associate professor in the School of Construction, approached Summit Homes with a request: Did they have an internship available for a bright, hard-working student who was a native of Kansas City and was looking for work experience?

Shortly after, a recent PSU graduate joined the Summit team, and the relationship began to grow, as did Summit — now the largest new home builder in the Kansas City market as well as an emerging land development leader in the area.

Today, the relationship means not only scholarships, but jobs. Summit sponsors the School of Construction’s team at a national level in the National Association of Home Builders Student Competition and the International Builders Show with $10,000 in support.

Summit also recently started a scholarship program at PSU, which will provide $2,000 each to five students majoring in construction.

“Students from PSU receive a well-rounded education in the construction industry that allows them to jump into work in the ‘real world’ easily and begin contributing immediately,” said Whitney Rinne, marketing manager for Summit Homes. “They are well-versed in purchasing and estimating processes, principles of project management and current protocols and procedures for safety.”

And, Rinne noted, they are passionate and hard-working, and bring energy to the team.

Among them: Chris Collins, who heard about PSU in high school and when Gorilla Advantage offered him in-state tuition, “it sealed the deal,” he said.

After an internship with Summit, he got a job offer. Collins attributed his success to what he learned at PSU, from hands-on coursework to leadership training to the fact that faculty have experience in the field.

Spencer Yohn, Summit’s director of construction, landed a job with the company in 2013. He plans out the new project starts, manages trade partner relations, and sources new trade partners.

“Because of my education at Pitt I am able to understand how to create and read blueprints and plot plans, estimate projects, be organized, know how to utilize computers and technologies to be more efficient in the construction industry, and overall how to effectively manage a construction project and a team,” he said.

The relationship isn’t limited to construction alumni. Kyle King, (BBA ’08) is a project manager at Summit who said the fact that he was a PSU graduate was a “big deal” in the interview process.

“The business program at Pitt helped me. You have to be self-motivated, independent. Our business school has such great ratings for the size of the school. I can’t say enough good things about it.”

King looks forward to returning to campus on a future recruiting trip to sign on more Gorillas.