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Illinois State construction management alumni reach for the sky

Bryan and Matthew pose together

Bryan Carper and Matthew Fry on site at One Bennett Park.

Illinois State construction management alums Bryan Carper and Matthew Fry are living the dream.

The former Redbirds, both 2006 graduates, have been hired to oversee the construction of a luxury residential building in the heart of Chicago. The high-rise will be one of the tallest residential buildings in the country, and will make an astonishing mark on Chicago’s skyline.

Carper and Fry hail from families who work in the construction industry. Being exposed to the construction world from a young age sparked an interest in the field. When it came time to choose which college to attend, both men were intrigued by Illinois State’s proximity to Chicagoland and southern Illinois, as well as its array of great programs.

Illinois State’s construction management program in the Department of Technology is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education. Our students and graduates are highly recruited for internships and entry-level positions by some of the nation’s largest constructors and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) contractors. Many attend Illinois State’s annual Construction Management Career Fair.

As a student Carper was busy inside and outside the classroom. He became heavily involved within Illinois State’s registered student organizations, serving as vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha and president of Alpha Lambda Delta. He was also involved in the Construction Management Student Association and the Student Government Association. Carper also found time to join Illinois State’s Army ROTC program and work part-time jobs.

During his senior year, Carper landed a job with a large construction company in Chicago.

“Attending career fairs and staying connected were big steps I took towards my career.” -Bryan Carper

“Attending career fairs and staying connected were big steps I took towards my career,” said Carper.

Fry changed his major to construction management to pursue his passion. Fry earned money throughout college by working part-time jobs. He enrolled in extra classes, learning the ins and outs of theatrical lighting while simultaneously studying construction management.

“Work hard, but remember to have fun and enjoy all that Illinois State has to offer,” said Fry, who recalled memories at Illinois State basketball games.

Department of Technology Professor Richard Boser recalled that Carper and Fry were “talented and focused students who were fun to have in class.”

Both men now work for Lendlease, a leading international property and infrastructure company based out of Sydney, Australia. (Fry moved to Australia and worked out of Sydney for a few years before returning to Illinois.)

Today, they’re both project managers for the residential high-rise project, called One Bennett Park, located in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago. Carper oversees the interior finishes, while Fry oversees the building’s structure and the landscaping of an on-site park.

While the two did have classes together at Illinois State, they never really spoke until now. Both men emphasize the importance of networking.

“I think about 60 percent to 70 percent of our graduating class went to Chicago after ISU,” said Carper, “You run into each other a lot.”

By taking the right steps, Carper and Fry found success in a field that takes them to great new heights.

You can reach Logan Sellers at lsselle@IllinoisState.edu.

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