Winter 2015 Rowan Advances Newsletter
This past fall, The Earle Companies, a full service construction corporation with nearly 50 years of operations in New Jersey, formed a key partnership with Rowan University through The Earle Family Fellowship Program.
Developed to provide hands-on experience to civil engineering students in asphalt and construction materials technologies, the program aims to equip students with the skills necessary to be successful in obtaining internships in construction materials. Each year, at least four applicants will be selected and will be paid to work in the Lab up to 10 hours a week in different aspects of construction materials-related projects.
All “Earle Fellows” will have the opportunity to visit The Earle Companies office and asphalt plant in Jackson, NJ and will have priority status to interview at Earle for internships. Earle Fellows will also be required to prepare a presentation to share with owners, managers and designers from The Earle Companies at the conclusion of the semester.
The Fellowship also provides essential support for innovative student research in the Construction Materials Lab in the South Jersey Technology Park (SJTP).
According to Earle Companies spokes-person and human resources manager Darlene Rasmussen, the program has big benefits for all parties—Rowan University, its students and her employer, which dates back to 1968 when it began as Earle Asphalt Company initially working in the field of road construction. The organization has since evolved into several interrelated companies capable of handling entire construction projects from start to finish.
“We find it’s very difficult to acquire well-qualified candidates in this industry when looking (to hire), especially for engineering positions, so we figured it would be a good opportunity to align ourselves and provide a chance for the students to get real life experience,” Rasmussen said. “We like to start (a qualified candidate) off as an intern and then when they graduate, they already know the company, the culture and the work that’s involved and then we bring them along as a full time employee.
“Not only is it an opportunity to provide the hands-on field experience to the students that is beneficial to them, but we’re learning from them through things that they’re working on and developing down in the Lab.”
According to Dr. Yusuf Mehta, an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Rowan since 2001, The Earle Family Fellowship is important on several levels, internally and externally, and it effects both graduate and undergraduate students.
“It means a lot for our Construction Materials Lab,” Dr. Mehta said. “It adds credibility that someone is willing to provide this kind of funding. They visited our Lab a few times and saw our expertise and our capabilities and really liked what they saw. It shows the vision of the firm that they saw we have been in the business and we are raising our footprint and doing more things and they saw this is the time to invest in Rowan. That shows the value of the work we’re doing.”
“I think what the industry is looking for and needs are people that have experience in the Lab. We are solving the needs of the industry, which has a shortage of knowledge. They want people to come in and feel excited about the subject matter and this Lab provides the vehicle to do that. It’s a philanthropic donation but also an investment on their end.
With several different research projects underway examining a variety of materials, the Lab is finding new things and pushing the boundaries of science in the field.
“We are designing materials that will be longer lasting, maybe using recycled materials, cleaner materials, greener materials and different technologies,” Mehta explained.
Rasmussen said their tours of Rowan’s facilities in the College of Engineering and the SJTP left them impressed and helped Earle realize Rowan was a worthy partner.
“We went down and Dr. Mehta took us on a tour of the facility and then we really got a grasp of the scope of what the College of Engineering is doing,” Rasmussen said. “We realized this is something we need to be involved with and create a relationship here.”