Building Industry Recognition

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 26, 2019

Construction management student, organization earn national honors

Mac Calhoun
Mac Calhoun

Mac Calhoun came to Kennesaw State University without knowing which major to pursue or what career path to follow after graduation.

That all changed when he took an aptitude test during a freshman seminar course which introduced him to the University’s construction management degree program, convincing him that he could have a future in homebuilding.

“It was a program that was growing tremendously and had deep industry connections, so it seemed like a natural fit,” said Calhoun, who recently received the Outstanding Student Award from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The prestigious award recognizes student members of NAHB based on their academic standing, involvement with their student chapter and interest in pursuing residential building.

With Calhoun at the helm, the KSU chapter has seen membership grow exponentially in its five-year history, leading the organization to receive NAHB’s Outstanding Student Chapter of the Year Award for going the “extra mile” in engaging with local home builders, the community and the student body.

“It’s really special to receive that kind of recognition,” said Calhoun, who works part-time for David Weekly Homes while finishing his degree. “We have a lot of good industry professionals we connect with and a great core of students who are really interested in the industry, and the award validates the kind of work we put in to better ourselves.”

For the last three years, Calhoun has also represented KSU’s Department of Construction Management in NAHB’s annual student competition, designed to give students the opportunity to apply their newly acquired skills on a real-life management project. As a team, the students submit and defend development proposals to a group of construction executives who act as judges.

KSU’s team submitted a 100-page proposal detailing a worksite development and marking plans similar to that of a professional builder. Out of 37 universities competing this year, Kennesaw State placed fifth. The student chapter won the three-day competition in 2017.

“The students who get to participate in this are really able to get a leg up on the competition when joining the workforce,” Calhoun said. “For me, it brings together everything I’m learning in the classroom and has taught me the intricacies of homebuilding and developing a plan.”

Irish Horsey, assistant professor of construction management and advisor to the NAHB student chapter, said Calhoun’s commitment to the organization was integral to the team’s success this past year.

“Mac is a model student,” she said. “From spending long nights and weekends to prepare the team for competition to hosting on campus events, his dedication was stellar. Mac is on his way to being an exceptional leader having secured positions with leading residential builders and exceeding employer expectations.”

– Travis Highfield

Photos by David Caselli

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit