Brandon Leach Named Construction Technology Lead Instructor
Construction Technology coming to Butler Community College in Andover this August
The program is in the new Manufacturing Engineering & Construction Technology building, just south of the newly renovated 5000 building in Andover on East 13th Street.
In January, Brandon Leach was named lead faculty for the Construction Technology program. In addition to teaching Construction Technology courses, Leach will be responsible for curriculum development, collaborating and partnering with high school technical education faculty and counselors, and creating and sustaining partnerships with four-year colleges as well as business and industry.
After receiving his Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Drafting from Cowley Community College, Leach spent a year working for a custom furniture maker before moving on to Nies Homes, where he worked for many years doing all their drafting and design. When the housing market crashed in 2008, Leach was moved to a contract role, which led him to start his own drafting and design business that he still operates today.
Leach went on to further his education and received a bachelor's degree in History with a minor in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Teaching Instruction and Curriculum from Wichita State University.
In addition to running his own drafting and design business, Leach has been teaching at the high school level for the past seven years, the last three at El Dorado High School. Leach believes the Construction Technology program will fill a much-needed deficit in local skilled trades education.
“The Wichita area has been lacking a good construction program,” said Leach. “Most of the education in the area focuses on manufacturing and aircraft, but we forget all those people need houses and buildings to put their businesses in. The construction trades have been kind of struggling in the area, so this program will hopefully help builders in the area have more educated and well-trained employees.”
Leach has seen first-hand the need for skilled workers in the construction industry. Having just finished building his own home, Leach recognized that his subcontractors across the board – from masons to electricians to plumbers – were struggling to find good, trained workers. He is happy to be working with industry leaders to create a program that will produce the skilled employees needed to fill that void.
“I have my own connections, primarily in the residential industry over the last 25 years, but also companies like Conco Construction and Wildcat Construction have played a central role in developing this curriculum with Butler Community College,” says Leach.
The Construction Technology program is supported by local industry leaders like Eby Construction, Conco Construction, Wildcat Construction and Beran Concrete. Butler was approached by industry to develop a curriculum that could meet the needs for skilled labor. The 62-credit hour Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree also includes a summer internship. The program will provide a breadth of knowledge across various areas of the construction industry and will prepare students to enter the workforce immediately or transfer to a Pitt State University’s four-year degree program in Construction Management.
Although the program launches in August with its construction courses, students can start earlier by taking any required general education courses which are offered in the spring or summer.
In addition, Rose Hill High School is completing a building to house a Construction Technology pathway through Butler’s Early College Academy. The program will train high school students for the industry as juniors and seniors and prepare them to graduate with their associate of applied science degree the same time they graduate high school.
Leach feels strongly that technology and two-year degrees are a great option in pursuing a lifelong career.
“I brag that my little two-year associates degree I got in 1996 is still what pays my bills today. My business is built off that associates degree. Granted, I went and got further education, but that two-year degree set my life on the course I’m on now.”
With his background in both construction and education, Leach will bring a wealth of knowledge to the program as well as his optimism about the future of the industry.
Says Leach, “Working with high school students, I definitely see a lot of kids that want to work with their hands and create something and make something. I’m encouraged about the next generation.”