The University of Wisconsin-Madison Construction Club began years ago in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Under the direction of Professor Awad S. Hanna, the club has moved to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department within the College of Engineering beginning the fall semester of 1997. The purpose of the move was to enhance the educational experience of students studying Civil Engineering with emphasis in Construction Engineering and Management (CEM). During the fall 1997 semester, Ms. Julie Heinrich and Mr. Chris Kirkwood, both senior-level undergraduates directed the club.
The club grew steadily during its second semester that academic year. With the spring 1998 semester came the first annual Banquet with the Design/Construction Industry. This was seen as the first major event to be held by the Construction Club. Attendance at the banquet that year was 215. The event was deemed a success by students, faculty, and industry members alike.
The 1998-99 academic year saw continued growth. Paid membership increased to 40 and attendance at the monthly meetings was upwards of 40 people. The incentive of being able to attend the banquet for free with paid membership dues was a big incentive for students to join. In addition, the fall of 1998 saw the induction of the Construction Club tailgate. This event was held under the banner of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department but was organized by Construction Club members. Again, this event was a success and brought in revenue to the Club.
The 1998-1999 academic year saw further entrenchment of the Construction Club as a student chapter of the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin (AGC), the Mechanical Contractors Association of Wisconsin (MCA), and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Being student chapters of all three organizations has made us more visible in the national construction community. All three organizations regularly fund Construction Club students to attend their national conventions. Through these conventions, Construction Club and the CEM Program have become more visible on a national level.
The spring of 1999 saw attendance at the annual banquet balloon to approximately 375. It was determined after this event that the banquet would move venues the following year, from the Madison Concourse Hotel, to the Monona Terrace Convention Center to accommodate the continued growth.