College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Construction symposium returns stronger than ever


After having to pivot to a virtual program last year, the Sixth Annual Construction Symposium was back and in-person this fall. Hosted by the Clemson University Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management, the event was held on October 14, 2021 in Greenville, S.C. and drew over 150 industry professionals from the Carolinas and Georgia. This year’s sponsors were 84 Lumber, Eldeco, Clayco, Palmetto Corp., Hill Electric and Groundbreak Carolinas.

“Topics on workforce and material demands made this a very relevant program,” said Bradley Robinson who serves as the Development Committee Chair for the department’s Industry Advisory Board. “However, it was both the Q and A and discussions after presentations that illustrated the need in the construction industry this symposium helps to fill.”

The day started off with the 2022 Construction Economic Forecast from AGC National Economist, Ken Simonson. He provided extensive data for the audience to consider and factor into the coming year. Following the first session, Greg McKinney, Director of Cost Forecasting with 84 Lumber and Ken Charles, Managing Director with the Steel Joist Institute (SJI) both spoke to the unprecedented market trends for lumber and steel.

This year’s keynote speaker was William Timmons, U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 4th congressional district. “We were excited to have Rep. Timmons back home in Greenville with us,” noted Leslie Armstrong, event organizer and Corporate Partner Coordinator for the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management. “He made us laugh with stories of his own personal experience with construction as well and giving insight into the major issues that our industry is facing.”

The afternoon sessions featured Clemson University Professors Vivek Sharma and Dhaval Gajjar. They not only shared their research on “Workforce Demographics and Knowledge Transfer in the Southeast Region,” but had the audience laughing and reflecting as they shared how generational differences determine a lot about employees.

Panelists and members of the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management stop for a photo at the 6th Annual Construction Symposium.

The final session was a panel discussion moderated by Adam Hoots with the Skilled Trades Alliance. Speakers on the panel included Amy Sullivan Hicks, ABC Carolinas; Dan Belcher, NCCER; Bill Kane, NAHB; and Leslie Clark, Carolinas AGC.

“The audience asked lots of great questions and I feel confident that everyone took something away from the information-packed day,” said Mike Jackson, chair of the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management.” Our one-day, interactive format has been very well received over the past six years and sets us apart from other industry conferences and seminars.”

To see photos from the event and stay up-to-date with the latest from the department, visit

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