The Bridgeport-based consulting firm The Thrasher Group has contributed $50,000 to Fairmont State University to support the architecture and civil engineering technology departments.
“The Thrasher Group believes in supporting local education to ensure a quality workforce for our industry. Contributing to these programs has been a great way to do that,” said Chad Riley, Thrasher’s Chief Executive Officer. “We have supported the establishment of an accredited architecture master’s degree at the University for several years and will continue doing so.”
“Programs like these are just one more avenue to ensure that students can earn their degree in West Virginia and stay in the state to work,” Riley said. “Fairmont State has always been a significant source of employees for our company, both as full-time staff members and summer interns. It’s been rewarding to be a part of the success of the engineering program, and we look forward to seeing how the architecture program will impact the region.”
The Thrasher Group Civil Engineering Technology Department Fund and The Thrasher Group Architecture Fund will both pay for travel and hospitality, supplies, stipends, student scholarships and awards, fringe benefits and other needs deemed appropriate by the College of Science & Technology.
“This commitment from The Thrasher Group shows the importance of our students to industry in the region and the state and their interest in assisting us with graduating students who will excel in their professions,” said Julie R. Cryser, president of the Fairmont State Foundation. “We are thankful and appreciative of this generosity and support.”
The Fairmont State University Civil Engineering Technology program prepares graduates to participate in the planning analysis, design, construction, operations and maintenance of roadways, airports, tunnels, bridges, water supply and distribution systems and waste collection and treatment systems. The program produces high-quality professionals with hands-on experience.
Fairmont State University’s American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter has been one of the most successful engineering teams in the history of the National Concrete Canoe Competition (NCCC). In the spring, the team continued its tradition of excellence and for the 16th consecutive year by representing the region at the national competition. The team holds the record for the most consecutive national appearances at the NCCC. Fairmont State University’s ASCE Student Chapter won first place in the Concrete Canoe Competition at the 2019 Virginias Conference.
“The Thrasher Group has been a very strong partner for both the civil engineering technology and architecture departments,” said Steven Roof, dean of the College of Science and Technology. “We are thrilled that this industry leader has decided to assist our faculty and students further through continued financial investment.”
The mission of the Architecture Program at Fairmont State is to educate aspiring architects as creative thinkers who pursue architecture as a process of integration where theory, culture, history, sustainability and practice come together within the understanding of the unique character and dynamics of the regional condition as part of the global community.
The architecture program at Fairmont State University is comprised of a two-year associate degree, a four-year pre-professional degree (bachelor’s), and a one and a half-year master’s degree, for which a baccalaureate degree in architecture is required as a prerequisite.
Once fully accredited, Fairmont State University will have the only accredited master’s program in Architecture in the state, giving Fairmont State Architecture students a unique opportunity to advance in their profession and stay close to home.
Fairmont State University’s architecture master’s degree was granted initial candidacy from the National Architectural Accrediting Board in August 2018. Helping the accreditation efforts was Fairmont State University’s close ties and connections to potential employers in the region, including Thrasher.
The program will submit another report in September 2019 for the continuing candidacy visit in the spring of 2020. Then in the spring of 2022, possibly earlier, the final accreditation visit will be held.
“The Thrasher Group’s support will have immeasurable impact,” Fairmont State President Dr. Mirta Martin said. “First and foremost, this gift supports the architecture and civil engineering technology programs, ensuring that they can continue to offer our students extraordinary educations and unmatched career preparation. The gift also serves a wider purpose – by supporting these programs, The Thrasher Group is helping Fairmont State maintain a strong ‘talent pipeline,’ one that moves hardworking, talented students through our programs and into in-demand careers, often with terrific companies like The Thrasher Group, right here in West Virginia.”
The Thrasher Group was established in 1983 by a young entrepreneur and engineer, H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher, and his father. The duo set out to create a civil engineering firm rooted in serving the state’s communities, growing local infrastructure, and giving young, talented West Virginians a place to thrive. Since that time, Thrasher has grown into West Virginia’s largest privately-owned engineering, architecture, environmental, and field services consulting firm and an industry leader in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Diversified Gas & Oil Co., the Birmingham, AL, company whose chief executive officer and co-founder is Fairmont State University graduate Rusty Hutson Jr., has committed $30,000 in scholarships over the next three years to Fairmont State students.
“Diversified Gas & Oil strongly believes in supporting students who attend colleges in our operating areas and that are seeking to start careers in the gas and oil or related industries,” said Brad Gray, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
“We believe that the energy sector in the United States is strong and that it is a driver of economic prosperity for millions of people in the country. The gas and oil industry is a major factor in maintaining low energy costs for our country. At Diversified, we are very committed to our business operations in the Appalachian Basin.”
Diversified’s scholarship will provide funds for rising seniors earning a degree in a natural gas and oil focused major with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Each student selected will receive a $2,500 scholarship for their senior year.
“Our students will benefit tremendously from this generous investment,” said Julie R. Cryser, Fairmont State Foundation president. “We can’t thank Diversified and Mr. Hutson enough for the support of our Falcon Family.”
Gray said that for the gas and oil industry to continue to be productive, innovative and successful, it needs a consistent talent pool of qualified, local, educated young people.
“We can think of no better place from which to source this talent -- young people from our back yards, our high schools, our universities,” he said.
Fairmont State University President Mirta Martin noted that students will benefit greatly from these scholarships.
“We are forever grateful to the Hutson family and Diversified Gas & Oil,” President Mirta M. Martin said. “Their support will change the lives of many of our students. Because of this generosity, Falcon students – tomorrow’s leaders – will vigorously pursue their dreams knowing that someone cares enough to invest in their futures.”
DGOC views these scholarships as an investment in the communities in which they operate and investment in the lives and the futures of students preparing for a career in the industry.
Diversified is an operator of gas and oil producing assets. Its innovative, disciplined investment strategy is focused on the acquisition of mature, low-decline and low-risk wells, enhancement of operations with a focus on efficiency, and maximization of profitability for shareholders. Founded in 2001, Diversified has deep roots in the mineral-rich Appalachian United States.
Diversified’s gift comes just months after Rusty and Kimberly Hutson invested $400,000 to establish the Rusty & Kimberly Hutson Family Scholarship for the benefit of Fairmont State University School of Business students.
A 1991 accounting graduate and certified public accountant, Mr. Hutson spent 13 years working in the banking industry in Ohio and Alabama. In 2001, Hutson founded Diversified Gas & Oil where he serves as Chief Executive Officer. The company began with the purchase of 40 wells in West Virginia and now operates throughout the Appalachian Basin.