CES, Inc., a full service consulting firm specializing in engineering, surveying, planning and sciences, founded by two University of Maine alumni, has pledged $100,000 to maintain and upgrade the research laboratory where environmental engineering students learn how to provide healthy water, air, and land.
Started in 1978 by Jim Parker, P.E., and Shawn Small, P.E., CES in Brewer has been involved in many projects that preserve and enhance the economic, social, cultural and environmental well being of communities across the state.
The generous gift from CES and its founders will be put towards an endowment for the Boardman Hall facility which has been named the CES Environmental Chemistry Lab.
All five of the company’s shareholders are University of Maine graduates. Their expertise in civil, structural, and environmental engineering and surveying cover the full range of education offered by programs at the university. In addition, eight of the nine current members of the Board of Directors and at least half of the more than 60 employees received degrees from the flagship University.
Giving back to the University of Maine is the right thing to do, said Small and Parker, both graduates of the Class of 1970.
“We felt it was important to say thank you for the quality education we received,” said Small.
Said Parker, “I grew up Downeast as a fisherman. My successful career is a result of the education I got at UMaine. Now I can afford to help make sure the environmental chemistry lab has good quality equipment so the young people coming up can benefit. We’ve got a great company here, and we need well trained employees.”
Over the course of its 30-year history, the company has expanded service offerings and now has four offices in Maine. It continues to grow its staff and service area and to provide excellent employment opportunities within the state.
Engineering graduates from the university continue to play an integral role in CES projects.
“We like to hire UMaine graduates because they’re hard working, well trained and well prepared,” said Parker.
Praising CES’ generosity, UMaine faculty said the firm’s gift would provide the financial stability to ensure the lab will be state-of-the-art. “We need to maintain materials and instrumentation, and we need to purchase additional instrumentation required by new analytical techniques that are continually being developed,” said Aria Amirbahman, associate professor of environmental engineering.
Labs are essential to student engagement and learning, said Eric Landis, chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. “Students can see, touch, and smell how the book-based theory applies and also see the limitations of theories and what complications can arise.”
More than 30 years after they graduated, Parker and Small recall UMaine with fondness. “The university was, to me, a very big place, but I felt right at home,” said Small, who grew up in tiny Bingham.
Both he and Parker agreed their professors had been exceptional teachers.
“All of our instructors were our mentors, and there wasn’t one who wouldn’t sit down and answer your questions one-on-one,” said Small. “I had some real good moments with Otis Sproul – he was very smart. And I got the biggest kick out of Clarence Bennett’s lectures. He kept them interesting – you never knew what was going to happen.”
Parker praised his professors for “teaching us how to think like engineers. They didn’t give us answers, they showed us how to find them. Because many of them worked in the field, they brought a tremendous amount of practical experience back to class.
“And the classes weren’t just about sitting and studying,” he continued. “Our professors actually showed us what was happening. In (Professor) Bill Gorrill’s geo-technology class, for instance, he wouldn’t just bring you through the textbook. He’d take you to look at the site.”
Academics aren’t the only reason Parker values his UMaine experience.
“My best memories are the friendships I developed,” he said. “I made friends with all kinds of people. And they all became business leaders. In fact, they’re the architects and consultants I’m doing business with today!”
To find out more information about CES, Inc., visit their website at www.ces-maine.com.Posted in News