Alumnus Paul Crow’s co-ops lead to successful path in construction
Paul Crow ‘86 didn’t know if he wanted to be an industrial teacher, an architect or work in construction management. After visiting Bowling Green State University for the first time, he liked the fact that they had a College of Technology (former name) with a construction management major and offered a co-op program that other universities did not. He decided on construction management.
Crow, who is President and CEO of Tuttle Construction and sister company Touchstone CPM, located in Lima, Ohio graduated with a construction management degree and participated in the required co-op programs.
“The co-ops for me were great experiences,” Crow said. “I actually used my last co-op as kind of a probationary employment period. I made a deal with my employer that I would do my last co-op with them and it would be their opportunity to test me out. If it worked and they liked me, we could sign up and go to work. And that’s exactly what happened.”
After graduation Crow went to work with a large concrete construction company, and for about four and a half years, traveled all over the eastern half of the United States building large concrete construction projects. He had the opportunity to see different geographic areas of the country, and actually in those travels met his wife.
Crow decided to travel less and spent seven years in Southeast Michigan where he and his wife started a family. As their family grew, they wanted to move back to the Lima area that Crow knew, and his wife, oddly enough, had family there as well.
The owner of Tuttle at that time was planning to sell the business, and was looking for somebody that would be interested in buying the company. Crow started working at Tuttle in 1995 and became president and majority owner in 2015.
Besides engaging with BGSU on various University construction projects over the years, Tuttle has worked with many BGSU co-op students from the construction management program and currently has on staff eight team members who are also BGSU alumni from the college. Their most recent BGSU co-op to full-time employee, Tonya Kaufman ‘17 from the construction management program, is employed as a project engineer overseeing a $34 million 126,600 square foot new PK-12 school building project in Defiance, Ohio.
“Co-ops are a great opportunity for students to identify the path that they want to take in this industry,” Crow said. “There are so many different directions you can go. You can work for an owner, for a construction company, for a developer or a public entity. A co-op experience is not only to figure out what path you might want to take, but maybe where you want to be geographically. It’s just a great opportunity.”
“Co-ops also give employers an opportunity to meet students,” Crow said. “A lot of times as we hire a co-op student and they’re on their second or third co-op experience, we’re ready to make an offer. They don’t have to go through the process of interviews.”
“Receiving a degree in construction management from BGSU has meant a lot to me, and it’s done a lot for my life, and most of all, the students that I have come across in this industry are excelling from the BGSU program,” Crow said. “I keep in contact with probably seven or eight guys that I went to school with and they are all doing well at their established companies. We’ve always had great experiences with our co-op students and employees that went to Bowling Green. I mean, it’s the number one school, what can I say.”
Tuttle is celebrating milestone anniversaries this year while the college’s Cooperative Education Program celebrates a milestone also. Tuttle Construction is in its 90th year of business and Touchstone CPM is celebrating its 15th company anniversary. The college will be celebrating 50 years for the co-op program. Look for more information on our Cooperative Education Program celebration in our September newsletter and on social media.