Rhett Butler is excited to build things, which is why transferring to UNT was the right choice.
“I always wanted to be part of the building process,” says Rhett.
Rhett struggled in the beginning of his academic career at Texas Tech University, where he majored in Civil Engineering, but transferring to UNT turned things around.
“I looked into the great Construction Engineering program. Since I came to UNT, it’s been a life-changing experience.”
Rhett immediately immersed himself in the opportunities provided by UNT’s Construction Engineering Technology program, including working in the UNT structural testing laboratory.
“Working as a research assistant helped me understand how components of a structure really work. I conducted many structural tests with our team. I was most excited about the construction of our cold-formed steel tactical shelter for the military.”
Rhett worked with professor Cheng Yu, director of the lab, on the shelter project funded by the U.S. Army. He says Yu and others in the department mentored him and helped him learn more about the industry.
“Dr. Yu and Dr. Al Attah had the most impact on my time at UNT. Dr. Yu gave me the opportunity of learning structural design, and Dr. Al gave me great knowledge of the construction industry.”
Rhett says time management has been the biggest challenge to overcome in earning his degree. He not only worked as a research assistant at UNT, but he also worked part-time for construction firms and participated in industry-related student organizations.
“I’ve worked throughout my college career. I’ve only taken a little financial aid.”
Rhett’s hard work paid off with new opportunities, including the chance to work for top companies on the DFW construction scene, Baker Triangle and now Andres Construction.
“Currently, I work with Andres Construction in their preconstruction department, and I’ll work for them full-time after I graduate. I can’t wait!”
Rhett says the key to his success is getting involved with organizations. His senior year, Rhett served as president of the Association of Construction and Engineering Technology (ACET), which helps connect students with the construction industry.
The most important activity Rhett participated in was a competition sponsored by the TEXO construction association. Through the competition, he made contacts at Andres Construction that eventually led to his job.
“My advice to freshman is to get involved with as many career-related organizations, internships and jobs as you can. Get involved in your industry.”