BLGY Architecture earns 2018 Employers for Education Excellence Award
From left to right: Cathy Jones, Exec. Director, Austin ISD Partners in Education; Sita Lakshminarayan, Vice-Pres., BLGY Architecture; Benny Hawkins, President, CEO, BLGY Architecture; and his wife, Beatrice Hawkins; Cindy Hagler, Controller, BLGY Architecture; Mark Brown, Vice-Pres., BLGY Architecture; and Caroline Newman-Phillips, Coordinator, Austin Education Fund
The State Board of Education presented the 2018 Employers for Education Excellence Award to BLGY Architecture of Austin for its extensive support of Round Rock and Austin schools and teachers.
The award, created by the Texas Legislature in 2007, recognizes Texas employers that encourage and support employees who actively participate in school activities and promote voluntarism in the public schools.
BLGY actively encourages employees to attend parent-teacher conferences, participate in school activities, and mentor students. On average, 30 percent of the firm’s employees mentor students or volunteer in the schools.
“BLGY Architecture is a great business partner for Central Texas schools. Its leaders look for opportunities to bring mentors and business training into schools and then work to sustain the programs and partnerships. The State Board of Education is pleased to award this outstanding company with the 2018 gold-level Employers for Education Excellence Award,” said Donna Bahorich, board chair.
Benny L. Hawkins, BLGY’s president and chief executive officer, sets the tone for this volunteer effort. He regularly volunteers his time to mentor elementary, middle, and high school students.
While BLGY employees volunteer with several school districts, the firm has a long-standing mentoring partnership with the Round Rock Independent School District. The firm works with Westwood High School to provide on-campus and off-campus mentoring activities. It hosts a workshop called “Soft Skills for College and Career Readiness” at the Ambassador Academy at Westwood High. The workshop teaches students about critical thinking and collaboration, listening, punctuality and respect.
The company annually allows two to three Westwood High students to shadow employees, so they learn about topics such as architectural design, construction documents, market dynamics, contracts, and client expectations.
At Lanier High School in the Austin Independent School District, BLGY and one of its Vice-Presidents, Sita Lakshminarayan, together with industry partners, are working on a ground-breaking pilot program called LEED Prep: Green Building Lessons for a Sustainable Future. The course is going to teach students about green building principles and requirements of the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program.
BLGY each year hosts about two dozen high school students as its guests at the “Building Tomorrow’s Leaders” luncheon presented by Austin Community College’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS). During the luncheon and a related reception, the students have the opportunity to network with local professionals. The company also hosts about 70 students each year at CPPPS’s Constitution Debate Day where students debate the meaning and merit of a constitutional issue.
BLGY’s mentoring work extends beyond students. It provides teacher externships in which teachers get hands-on experience about architecture and engineering, including considerable applications of mathematics, that can be incorporated into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
To learn more about the EEE award or to nominate a business for the award, please visit https://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/News_and_Multimedia/Awards/Employers_for_Education_Excellence/.