As he graduated from Pittsburg State University in May, Josh Cooper had two tools in his toolbox: a degree in construction management and a full-time position as a project manager with E&K of Kansas City. The position came as a result of his hard work during two summers of interning with the company. The transition from intern to full-time employee was seamless and now, he is more than grateful for the opportunity to work in the field he’s always been interested in.
The building doesn’t stop for Josh, who after working 10 hour days, goes home to his own construction project: rehabbing a 102-year-old home he inherited from his family. “I started with patching up the closet and it grew from there.” He hopes to be done by the end of the summer and says the project has taught him one thing for sure: expect the unexpected.
Those words could not have resonated more for the 20/20 Leadership alum who graduated from University Academy in 2012, initially without the KC Royals scholarship. He received a call from 20/20 during the first semester of his sophomore year. The timing of the call was perfect as financial aid issues caused him to doubt his ability to continue at Pittsburg State the following semester. “I thought I would have to go home every weekend to work just to make enough to pay for school.” After being named a KC Royals Scholar, Josh had all college expenses covered.
Josh credits 20/20 Leadership for helping him to develop professionally, receiving positive feedback about his interview skills. “The interview prep during the business expo was helpful because I know how to talk to people,” he said. He also credits the program for helping him understand the importance of both networking and relationship building. His senior project at Pittsburg State involved the design and installation of a sidewalk on campus. Before any construction began, Josh and his team had to meet with key constituents, including the president of the university. “Between my school and 20/20 Leadership, I felt prepared for those experiences,” he said.
All in all, Josh has taken what he describes as destructive behavior as a young child and turn it into something much more constructive.