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AGC of California Awards Presidentís Scholarship

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The AGC of California recently presented its annual Presidentís Scholarship Award for 2010 to Jose Buenrostro, a junior at Sacramento State University.

Pictured during scholarship luncheon in Sacramento are, from left, Mike Mencarini, Unger Construction Co.; AGC of California Immediate Past President Bob Christenson; AGC scholarship recipient Jose Buenrostro; and Cathy Skeen, Excel Bonds & Insurance Services and Immediate Past Chair of the AGC Associates Council.
Pictured during scholarship luncheon in Sacramento are, from left, Mike Mencarini, Unger Construction Co.; AGC of California Immediate Past President Bob Christenson; AGC scholarship recipient Jose Buenrostro; and Cathy Skeen, Excel Bonds & Insurance Services and Immediate Past Chair of the AGC Associates Council.
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2010 AGCC President Bob Christenson and several AGC Construction Education Foundation board members honored Buenrostro at a luncheon last month at Riverside Clubhouse in Sacramento. He was presented with a $5,000 check in recognition of his academic excellence, experience serving as an intern with several construction companies and his involvement within the community coaching youth soccer.

The AGC of California Presidentís Scholarship Award recipient is selected each year by the associationís president, and it is awarded to a deserving student who has demonstrated academic excellence in an industry related program. Fundraising efforts are led by the AGC Associates Council, which in 2010 successfully raised $5,000 for the scholarship.

ďWhen I received Joseís scholarship information for review I was blown away by his achievements, but also amazed by how he has worked to overcome a number of challenges to get where he is today,Ē says Christenson.

Buenrostroís story is one of perseverance. Born in Watsonville, he was brought up in a home where strong work ethic was stressed and education was equally important. Always academically advanced, Buenrostro won several scholarships in high school while concurrently taking college courses at Hartnell Community College.

During his first year in college, he and his wife (then girlfriend) welcomed a baby boy. Buenrostro made the decision to put college on hold for the first five years of his sonís life in order to work and support his family.

He worked in the retail business until his father started his own construction firm in 2003, where he joined him as a laborer for four years. With his wifeís encouragement, he returned to Hartnell where he graduated with his AA in Construction Management in 2008.

After some tough decision making, he relocated without his family in the fall of 2008 to enroll in CSUSís Construction Management Engineering program. However, Buenrostro makes the trek back to Carmel Valley every weekend to be with his family and in the fall he coaches his sonís soccer team.

He served as a project engineer intern on the CSUS Recreation and Wellness Center Project. Additionally, he competed in the ASC Student Completion in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Buenrostro said he will use the 2010 AGC Presidentís Scholarship to better prepare himself as a construction management professional by completing LEED Accreditation courses and testing.

Sophia Taft
SOPHIA TAFT
Sophia Taft Promoted to AGC of California's Communications Manager

Sophia Taft was recently promoted to AGC of Californiaís communications manager, taking over the position from recently retired Pam Gray. Gray began her career with AGC in 1985 as the administrative assistant to the Joint Engineering Division, Legislative and Safety Departments. She was promoted to the Assistant to the Executive Vice President and Secretary to the State Board of Directors in 1987, and most recently served as the Manager of Communications & Conferences since 2006. Her many accomplishments include AGC of California receiving the coveted AGC of America Public Relations Award in 2005 for her coverage on the highway transportation/Proposition 42 issue.

Taft started with AGC in 2005 as the administrative assistant to the Safety Director and Assistant to the CEO. In 2006 she was promoted to Executive Assistant and Secretary to the State Board of Directors, and served in that capacity until her recent promotion. Prior to joining AGC, Taftís work experience included a strong customer service background in the wireless industry at Verizon Wireless as a sales analyst for over five years. She also attended Sacramento State and is currently pursuing a Bachelorís degree in Business Marketing. As the new Communications Manager, Taft will be responsible for the oversight of all AGC communications including newsletters, public relations and marketing.

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