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Releasing the Reins

By Melanie Moffett
In Bayou Profile
Apr 25th, 2014
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P1020483

ULM School of Construction Management Director Rides Into Sunset After 26 Years of Service

by Trent Livngston

With titles such as instructor, assistant, operator, carpenter, superintendent and ironworker it seems that there was none more important than Director to this month’s Bayou Profile—Dr. Keith Parker.  “Getting to see the students come into our school as a raw gem and leave into the industry and then return polished is what I feel is the most memorable,” stated Dr. Parker as I sat across from him at his desk.  “This is all that’s left of a 26 year career,” as he points around the room to a few boxes, pictures and awards. “I have packed it all up as of today and in 30 days to the date I will be in this office and at the helm the last time.”

With over thousands graduated and a couple thousand taught, it’s unique to see the sparkle still in his eye for what has been a challenging yet rewarding time.  Frankly, for a moment while at his desk, I hope that he doesn’t give me the glare of disdain while pushing his glasses up that I have seen before while attending his class and being under his direction.  I was fortunate to pass through the School of Construction Management while Dr. Parker was in charge and sat in several of his classes. With a reputation that preceded him, Dr. Parker was challenging but knew how to get the most out of his students.  You seemed to always know that even though the “tough love” was there, he was only preparing you for what lay ahead in the construction industry.  He knew what he was doing at that moment would more than reward him in his favorite thing, “seeing the success of graduates of the program.”

“What besides the memories are you leaving with?” I asked.  “A set of colleagues and peers as friends, no regrets, and white hair and beard.” “Miss or not miss?” I questioned.  “I will miss the graduates coming back to visit and not miss being the disciplinarian.”

Looks like where Dr. Parker is headed for the next while, he won’t have to worry about the disciplinarian part. As Dr. Parker sat in his chair, I asked, “What is the next chapter?” He smiled and replied, “Costa Rica for the next three weeks.”  If you see Dr. Keith A. Parker, this month’s Bayou Profile thank him for his service and congratulate him on his next chapter  which he begins writing after a much needed vacation.