One UA Little Rock alumnus has made the university’s annual Giving Day celebration extra special with the day’s largest donation of $50,000.
Chris Meyer, president and CEO of James A. Rogers Excavating, Inc., made the donation on March 29 to sponsor the Soils Laboratory in the Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering at UA Little Rock.
“This gift will support learning experiences for students in the department’s majors in understanding the role that soils and soil testing are integral to contractors and engineers,” said Dr. Hank Bray, chair of the Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering. “It will support upgrades in equipment and instruction to maintain our leadership role in this area.”
Meyer leads James A. Rogers Excavating, a family business with 37 employees where Meyer has worked since he was 18.
“I was working and attending Pulaski Tech,” Meyer said. “At 20, I quit going to school and started working full time. My grandfather came to me to say that wasn’t going to work for him. He told me to go to school for construction management. From 2008 to 2015, I was going to night classes at UA Little Rock plus working full time to get us where we are today. I went to school, got an education, and got on-the-job training. In 2016, my grandfather determined he was ready to retire, and that is when I purchased the company from him.”
Meyer said that James A. Rogers Excavating has a history of giving back to the community and sponsors organizations like Special Olympics. His donation to UA Little Rock is an investment in the next generation of construction management students.
“We are trying to give back to the community that has given so much to us and trying to create an atmosphere for the next generation,” Meyer said. “Being able to sponsor the Soils Lab is not just a construction project. Everything in life starts with a foundation. Soil is the foundation that everything begins with, and I thought it was a good effort. There are so many people who want to go to college and further their education. Ninety percent of the project managers in this area have graduated in construction management from UA Little Rock. I hope there is a return on investment, and they want to give James A. Rogers Excavating a call when they graduate.”
Meyer also works with his parents, Ken and Sheri Meyer, who both said that Chris is always helping others, but rarely takes credit for his good work.
“At James A Rogers Excavating, we don’t consider ourselves a team,” said Ken Meyer, senior accounts manager. “We consider ourselves a family, and there’s 37 members in that family. Chris is very generous and humble. He often helps out employees who need vehicle repairs and need financial help. He pays for them and then allows the employees to pay the company back. He would prefer to sit back in the shadows and let everyone else get the credit and praise. That’s just the way he’s been his entire life.”
“Chris is very determined whenever he sets a goal,” Sheri Meyer agreed. “He puts everybody else before himself and makes sure his employees are taken care of.”