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Six Named to Michigan Construction Hall of Fame

BIG RAPIDS - The Michigan Construction Hall of Fame will have six new construction industry professionals inducted during an Oct. 21, 2010 banquet and ceremony in Ferris State University's Granger Center for Construction and HVACR.

This year's inductees are the late Earl H. Beckering Jr. of Grand Rapids, Fidell A. Cashero of Livonia, David L. Hamilton of Northville, Herbert A. Spence Jr. and Matthew J. Spence Jr. of Saginaw, and Edwin A. Spence Jr. of Birmingham.

Beckering began his construction career in 1946 working for his father as a superintendent at Beckering Construction Company, the predecessor company of Pioneer Construction, which Beckering founded in 1963 in Grand Rapids. Under Beckering’s leadership, Pioneer Construction experienced continued growth and success, expanding from a $5 million a year operation to nearly $100 million a year in annual construction volume. Beckering semi-retired in 1979 and continued to serve the company in an advisory capacity until 1999. From 1979 until his death, he was an active community leader and philanthropist including active involvement with Rotary and serving as both an elder and deacon for Garfield Park Reformed Church.

After serving in World War II, Cashero returned to the United States and found employment as a laborer for a local contractor, Roy Grunwell, who owned a building restoration business. After several years, he worked his way up from laborer to the firm’s right-hand man. When Grunwell decided to retire in 1953, Cashero bought the company and named the resulting Detroit-based company Grunwell-Cashero. His entrepreneurial spirit and love of his work inspired him to grow the business of masonry restoration when not much was known about the craft. Significant restoration projects include the historic Fisher Building, Detroit Opera House, Fox Theatre and Greenfield Village, to name a few. Cashero built the business to expand into Lansing, Toledo and Cleveland.

Hamilton worked his way up the ladder in the construction industry with various companies, starting as a laborer and moving up to layout engineer, superintendent, general superintendent, project manager, vice president and then succeeding in becoming the president and CEO of The George W. Auch Company in Pontiac from 1994 to 2008. During his career Hamilton always made it a priority to give back to the industry and community. He served on numerous boards and panels, which included the Detroit-area Laborers Health and Welfare Fund, Oakland Community College Foundation Board, Eastern Michigan University College of Technology Construction Management Accreditation Committee, and served as director and juror for the Construction Innovation Forum. His personal and professional integrity, ability as a builder, desire to teach others and help them succeed in their careers, build and grow a business, and his generosity to give back to the industry and community with his time and treasure all help define him as a distinguished constructor.

Herbert, Edwin and Matthew, all former presidents of Spence Brothers in Saginaw, were the key leaders who made Spence Brothers one of the most respected construction companies in Michigan, leaving an incredible legacy of major facilities and dedicated service to their industry and community. Herbert began his distinguished career with Spence Brothers in 1945 as a part-time summer laborer in Grayling. After his graduation from University of Michigan in 1953, he worked full time in and on the family business until 1990. He was the senior member of the third generation of the Spence office and was the estimator and project manager for hundreds of major projects throughout his 45-year career, including construction of the $35 million Ann Arbor Wastewater Treatment Plant, the company’s largest contract of his generation. He served as company president for 11 years.

Edwin is widely recognized throughout Michigan as one of the most knowledgeable construction field operations experts. He has supervised some of the most challenging projects built in the state, from the University of Michigan to Sault Ste. Marie. He also is the main reason Spence Brothers has such an excellent reputation as a complex concrete structure specialist. He was general superintendent overseeing Spence Brothers field operations for decades and mentored young superintendents who carry on Spence Brothers’ legacy today.

Matthew began his career at Spence Brothers in August of 1960 as an estimator/project manager and was given major project responsibilities very early in his career. He obtained and managed dozens of higher education projects including Central Michigan University’s Science Building and Brooks Hall renovations, Eastern Michigan University’s Music building, Saginaw Valley State University’s Ryder Center and the University of Michigan’s Sam Wyly Business School addition, as well as many healthcare projects throughout the state. Matt served on Spence Brothers’ board of directors for 27 years, finishing his career as company president and then chairman. Matt was the most active industry representative of his generation and gave countless hours of service to improve his industry, including serving as president of the Michigan Chapter of the Associated General Contractors.

The hall's previous inductees include first-year inductees the late Thomas E. Dailey of Southfield, John Marshall Harlan of Williamsburg and the late Albert A. White of Lansing; second-year inductees Alton L. Granger of Lansing, the late Herman Gundlach of Houghton, Robert R. Jones of Bloomfield Hills and O.L. "Ozzie" Pfaffmann of Rochester; third-year inductees the late Harry L. “Bud” Conrad Jr. of Lansing, and William A. Hendrick of Saginaw; and fourth-year inductees the late Leon P. Clark of Lansing, Benjamin C. Maibach III of Southfield, the late Ralph J. Stephenson of Mount Pleasant, the late Sheldon G. Hayes of Southfield and the late Sheldon W. Hayes, formerly of Bloomfield Hills and later of DeLand, Fla.; fifth-year inductees John T. Adamo Sr. of Sterling Heights, the late H. Fred Campbell of West Bloomfield, Lee Kitson of Big Rapids, and Robert A. Martin of Grosse Pointe Woods; sixth-year inductees the late Joseph Dunigan of Jackson, James Klett of Dowagiac, the late John Rakolta Sr. of Bloomfield Hills, and Roy Rewold of Rochester; and seventh-year inductees the late Chris Anton of Muskegon, Kenneth Bensen of Lansing, Larry Erhardt of Ada and the late C. Edwin Haltenhoff of Holland.

Michigan Construction Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee of professionals representing the Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors of Michigan, Construction Association of Michigan, Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, Michigan Association of Home Builders and Ferris State University Construction Technology and Management programs.
Selection criteria include achievement in technical, managerial and leadership areas, state or national prominence as a result of industry or community activities, and service to the profession and community.

The Michigan Construction Hall of Fame serves as a permanent place for members of the construction industry to recognize and appreciate the endeavors of leaders of the Michigan construction industry. Off-campus visitors can access the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame at Inductees and their stories are featured on this Web site.

This event is open to the public through sponsorship. Further information is available by contacting Advancement Officer Karen Lerew with Ferris State University's College of Engineering Technology at or (231) 591-2895.