Using its successful Concrete Industry Management program as a model, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is seeking industry support to launch a degree program for the restoration industry. Dr. Jake Avila, an associate professor at MTSU, points out the idea for a restoration industry degree program grew out of a clear need expressed by the industry.

“We have to reach young people,” he told Restoration & Remediation, “making a connection with high schools, community colleges and universities.” He continued, noting the restoration industry is a $200 billion industry – larger, in fact, than the concrete industry which has supported a Concrete Industry Management program at MTSU. 

With 20 years in the restoration industry, Dr. Avila sees the need first hand. But, the idea to develop and launch a program has been evolved from research, conference presentations, and feedback from industry leaders.

While details of the core program have been evolving, funding needs have also been quantified. This is a joint effort of the industry and the university, Avila stresses. An initial target for industry contributions is $1 million. Avila explains that funds raised for the restoration industry program would be placed in a foundation account where it would generate a 4% return. That $40,000 per year would partly fund the restoration industry program. 

The initial $1 million would help establish an endowed professor position by December 2024. A subsequent $2 million, similarly placed in the foundation account and generating an additional $80,000 per year, would fund student scholarships for tuition and industry certifications, student travel to conferences, and lab/classroom equipment.

The program has already created the first restoration estimating class and hosted the first of planned annual industry conferences. It has secured approximately $220,000 in gift commitments and onboarded two restoration contractors to recruit students/graduates from MTSU’s construction management programs, and it has established an industry advisory board for governing restoration-related activities at MTSU.

The university has stepped up and offers to offset some costs and provide state-of-the-art facilities, program administrative support, and more.

The Restoration Industry Management program will offer degree concentration courses including Restoration Industry Science and Practices, EMS and Mitigation Estimating, Structural and Catastrophe Estimating, Restoration Project Management, and a Restoration Industry Internship.

The industry is urged to support the program and can contact Dr. Jake Avila for more information at (615) 898-5715, or