Last April, Whiting School alumnus, and Civil Engineering Visiting Committee member, Alton “Buddy” B. Cleveland Jr. sat down with the civil engineering department’s chair, Hugh Ellis, and Associate Professor Ben Schafer to find a way for his company to contribute to the success of the department. As it turned out, Cleveland found several. Cleveland is the senior vice president in charge of all software development for Bentley Systems, Incorporated, a Pennsylvania-based company whose products move structural design from the draft table to the computer screen, integrating the work of architects, engineers, contractors, and builders.
“There is synergy between what we are doing at Bentley and what the Department of Civil Engineering is doing,” says Cleveland, who graduated from Hopkins with a degree in operations research and industrial engineering in 1972.
Initially, Bentley financed the renovation of the department’s senior design lab, including fresh paint, new carpeting, furniture, and computers. The company then loaded the department’s computers with lifetime memberships for their 100+ software products, course materials, and online training. In all, the gifts are valued at over $60,000.
Says a grateful Schafer, “In the universe of building stuff with computer-aided design, Bentley makes the most powerful products. They cost thousands of dollars, and Bentley gave them to us for free. From a development and education standpoint, they are putting many much-needed tools in the hands of our students.”
According to Cleveland, Bentley benefits, too. “In the long term, there are areas of research we’d like to fund and take advantage of,” he says. The company also plans to fund Whiting School internships so that students can work with Bentley’s clients, matching the university’s engineering brainpower with Bentley’s software on third-party engineering projects.