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C. John and Lynn Ann Eng Construction Management Endowed Scholarship

C. John Eng was born in York, Nebraska and Lynn Ann Fenton Eng was born in Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

After John earned a degree from the University of Nebraska in construction science and Lynn Ann Fenton Eng received a nursing degree in Sioux City, Iowa, the two met while working in Omaha, Nebraska. After some time, John moved to Alaska and the couple began a long-distance relationship. Eventually, John and Lynn Ann married in Anchorage in 1986.

John Eng passed away in July 2021. He is survived by his wife, Lynn Ann and two sons, Jason and Geoffrey. John was a leader in the Alaska construction industry and co-founder of Cornerstone Construction in 1993. Despite his great success as a general contractor, he was probably better known as a mentor, community leader, wonderful host at his Hillside home and philanthropist with a great sense of humor and yet a relentless curiosity about all things around him.

Through this scholarship, The Eng family pass on a culture instilled from their families, one of encouragement, learning and education with a useful purpose. Continuing education was an important component of John and Lynn Ann’s worldview. John was quite fond of the phrase, “If you do not like or cannot deal well with innovation and change, you are probably going to have one hell of a time with being obsolete.”

A regular reader of both novels and nonfiction, John had interests in health, economics, science, business and history. He loved to both read – up to 50 books a year – and give books he found interesting to almost anyone who would take one. People often told John that they don’t enjoy reading, to which he replied, “If you went to a physician for a serious health ailment, would you feel comfortable if the physician told you that he had not read any current medical or health science publications in the past several years because they do not enjoy reading?” and then adding, “Well, if you think you want to be in business or any other career, don’t you think you would benefit the business or industry of which you think you are active if you read current trends, developments, changes, enhancements or any other positive developments?”

John and Lynn Ann found career success by helping people develop in an appropriate, caring manner and pursuing a field that is in the best interest of all parties. Some of their successes are a result of hiring people who were fair, honest, competent, receptive to training and had great attitudes.

Early in his career, John was told by an employer if there had to be a choice between selecting two potential employees, he could consider the following: If one prospect has great prior experience and a terrible attitude, and the alternate prospect has limited experience but a positive and realistic attitude, select the employee with the best attitude. The person with the best attitude will obtain experience while the other prospect will seldom acquire a more positive attitude. Despite working to employ members with positive traits on their leadership team, it occasionally occurs that a less than suitable employee is given employment.

Associated General Contractor (AGC) had been working to assemble funding for a UAA endowed faculty position, but after working on the project for several years, limited financial progress had occurred. Jeff Callahan, then a construction management professor at UAA, suggested that since John and Lynn Ann had contributed almost all of the funding for the endowed faculty position, that the funding become a scholarship fund to be named the C. John Eng Construction Management Scholarship. John reminded Jeff that his favorite teammate and best friend was his wife and that any prior success either of them enjoyed was in great part because of the encouragement they provided each other. As a result, John suggested that the scholarship should be connected to each of their names. The scholarship was created in response to a proposal initiated by Jeff Callahan that both John and Lynn Ann believed would be beneficial to all concerned parties.

It was John and Lynn Ann’s hope that scholarship recipients are noted for worthwhile achievements that may not have been possible without the help and encouragement offered by such a scholarship.

Impact

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