Former friends and colleagues are honoring the memory of Arkansas construction industry leader Michael Allen Lasiter by donating $60,000 toward helping future civil and construction engineering students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
On Monday, Dec. 12, about 10 donating companies and organizations presented the check to establish the Michael Allen Lasiter Endowed Scholarship, which will serve as a permanent tribute to Lasiter’s contributions to the central Arkansas construction industry.
This scholarship will help future engineers turn their dreams into reality, said Lawrence Whitman, dean of the UALR Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT).
“It is great to see a group of people come together and honor a person who impacted their lives which will impact future professionals for years to come,” Whitman said. “Also, I am grateful that the person the scholarship is named after modeled lifelong learning, as that is what UALR EIT hopes to instill in its students.”
At a young age, Lasiter, a Little Rock native, started working at his father’s business, Lasiter Asphalt Maintenance, a small asphalt repair company. He eventually built that business into Redstone Construction, one of the largest highway and asphalt construction companies in the state.
Those who worked with him lauded Lasiter’s focus on mentoring, the value he placed on education, and his ability to motivate his employees to reach their full potential.
In 2007, Redstone became the first Arkansas company to recycle waste asphalt and concrete — cutting costs and helping the environment by giving new life to waste products that previously ended up in landfills.
By 2011, under Lasiter’s leadership, Redstone acquired a quarry, which helped the company open asphalt plants and enabled it to pursue larger highway projects.
In late 2015, doctors diagnosed cancer in Lasiter. He studied the disease, sought the best available medical advice, and followed treatment plans, but lost his battle with cancer two months after his 50th birthday.
A written tribute by the donors praised Lasiter’s legacy:
“Michael’s life was one of learning and teaching. He learned from every situation he encountered. His can-do attitude enabled him to motivate others from the things he had learned. He led by example. He never backed away from any challenge. His legacy will undoubtedly be carried on by everyone he mentored.”