In his hometown of Omro, Wisconsin, Caleb Boutin has spent his high school years and summers working at Omro Building Center.
Upon his acceptance to the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, he traveled nearly 800 miles to begin his college career at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, never imagining that his college journey would eventually lead him back to his small hometown of about 3,500 people.
“Coming to Little Rock was out of my comfort zone,” Boutin said. “In some respects, I am sad about graduating and closing a door on the last four years. I’m forever grateful for the generosity of the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, the School of Business, and the university. I walk away looking fondly and happily on my university experience.”
Boutin is graduating this semester with two Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in finance and economics as well as a certificate in business analytics.
At UA Little Rock, Boutin served as a resident assistant, a student ambassador in the School of Business, and a member of the Donaghey Scholars Student Committee.
Boutin’s research with Dr. Casey Rockwell, a professor of marketing and advertising, led to his capstone project for the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, “Destroying Ships or the Industry: Legal and Economic Consequences of No Vessel Status in the Shipbreaking Industry.” He received two grants to fund this research and presented it at three conferences, earning him first place in the economics category at the UA Little Rock’s Student Research and Creative Works Expo.
“Halfway through my undergraduate degree, I knew that my work experience in construction is something I wanted to pursue,” he said.
Having taken a heavy course load during his first three years of college, Boutin moved back home to Wisconsin to finish his senior year online while working part-time as the yard foreman at Omro Building Center.
“This place has allowed me to grow as a person,” Boutin said. “They’ve seen me go from being a kid who didn’t know how to operate a forklift to an emerging leader managing employees and yard operations. I’m forever grateful for the trust management, in particular Eric and Ron, have shown in me.”
After graduation, he will begin a full-time position at Omro Building Center as well as start an online program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to earn a master’s degree in engineering with a concentration in construction engineering management.
“This online program is unique,” Boutin said. “It’s not your typical MBA program. It will help me make the bridge between my business degrees and how to break into the construction industry. Coupled with my work, I am very excited for the next two years.”
In the future, Boutin sees himself in the construction industry and real estate business ventures, giving him the best of both worlds.