Students, administrators, and city dignitaries, including Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, gathered at the Lower Sproul construction site Oct. 14 to sign the final steel beam for the frame of Eshleman Hall, the Student Union Building.
As a crane lifted the beam, two Berkeley-Haas alumni in attendance, Tom Glazier, BS 04, and Rick Liu, BS 05, were especially proud, as they work for the Bay Area company that is supplying the steel for the project.
“When I applied to Haas I wrote in my essay how I wanted to make a mark on the Bay Area skyline through the company that was started by my dad in 1979,” said Glazier, vice president and co-owner of Hayward-based Glazier Steel. “Seeing that happen at Berkeley is particularly rewarding.”
As a child, Glazier often accompanied his father on job sites, helping to direct cranes and install steel.
During his freshman year at Fremont Christian High School he met Rick Liu on the varsity volleyball team. It was the start of a long friendship that continued as undergraduate students at Haas.
“Haas not only provided a great education, but the community of people, both students and faculty, was amazing,” Glazier said. “It’s a thriving environment of ambition and excitement.”
Liu especially appreciated how undergraduates mixed with MBA students . “Hearing about graduate students’ pursuits and goals got me motivated and excited about my own plans,” he said.
After graduating, the two went separate ways for work, but remained friends. Glazier joined his family’s steel business, starting in accounting and then moving into project management and operations. Liu joined the accounting department at Ernst & Young and then worked in corporate finance at the Gap.
One night in 2011, Glazier and Liu were having dinner. Glazier asked him if he knew anyone with accounting and finance experience who might want to join Glazier Steel.
“At first I was thinking about who I could recommend,” Liu said, with a laugh. “Then it just clicked. I was a very good match for the job.”
Today, Liu is the company’s financial controller, working alongside Glazier, who leads general management and operations.
Over the last few years, the company has grown by an average of 22 percent per year and doubled its number of yearly projects, which include the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and the $223 million Lower Sproul Project.
The Lower Sproul Project started five years ago and is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2015. It is designed to create a more vibrant gathering place for social and academic interaction and essential student services.
The project includes a new seismically-improved Eshleman Hall; a renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, César Chávez Student Center and Anthony Hall; as well as new late-night cafes, study areas, and meeting spaces.