In two short months, East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) students have experienced numerous “firsts” as part of the unprecedented 12-month Cadence Builds program that connects high school students directly to the comprehensive Master Plan development process. From meeting the Mayor, visiting Council Chambers, connecting with future employers and sharing ideas for building their community, these dynamic students are making the most of a program unlike any in the nation. In the first session with Cadence developer Harvard Investments, 100 Construction Management, Engineering and Design students were able to hear the different paths each executive took to career success – often similar to their own. They also got a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and opportunities developers face, and the paths to resolution. During the session students eagerly asked, “Why did you select the Gateway area?” “How can students be more involved in this project?” “What will be the best thing about Cadence at Gateway?” and “How much will houses cost?” Calvin Cobian, who travels from Apache Junction to be part of the EVIT construction program said, “It was interesting the way they explained the specifics of how to do certain things. My major is construction and (I) want to be able to do every aspect of the business.” At the next session students were treated to a visit from Mesa Mayor John Giles as he opened the morning class, “What you are going to be experiencing this morning is probably better than the education that they are giving at the college level. I’m happy that we’re doing such a great job of educating you by bringing this quality of people to this program.” Students engaged the city representatives, developers’ attorney and the developers in a thoughtful discussion, asking “How many city people review applications (25-40)?”, “How do we contact city officials?” and more. Students came away with interesting facts, such as the big role trash collection plays in community planning. During upcoming sessions, students will work alongside industry-leading land planner and landscape designer Wendell Pickett, dive into the construction management process with Silver Fern executive John Fortini and explore the latest design trends with the community club interiors designer Kim Anderson. “When a student completes this 12-month study, she or he will have unprecedented knowledge about each step in building a community that will serve 1,700 families as well as businesses, schools, retail and more,” said Craig Krumwiede, president of Harvard Investments. “It puts the young person that much closer to understanding career options within this great industry, first-hand access to watching it get built, linking them to the best professionals in the industry and encouraging next steps in their career path.” Interested in learning more about new homes available in the growing Mesa Gateway Corridor? Sign up at