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Builders exec honored for lifetime of commitment to construction industry

For more than 40 years, Southern Illinois Builders Association CEO Donna Richter has been dedicated to the betterment of the construction industry in Southern Illinois.

For this work and her ongoing partnership with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Richter was honored this year with the university’s Distinguished Service Award during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 18.

“Over the past four decades, Donna has strengthened SIUE’s construction program while making an indelible mark on the construction industry in Southern Illinois,” said SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook. “Her commitment to training the next generation of construction professionals has created valuable educational opportunities for our students.”

“I am very honored to be selected for this prestigious award,” said Richter, who also serves as the administrator of the Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program (SICAP). “By participating in various organizations and institutions, I have been able to see firsthand how many entities work together for the betterment of the construction industry. Hopefully I have helped them achieve their goals.”

Richter began working at SIBA, which serves as a trade association for commercial contractors in the southern 39 counties in Illinois, as an administrative assistant in 1981. She was promoted to director of operations, membership director, IT manager and assistant executive director before being appointed chief executive officer in 2015.

Over the course of her career, Richter has developed a strong partnership with SIUE and its School of Engineering. She has created numerous opportunities for students in the Department of Construction by funding scholarships, sharing industry connections and supporting advancement initiatives.

“Donna is one of the School of Engineering’s most valued friends,” said Dean Cem Karacal, PhD. “The resources SIBA has provided in the form of scholarships, equipment and networking support have been instrumental for our construction program to grow, gain academic strength and reputation, and significantly enrich the educational experience of our students. We are thrilled to see that Donna’s outstanding service to the University is recognized through such a prestigious award.”

“SIBA/SICAP believes supporting SIUE ensures that students are trained with state-of-the-art equipment and in construction-related programs that will prove beneficial in the industry,” said Richter, who is a member of the SIUE Construction Leadership Institute Board and the SIUE Construction Advisory Board. “It is imperative that SIUE has the resources to retain the faculty necessary to teach and train future generations.”

In addition to her partnership with SIUE, Richter is active in numerous other institutions and nonprofit boards, including Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois Executive Committee and Board of Directors; Cement Masons Local 90 Health, Welfare and Pension Fund trustee; John A. Logan College, Kaskaskia College and Southwestern Illinois College Construction Department Advisory Committees; St. Louis Regional Chamber Leadership Roundtable; and Associated General Contractors of America Executive Leadership Council; among others.

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