ACE Mentor Program

Joe Klich


The ACE Mentor Program is a high school mentoring program designed to educate students about architecture, construction, and engineering with the goal of encouraging them to pursue a career in one of those disciplines.  Students will meet over the course of a school year with industry professionals to work on projects that they will present at the end of the year.  During the course of working on their projects they gain a general knowledge about architecture, construction, and engineering.  The program also includes jobsite visits to show the students real- life examples of what they have learned.

The ACE Mentor Program was created in 1994 in New York City by Charlie Thornton.  He saw a need to educate the youth of the local community about architecture, construction and engineering to improve the quality of the ACE industry.  The ACE Mentor Program now has a presence in over 200 cities in America, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The ACE Mentor Program Houston was created in 2008 with 35 students completing the program. To date we have had 385 students from over 42 different high schools complete the program and have awarded over $90,000 in scholarships.  There are currently six locations throughout Houston where students meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to learn about architecture, construction and engineering.  The majority of students that complete the program do pursue a career in architecture, construction or engineering.  The biggest benefit to the local construction industry is that we are creating an educated workforce that will improve the quality of the people entering the industry.

For people interested in finding out more about how to get involved contact Carlos Neves at  We are also having our fall “Build it Forward” event.  At the event students and industry professionals will come together to build picnic tables that will be donated to various charities.  If you are interested in participating or sponsoring a team contact for more information.

Joe Klich is Chairman of the Board of Directors for ACE Mentor Program Houston, Inc. He has been with the organization since 2008 serving in various capacities including being a mentor. Joe is a graduate of Texas A&M University, has 5 years in the construction industry and is currently a Senior Project Engineer in the Houston office of Skanska.



  1. Avatar
    Vic Jackson 15 August, 2013 at 14:19 Reply

    I’m interested in this program, as this is the first time I’m hearing about this. I’m wondering are the teams in place to just serve as a focal point for instruction or is there some kind of competitive element to this program?

    Seems like a great way for a company to get to know their future workforce, and possibly make a mark on a great future employee!

    • Avatar
      Carlos Neves 23 August, 2013 at 10:00 Reply


      My name is Carlos Neves and as Joe states in the post, I am the lead for Recruitment in the Houston area. To answer your question above, the primary reason for separate locations is to cater to the different locations of the various schools. As you know, Houston covers a very large land area, so this makes it easier for students to attend. However, there is a final presentation at the end of the school year that offers the students an opportunity to compete against eachother.

      If you have any other questions or an interest in joining ACE in any capacity, feel free to contact me at


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