Celebrating JA Alumni Month with Board Member, Brian Cahill

As we continue the tradition of celebrating January as JA Alumni Month, we are proud to feature one of our "WOW" JA graduates: Brian Cahill.  The President of the CA Division at Balfour Beatty Construction has been a dedicated supporter of Junior Achievement since his high school days.

Brian was first introduced to JA in his home town of Battle Creek, Michigan, when he was encouraged to get involved in the JA Company Program, a hallmark of JA dating back to 1919.   

His teen company sold radio ads to local businesses.

“The JA Company Program introduced me to the real-world of business,” said Brian.  “I was actually calling business owners and securing radio spots that were broadcasted on a Saturday morning radio show we produced.   I am proud to say I still practice the fundamental business principals that were shared with us through the JA curriculum.”

Today, Cahill is a Certified Construction Manager and a LEED accredited professional. He oversees the work of approximately 300 employees, including office staff and a wide range of construction industry professionals at Balfour Beatty. 

"Learning how to create and operate a business from the ground up is extremely important.  These skills are not taught in school and they should be because small businesses are the driving force of our economy creating 70 percent of the jobs in America,” said Brian. 

Brian joined the JA of San Diego Board of Directors in 2005 and played a key role in the construction and successful opening of the McGrath Family JA BizTown in 2006.    

“I'm living proof that all it takes is one person to plant a seed to alter the course of a child's life,” Brian said.

Today, the two story mini-city is home to 18,000 fifth graders each year. 

Under his guidance, the innovative team of Balfour Beatty Construction also built JA’s newest experiential learning center, Mission Fed JA Finance Park.  The 6,300 square foot, high-tech facility takes “reality-based” learning to a new level by placing students in authentic, real-world scenarios, where they take control of their financial decisions. The JA Finance Park experience allows students to imagine who they want to be, while providing hands-on tools to plan for their future and reach their full career potential. 

“In an age when most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, Junior Achievement is the only nonprofit working in our community to teach kids financial education from an early age with practical, real world concepts delivered in San Diego schools,” said Brian.  

In the spring, Brian will continue to carry the torch for JA.  He will help JA celebrate a historic milestone of reaching our 1 millionth student by serving on the executive team that will launch a “1 Millionth Student Campaign” in February with the goal of raising $5 million dollars.  

The financial support will help JA fund, sustain and grow our student outreach with the goal of reaching 20% of the student population by 2020.

Thank you Brian for your time, energy and passion to inspire the next generation of San Diego’s leaders.

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Kristi Zimsky

Kristi Zimsky

PR and Social Media Manager