For the past several semesters, Mark Cobb has been an adjunct professor in the Thomas University School of Business. He has taught primarily in the MBA programs focusing on leadership and business economics. In January 2015, however, Mark will teach a special topics course on Georgia Construction Law which he hopes will be appealing to current students as well as to area professionals!
“Construction contracts,” says Mark, “are business contracts on steroids; they frequently involve multi-million dollar projects, investors, contractors, scores of subcontractors and hundreds of sub-subcontractors and suppliers; furthermore, they can take years to complete and the contracts are frequently amended due to such factors as cost escalation, changing site plans, investor issues, and weather.” Thus, Mark shared, “this class presents the perfect canvas for understanding every aspect of business.”
Since this course is being offered on the undergraduate college level, he wanted the class to learn skill that reach beyond mere construction law; thus, his class will use the construction industry as a real-world backdrop for an understanding that will translate to the larger world of business. Specifically, the course will look at contracts, negotiation, and resolution–three areas used almost everyday by Mark in his practice.
On a more-specific level, the students will cover such topics as project development, visionaries, banking issues, the economic impact of government funded construction projects, competitive bidding and the free market, preferential bidding and its impact, estimating and accounting practices, profit calculation, contract drafting and terminology, contract negotiation, insurance requirements, payment issues, contract breach/default, dispute resolution options, construction project scheduling, successful leadership strategies, and business ethics. As Marks describes this college course, “It’s a one-stop shop for business success in the 21st century.”
Because this class is a hybrid class (it meets for a live class one day a week and the balance of the work is handled on-line), Mark looks forward to bringing in engaging specialists in development, town planning, construction, bidding, and minority-own businesses as guests to enliven the conversation and provide students with access to area professionals.
The class is open to all Thomas University students, but anyone who wishes to participate in the class is welcome to audit the class (for more information, click here to contact Thomas University Admissions; the course ID is BUS449-HYA.Sp2015).
The syllabus is still being finalized, but there will likely be one large projects as well as weekly research, writing and discussion assignments. The larger project will be negotiation of a contract dispute in which students will be expected to prepare for and persuasively present their case and find a workable solution. Due to the universal applicability of the class, a background in construction or law is not needed.
When Mark began teaching at Thomas University, he had been working on a book entitled Construction Subcontracting: A Comprehensive Practical and Legal Guide to be published by the American Bar Association. When the book was published in the spring of 2014, Ann Marie Emmons, Chair and Assistant Professor of Business at Thomas University, suggested that Mark use this book as a guide for a special topics class, and he has been planning on the best way to make this class useful to all business students and construction professionals.
Now that this special topics class is a reality, Professor Emmons states that “Thomas University is pleased to offer a unique special topics course for business management majors this spring. We are excited to have Mark bring his area of expertise, for which he has extensively presented and published, to our students; it will certainly enrich our students’ knowledge of the complexities and practical considerations in the real world business environment.”
Mark has been a Georgia construction attorney for over 20 years; he began working at a boutique law firm in Atlanta, and in 1998 he opened his own firm, the Cobb Law Group. The firm now has two offices representing contractors, specialty trade subcontractors, and materials suppliers throughout the state. He received his J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law, and he has lectured and published extensively on construction contracting, Georgia materialmen’s liens, and payment bonds claims and law. Mark is married and has two children.
If you have any questions regarding the class which Mark is teaching the spring of 2015, or if you have any Georgia construction law needs, please contact mark here > >