Two local companies sponsor The Construction Zone to encourage kids to consider construction careers

ROANOKE, VA – November 10, 2022. The Construction Zone at Kids Square, part of The Don and Barbara Smith Children’s Museum at Center in the Square, is officially open. Sponsored by Branch Group and Carter Machinery, the new 1,500-square-foot space features construction-related exhibits – including a workable crane and operational but stationary dump truck – as well as activities where children can create and connect electrical circuits, use a drill to build a house, and operate a real mini excavator. The Construction Zone was designed to encourage and enable kids to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)-related concepts, with many of the exhibits built by Branch’s professional carpenters.

“Kids Square is a premier destination where families come together to explore, play, and learn in a hands-on learning environment,” explains Felicia Branham, the Museum’s executive director. “We’re so excited for children to experience The Construction Zone, and appreciative of Branch Group’s and Carter Machinery’s sponsorship and involvement in making these new exhibits and experiences a reality.”

Branch Group and Carter Machinery both have longstanding commitments to growing awareness of career opportunities in the construction industry. Working with local schools, teachers, and guidance counselors, the companies strive to improve perceptions about careers in the industry and skilled trades, and share a goal of sparking interest early so that kids have more time to explore all available career options.

“Construction can provide a lucrative and fulfilling career that most parents, teachers, and guidance counselors overlook,” explains Kim Sargent, director of marketing for Branch Group. “There is a lot of focus on STEM in schools, but we often forget that construction is STEM. We hope that by allowing kids and parents to explore construction hands-on, they will realize it can be a fun, safe, and viable career option. With its dedication to STEM concepts and hands-on learning, Kids Square was the perfect partner to help deliver this message.”

Kelly McAteer, Carter Machinery’s director of marketing, said, “We’re proud to partner with Branch Group and Kids Square to help children and their parents realize that construction-related careers can be exciting and rewarding. The Construction Zone is the perfect platform for kids to play, learn, and experience real-life construction concepts and STEM careers.”

Kids Square and their new Construction Zone are open to the public Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 AM – 2 PM; Thursday – Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM; and Sunday, 1 PM – 5 PM.

About Kids Square

The Don and Barbara Smith Children’s Museum exists to further Center in the Square’s mission to enhance education, economic development and quality of life. Kids Square is a premier destination where families come together to EXPLORE, PLAY, and LEARN in a hands-on learning environment.

About Branch Group

Headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, and serving clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, the Branch Group touches all aspects of the built environment through Branch Civil, Branch Builds, and Hopkins | Lacy, our MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, & Plumbing) business unit. As a full-service construction solutions partner, we are committed to exceptional performance and developing business relationships sustained by mutual benefit and respect. In 2021, the Branch Group had total revenues of just over $415 million and a workforce of more than 850 employee owners. Through our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), we ensure that every employee has a vested interest in our success. Visit to learn more.

About Carter Machinery

Carter Machinery was founded in 1928 and today is one of Caterpillar’s leading dealers in North America and throughout the world. Headquartered in Salem, Va., Carter’s footprint spans the Mid-Atlantic with 30-plus locations throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. The company sells, rents, and supports the full line of Caterpillar equipment, engines, and electric power generation systems with parts, a diverse rental fleet, and an expert service team that keeps machines up and running. Learn more at