Category: Career Development

Bowling Green State University Becomes MCAA’s Newest Student Chapter

MCAA welcomes our newest student chapter, Bowling Green State University!

Located in Bowling Green, Ohio, the BGSU chapter is sponsored by the MCA of Northwest Ohio. This is the association’s first MCAA Student Chapter.

Robert B. Austin, Assistant Professor of Construction Management serves as the chapter’s faculty advisor. Robert worked with Anne Saloff, Executive Vice President of the MCA of Northwest Ohio, to get the chapter established and students invested.

BGSU’s Construction Management program is tailored to produce industry ready construction professionals with a sufficient background in Mechanical and Plumbing.

Congratulations BGSU and welcome to the MCAA family!

MCAA Student Competition Challenges Chapters with NYC Chiller and Cooling Tower Replacement Project

This year’s MCAA Student Chapter Competition project has been released to all participating student chapters. MCAA student chapter members have been tasked with developing a proposal to be the prime contractor on a chiller and cooling tower replacement project in the Penn South building in New York City.

This year’s project details were generously provided by Fresh Meadow Mechanical Corporation of Fresh Meadows, New York.

Scope of the Project

The project includes the completion of all plumbing, piping and HVAC, electrical, controls and any other work required to complete the project as described in the bid documents. The student chapters are tasked with purchasing all equipment and materials, and providing all necessary labor to compete the entire project scope as detailed in the cap documents.

The successful bidder will be required to coordinate the installation of their work with all other trades. This will include full BIM coordination with all other crafts to locate and correct any clashes before fabrication or installation of any piping or ductwork. The contractor will be responsible for all costs related to any modification required for rerouting or relocation of any pipe or duct due to their lack of participation in the model clash detection exercise.

Final Four at MCAA2020 Convention

Members of MCAA’s Career Development Committee will evaluate and score the first round proposals. The teams earning the top four scores will present their proposals during the Student Chapter Competition at the MCAA2020 in Maui, Hawaii on Monday, March 16.

The stakes are high–the first place team wins $10,000, second place wins $5,000 and the finalists each receive $2,500.

GreatFutures Forum Presentation

MCAA Board of Directors members Scott Hinton of Harrell-Fish and Michael Russo of Fresh Meadow Mechanical discussed the project’s request for proposal (RFP) in detail at the MCAA GreatFutures Forum. Watch the video below to learn more about the first-round proposal requirements and the project’s overall scope.

Want to get involved?

Reach out to your local MCAA Student Chapter to offer guidance to the students as they navigate the competition RFP. For more information, please contact Harlee Mooney.

MCAA’s GreatFutures Forum Has Monumental Success!

MCAA student chapter members and member companies met in the nation’s capital September 19-21, 2019 for the MCAA GreatFutures Forum.

Molly Sizemore of the Penn State University Student Chapter said, “as a first-year attendee, I was blown away by the opportunities and resources provided to me as a student set to enter the industry.” And Molly wasn’t alone.

The forum kicked-off Thursday night with a welcome from MCAA President Brian Helm who shared the benefits of joining the mechanical industry, including the personal side — how “students will build connections and develop life-long relationships.” He touched on how fast technology is evolving in our industry and the immense opportunities for students to be part of these exciting changes.

Then speaker and illusionist Vinh Giang spoke about how creating and cultivating the right influences in your lives can make the difference for tremendous success. Next MCAA Career Development Chair and MILWAUKEE TOOL Vice President of Training Jon Finch presented on the DiSC® behavior style assessment. Attendees identified their own personality traits and learned how to engage in more impactful ways with different behavior styles.

Friday started with the 3rd annual MCAA GreatFutures Job Fair. The fair connected 35 participating MCAA member companies, both contractors and manufacturer suppliers, and 150 students looking for internship, co-op and full-time job opportunities.

After lunch attendees were given the opportunity to tour the mechanical systems of the new Museum of the Bible. The tour was facilitated by Southland Industries and Mike Miller of Kirlin Group. Students had a firsthand look at the cooling towers and generators on the building’s green roof, along with the state-of-the-art equipment in the mechanical rooms and fire pump rooms.

The day concluded with dinner at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, where attendees had time to explore the exhibits, watch an IMAX movie and enjoy riding the simulators.

Saturday began with a session on this year’s MCAA Student Chapter Competition project. The scope and proposal criteria were revealed by Scott Hinton of Harrell-Fish and Michael Russo of Fresh Meadow Mechanical Corporation, both members of the MCAA Board of Directors and Career Development Committee. The project was contributed by Fresh Meadow Mechanical Corporation and will involve a chiller and cooling tower replacement project, including the completion of all plumbing, piping and HVAC.

The keynote speaker was Colonel Nicole Malachowski, the first female pilot selected to fly as part of the USAF Thunderbirds, closed the forum with a motivating message on leadership and overcoming adversity. Nicole detailed her career and life challenges and inspired everyone with her courage and success when faced with the headwinds of her life.

MCAA thanks this year’s generous host and sponsors, the MCA of Metropolitan Washington, for their support in bringing the forum to Washington, DC. MCAA and the student chapter members are already looking forward to next year’s GreatFutures Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 1-3, 2020. Mark your calendars!

MCAA Members Find Success Hiring at GreatFutures Job Fair

Attend this year’s GreatFutures Forum Job Fair to find the best talent. Registration for MCAA members is complimentary! The Job Fair gives member companies the opportunity to interact with a diverse talent pool from our 60 MCAA Student Chapters.  The Job Fair is scheduled Friday, September 20 at 8:30 am – 11:00 am in Washington, DC. Take it from these MCAA members.

Desiree Hack, Recruiting Manager at U.S. Engineering Company, has taken full advantage of the GreatFutures Forum Job Fair. At last year’s Job Fair, she hired mechanical engineering students Ahmad Attallah and Thomas Walsh, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Hack said, “We would have never met them if it wasn’t for the GreatFutures Forum!”

Both students are enjoying their internship experience. Thomas Walsh said, “[M]y interaction with a project manager of a mechanical contractor at the job fair helped me decide my current path of employment.”

Kristin Junia, Program Manager at SIEMENS, has also found success. Last year she hired Kylie Nadelka, a mechanical engineering student from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Kylie interns in the Seattle Branch on the company’s Operations and Engineering team.

Kristin shares, “[T]he GreatFutures Job Fair gives me the advantage of meeting a different caliber of students from across the country. I cannot wait to attend again this year!”

Be the next success story. Register today for the GreatFutures Job Fair and find your next hire!

Register Today for MCAA’s GreatFutures Job Fair

Find your next hire when you recruit at the MCAA GreatFutures Forum Job Fair. Registration is complimentary! You will have exclusive access to the members of our 60 MCAA Student Chapters, all seeking full-time, co-op and internship opportunities.

The Job Fair will be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park on Friday, September 20 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Your decision to attend the Job Fair will be a Capitol investment!

  • There will be hundreds of students seeking full-time, co-op and internship opportunities.
  • September is the best time of the academic year to recruit the best talent.
  • The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) will award a $1,000 grant for each intern, co-op or full-time employee hired at the Job Fair…no limit to the number!

Register for the Job Fair

Visit the Conference Website

WiMI Has Arrived!

The first annual Women in the Mechanical Industry (WiMI) Conference was held on June 24 – 26 in Chicago, Illinois. The conference was a huge success with over 160 women leaders from member companies in attendance. Mandi Wilkins, the Executive Vice President of MCA of Las Vegas, exclaimed the conference was “akin to two days of TED talks just for women. A lot of important education and reminders for us busy ladies. I can’t wait until next year’s conference, even though I am not sure how you will top this.”

Attendees were welcomed the first night by WiMI Chair Kori Gormley-Huppert and MCAA President Brian Helm. The opening session featured a captivating presentation by Col. Nicole Malachowski (USAF, Ret.), the first female pilot to fly with the Air Force Thunderbird aerial demonstration team. She provided a fascinating narrative of exactly what it took to be a woman vanguard and break tradition. Nicole offered actionable tools and real-world lessons about pursuing her dream and making choices; all while building a family and achieving success in a career where few women had gone before.

Tuesday morning featured Stacey Hanke, author of “Influence Redefined,” who presented a thought-provoking session on her powerful Influence Model, a step-by-step method for improving communication and producing the ideal type of influence—one that moves people to action long after an interaction is over.

Tuesday afternoon, attendees had the choice of various roundtable discussions on topics of particular interest to them. Topics included Work/Life Balance; Working in a Family Owned Business; Technology; Advancing Your Career; Leadership Strategies; Working in a Male Dominated Industry and Benefits of WiMI. The day ended with an enlightening panel discussion on recruiting and retaining women in the mechanical and HVAC industry moderated by Jon Finch, VP of Training at MILWAUKEE TOOL, and a panel of diverse women from the industry.

A special thanks to all our supporters who contributed to the conference, and MCA of Chicago for hosting a special attendee event Tuesday night at Joe’s Live. Attendees took advantage throughout the entire conference networking and making new connections. Marie Patterson, a professor at Chico State University, said WiMI and the conference gives “the opportunity for women to help support each other; and it is important to engage and empower those younger to continue to strive for their goals in the industry.”

Networking expert, J. Kelly Hoey closed out the conference sharing unique opportunities in creating proactive and focused networks, and how to leverage the connections they made during the week after the WiMI Conference.

SAVE THE DATE! The second annual Women in the Mechanical Industry Conference is scheduled for June 15-17, 2020 in Austin, Texas!

Find Your Next Hire at MCAA’s GreatFutures Forum Job Fair

The 2019 MCAA GreatFutures Forum will showcase our nation’s history while focusing on our industry’s future when it lands in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

The event includes MCAA’s 3rd Annual Job Fair, where the sharpest MCAA Student Chapter members will be seeking full-time and internship opportunities.

The Job Fair will be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park on Friday, September 20 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Registration to attend and recruit at the Job Fair is complimentary for MCAA/MSCA members.

Your decision to attend the Job Fair will be a Capitol investment!

  • MCAA members will have exclusive access to members of our 60 MCAA Student Chapters throughout the country.
  • This includes hundreds of students seeking full-time, co-op and internship opportunities.
  • September is the best time of the academic year to recruit the best talent.
  • The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) will award a $1,000 grant for each intern, co-op or full-time employee hired at the Job Fair…no limit to the number!

MCERF Funds Mechanical Training Camp for University Faculty

The Mechanical-Electrical Academic Consortium (MEAC) Faculty Training Boot Camp provided educators from universities across the U.S. with a crash course in the basics of mechanical and electrical systems. By giving educators the tools they need to more effectively teach students about our industry, it is hoped that more students will explore the career opportunities available in specialty contracting. The event took place at the Milwaukee School of Engineering from June 11-13, 2019.

MEAC 2019 Participants

Funded by the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) and Electri International, the Foundation of the National Electrical Contractors Association, the MEAC Faculty Training Boot Camp educates the faculty who teach our industries’ future professionals. This year’s program was organized by Blake Wentz, an MCERF Trustee and MSOE Department Chair. He was joined on the faculty by Shannon Nicklaus of Pittsburg State University, Tim Wentz, previously from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lori Brown of California State University, Chico State.

The educators toured MSOE’s facilities, including the construction site of the campus’ artificial intelligence facility, the Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall. The facility is slated to open this fall.

MEAC 2019 Participants Tour MSOE's Facilities

Plans have been made to offer the program next summer.

GreatFutures Forum Attendees to Tour DC’s Museum of the Bible

MCAA’s GreatFutures Forum is set for September 19 – 21, 2019. During the event, participants will have the opportunity to tour the mechanical systems of the Museum of the Bible, one of the newer museums in Washington, D.C.

Southland Industries, an MCAA member and the HVAC contractor on the project, will be facilitating the mechanics tour.

The museum opened in November 2017. The $254-million, 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible project took five years from concept to the grand opening.

Portions of the museum occupy the Terminal Refrigerating and Warehouse Company Building, built in 1923. Over the course of the project, the team adapted 140,000 square feet of warehouse space, performed 240,000 square feet of infill construction and renovated an additional 50,000 square feet of existing space.

The museum houses five floors of exhibit space, research laboratories, libraries, a lecture hall, a performing arts venue, a 500-seat ballroom and a new rooftop galley with a curvilinear glass-and-metal envelope.

MCAA thanks the MCA of Metro Washington, this year’s host, and Southland Industries for their support.

Visit the GreatFutures Forum website HERE for information and to register your company for the Job Fair.

Hiring Summer Interns? Apply for Your MCAA Internship Grants!

Internships benefit both the employer and the participating student. The employer gets top talent and has a pipeline of future full-time employees. Students gain experience, create connections, develop skills and further their interest in the mechanical contracting industry.

What could be better than trying out students to see if they’re the right fit for your company? Being paid to do so! Thanks to funding provided by the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF), MCAA members receive $1,000 each when they hire up to two students as either interns or full-time employees. By providing this funding, MCERF is addressing the industry’s critical workforce shortage while at the same time giving MCAA members the tools they need to remain productive and profitable in the future. gives members access to student profiles and resumes. The profiles are searchable by university, desired location, and even a specific skill set an employer is looking for, like BIM or AutoCAD. A keyword filter allows you to zero in on those students who fit the bill.

Not finding a match? Try reaching out to our 60 MCAA Student Chapters. The chapter advisors are a great resource to help you find the right person. And, MCAA members have exclusive access to post openings on our job board.

Help build our industry’s GreatFuture – apply for a grant!

MCAA Welcomes 60th Student Chapter, Cal State East Bay

MCAA has signed on its 60th student chapter, Cal State East Bay.

The CSU East Bay MCAA Chapter is sponsored by Northern California MCA.

The university has a well-established Construction Management program. Fadi Castronovo, Assistant Professor of Engineering, serves as the chapter’s faculty advisor. MCAA looks forward to welcoming the new chapter at the upcoming GreatFutures Forum.

Congratulations Cal State and welcome to your GreatFuture!

For more information on all 60 of MCAA’s Student Chapter Programs visit

Watch the MCAA19 Student Competition

The MCAA19 Student Competition showcased future industry leaders’ insightful approaches to a real world contracting bid.

The four finalists presented their plans to the on-stage judges and fielded a series of rigorous questions. Missed the competition or want a second view? Watch the competition video from start to finish here.

Congratulations to our four finalists:

McMaster University
Milwaukee School of Engineering
University of Missouri – Columbia
Wentworth Institute of Technology

This year’s project details were generously provided by Harrell-Fish of Bloomington, Indiana. The project included the completion of all plumbing, piping and HVAC work. As the acting mechanical subcontractor, Students Chapters were tasked with purchasing all equipment and materials and providing all necessary labor and equipment to complete the entire mechanical scope of work.

Congratulations again to all the participants and this year’s winner… Milwaukee School of Engineering!

Milwaukee School of Engineering Wins Student Chapter Competition

The team from Milwaukee School of Engineering won the final round of the Student Chapter Competition at MCAA19, taking home the first prize and $10,000 for their efforts. Their proposal for the renovation of Indiana University’s Memorial Football Stadium beat out proposals from McMaster University, the University of Missouri – Columbia and the Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Second place honors and a $5,000 prize went to the McMaster University team.

The other two finalist teams, from the University of Missouri – Columbia and the Wentworth Institute of Technology, took home checks for $2,500.

Teams from six additional universities received Merit Awards and checks for $1,000. They were:

Carmen Bracho Named Student Chapter Competition MVP

Carmen Bracho of McMaster University was selected as the Student Chapter Competition’s Most Valuable Presenter. The new award recognizes the student who did the best job presenting their proposal, whether or not their team won. The audience voted on the best presenter from each team, and Carmen was selected as the overall winner. She received a $500 gift card.

The Most Valuable Presenters from each individual final four team included:

Trevor Symbal – Milwaukee School of Engineering
Thomas Walsh – University of Missouri – Columbia
Nolan Rochler – Wentworth Institute of Technology

Pittsburg State Wins Student Chapter of the Year at MCAA19

The Career Development Committee chose the Pittsburg State University chapter as its Student Chapter of the Year. The chapter was selected based on how well it promotes an understanding of the mechanical industry and the career opportunities we offer. In addition to a trophy, Student Chapter representatives accepted a $3,000 check.

Blake Wentz Named Educator of the Year at MCAA19

This year’s Educator of the Year award went to Blake Wentz of the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The award, which included a check for $5,000, honored his mentoring ability, industry knowledge and involvement, as well as his active participation in MCAA’s Student Chapter program activities.

Lindsey Stasi and Madelyn Conway Received Ferguson – Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarships at MCAA19

Lindsey Stasi, a sophomore at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Madelyn Conway, a junior at Purdue University, received $5,000 Ferguson – Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarships. For the first time, Ferguson is underwriting these scholarships, which recognize high-achieving female students working towards a degree relative to the mechanical industry. To mark this new partnership, the scholarships were presented by Todd Young, Vice President, Commercial Business at Ferguson and Kori Gormley Huppert, Chair of Women in the Mechanical Industry.

MCERF Presented Scholarships at MCAA19

MCERF announced the recipients of four MCERF Scholarships created to honor the industry leaders they are named after. The students receiving these scholarships were selected by our Career Development Committee for their academic performance, leadership skills, interest in developing a career in the mechanical industry, work ethic and technical abilities.

Madison Beauchain from the Wentworth Institute of Technology, took home the Foster J. McCarl, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. Shawn McCarl of S.P. McCarl & Company, the scholarship sponsor, presented the check for $2,500.

Caleb Kowalski from the University of Nebraska took home The William A. Bianco, Jr. Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Kinetics. Kinetics Executive Vice President Global Operations Michael Cables, an MCAA past president, was on hand to present the $5,000 check.

Thomas Walsh from the University of Missouri-Columbia, received The Reilly Family Memorial Scholarship. Robert Beck and John Stamar of John W. Danforth Company, the scholarship’s sponsor, presented the check for $5,000.

Brooke Scott from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Jarrod Blaser from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln took home The Alan O’Shea Memorial Scholarship. Kevin Armistead and Marty Drobny, representing MCA of New Jersey, the scholarship’s sponsor, were on hand to present the $2,500 checks.

Student Chapter Exhibit Connected Members to Their Companies’ Future

During the Student Chapter Exhibit at MCAA19, students from top schools showcased their chapters’ successes and discussed internship and job opportunities with member companies. The connections don’t end there. Members can visit for year-round access to student resumes and chapter profiles. Be sure to take advantage of the website’s new job board feature to post job openings, with exclusive access to student chapter members!