Category: Career Development

Be an Innovator – Attend MCAA’s 2019 Tech Conference

Every year, new innovations help leading contractors get a little more effective, productive and profitable. Missing out will not put you out of business right away, but it will gradually widen the gap between your company and the leaders in the market. It is never too late to catch up. Be an innovator. The MCAA Technology Conference is the best resource for learning how members are using the latest tools, software, and processes to thrive in these changing times. Join us January 29 – February 1 in Tampa Bay, Florida at the MCAA Technology Conference.

MCAA GreatFutures Forum A Huge Win-Win!

MCAA’s 2018 GreatFutures Forum (GFF) was held just blocks from “the happiest place on earth”. As it turned out, Anneheim, CA became a pretty happy place for quite a few MCAA members and MCAA student chapter members, as well! A definite win-win!

In a program that accentuated networking and developing relationships, MCAA kicked things off Thursday evening with a welcome from MCAA President Michael Brandt who urged the students to enjoy and fully participate in the program and all offerings ahead.

Next was an outstanding presentation by Alex Banayan, author of The Third Door.  Banayan has met and interviewed most of the world’s top 100 who’s who celebrities and power brokers in his 20-something years on this planet! Talk about a network!

Then, speaking of the happiest place on earth, MCAA took the students to Disneyland, providing them an unparalleled opportunity to network and get to know each other on a fun level. And, boy, did they ever!

Friday morning began with the 2nd annual bigger, better MCAA Job Fair featuring a great mix of contractors and manufacturer-suppliers reaching out to excited students looking for both internships and full-time employment. The Fair which began at 8:30 AM was still going strong when it wrapped up at 11:30 AM.

Also on Friday morning, MCAA held the inaugural meeting of its brand-new Student Chapter Presidents Advisory Council. This council was created to advise MCAA’s Career Development Committee (CDC) on student issues and concerns. The CDC wants the advisory council to provide direct student representation and input. It will meet in conjunction with MCAA’s annual GreatFutures Forum and convention, and possibly with other MCAA-sponsored venues. The goal is to have students become more exposed to and involved with MCAA opportunities in the mechanical contracting industry.

Students then visited nearby Southland Industries. Besides an hour-long tour of this new mega-facility, Southland provided barbecue and students were afforded a chance to listen to and question a panel of young people recently hired by MCAA members. Some students even said they enjoyed the tour more than the Disney trip…now, that was a good tour!

Then it was back to the Marriott for dinner and yet another amazing speaker, J. Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream NetworkHoey revealed creative and surprisingly simple ways students could harness the power of their networks to accomplish their ambitions.

Saturday morning, Scott Hinton and Jeff Miller of Harrell-Fish, Inc., Bloomington, IN (donor of this year’s project) took students through the details of the MCAA National Student Chapter Competition. The 2018-2019 project is a proposal to be the prime contractor on the mechanical portion of the addition and renovation project of Indiana University’s Memorial Football Stadium. The top four scoring schools on this project will be invited to present and defend their proposals at the 2019 MCAA annual convention in Phoenix.

Closing out the 2018 GreatFutures Forum, James Benham, of JB Knowledge, Bryan, TX , mesmerized the attendees with his insights on technology that is currently impacting industry…and technologies yet to come! Benham shared his thoughts on how this would impact the attendees directly and how coming technologies may dramatically shape their future world of work.

Jon Finch of Milwaukee Tool who is the current Chair of MCAA’s Career Development Committee said, “I am so pleased with the outcome of this year’s GreatFutures Forum…now we start planning for next year!”

For more information about MCAA’s Career Development efforts or the GreatFutures Forum, contact Harlee Gallo, MCAA’s Director of Career Development.



Students Glimpse GreatFutures in the Mechanical Industry

Our industry’s future leaders are getting a closer look at the field of mechanical contracting at MCAA’s 2018 GreatFutures Forum. MCAA President Michael Brandt welcomed everyone, and Career Development Committee Chair Jon Finch reviewed plans for the event, which includes a variety of education, the debut of a new Student Chapter Presidents Advisory Council, a job fair and a tour of Southland Industries.

MCAA GreatFutures Launches New Jobs Board

Is your company searching for great young talent to insure its future competitiveness? Are you looking to fill available internship and job openings? If so, MCAA just made your life a lot easier! Check out the new Jobs Board feature just added to

This new feature was added to attract the best future industry talent. By giving its members direct access to the members of its 50+ Student Chapters, MCAA has found a way to connect the needs of its contractor members with those of its student chapter members. Can you say win-win?

So, how does an MCAA member post an employment opportunity on the Jobs Board? It couldn’t be easier! When employers go to the website the first time, they are asked to supply a company profile and details of any full-time, internship, or co-op opportunities. Student Chapter members have full access to browse the job board, and they can apply easily with their resume and their GreatFutures profile.

You can review already-posted student resumes on the GreatFutures website and reach out to any promising candidates you see there, and help them kick-start their great future…and yours!

For more information, contact Harlee Gallo, MCAA’s Director of Career Development.

Student Chapter Competition Tackles Football Stadium Renovation

MCAA’s Student Chapter Competition project has been released to all participants. Students will be given the chance to prepare for the Student Competition Discussion Session at the GreatFutures Forum scheduled for Saturday, September 29. During the session, the project’s background, scope and submittal details will be discussed. The Career Development committee hopes the project’s early release will give students the opportunity to ask more detailed questions at the forum and help them better navigate and manage this challenging project.

MCAA Student Chapters have been tasked with a proposal to be the prime contractor on the mechanical portion of the addition and renovation project of Indiana University’s Memorial Football Stadium. This year’s project details were generously provided by Harrell-Fish of Bloomington, Indiana.

Scope of the Project

The project includes the completion of all plumbing, piping and HVAC work. As the acting mechanical subcontractor, Students Chapters are tasked with the purchasing of all equipment, materials and providing all necessary labor and equipment to complete the entire mechanical scope of work.

The project includes full BIM coordination to locate and correct any clashes with all other crafts prior to fabrication or installation of any piping or ductwork. The mechanical contractor will be responsible for all cost related to any modification required for rerouting or relocation of any pipe or duct if they fail to participate in the model clash detection exercise.

Challenges will include design and installation of the utility piping for the food services area. It will be the team’s responsibility to design the distribution piping and the branch lines for each piece of equipment for the entire food service area. The drawings included with the bid documents include a layout detailing the required location of each piece of equipment.

Submittal Process

This year MCAA has teamed up with to enhance the bid submittal process and give students a taste of the real world construction industry. All participating students will be given free access to Procore’s Project Management software will retain access after the completion of the student competition. specifically works with universities to educate the future construction workforce and support the advancement of the trades and skilled labor.

All proposals are due for submittal through Procore by Friday, November 30, 2018.

Final Four at MCAA19 Convention

Proposals will be evaluated and scored by members of MCAA’s Career Development Committee. These members will select the top four scoring teams to present their proposals at the MCAA 2019 convention in Phoenix, AZ on March 4, 2019. The winning team will receive $10,000, the second place team will receive $5,000 and the other two finalists will each received $2,500

Have Questions?

For more information, please contact  Harlee Gallo.


Know Your MCERF Board Members – Professor Kristy Wolfe

In each installment of this series, we will profile a member of the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation’s (MCERF) Board of Trustees. These volunteers represent the association’s contractor, service, and manufacturer/supplier members, as well as its local affiliates and academic advisers. They work behind the scenes to raise money and ensure the standards necessary to make MCAA successful in meeting the mega- education and research issues confronting its members.

In 2018, MCERF added a second university educator to its Board of Trustees, to ensure it leverages the network of university student chapters and faculty advisers MCAA continues to develop. Meet MCERF’s newest Trustee, Professor Kristy L. Wolfe from Bradley University.

“I am truly honored to serve on the MCERF Board of Trustees with such a distinguished group of individuals.  I have witnessed the tremendous impact this organization has had on the student chapters and have personally benefited from the MEAC program.  MCERF is critical to the development of young professionals seeking a career in the mechanical industry and I am excited to be a part of that!” 


Professor Wolfe is from Edelstein, Illinois, and is a proud graduate of Bradley University. She started her construction career with the United Stales Army Corps of Engineers in Germany.

While with the Corps, she received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri, Rolla. She also spent a year teaching at the United States Army Engineer School.

She served in a variety of positions at Caterpillar, including operations supervisor, process engineer, and facilities engineer. She has been teaching at Bradley since 2008. She currently also serves as the Faculty Adviser for the MCAA Student Chapter at Bradley University.

For more information about MCERF, contact Dennis Langley.


Find Great Talent at MCAA’s GreatFutures Job Fair!

Recruitment and retention of talent is a relentless challenge for the mechanical contracting industry. But, what if you knew of an exclusive event you could attend, for free, and recruit top college talent? Would you go?

Not sold? What if that talent was prequalified to assure you they are eager to work in our industry? Would you go then? Hmm…you’re a hard sell…

OK, what if this exclusive event, with all that prequalified, eager talent was held at the most favorable time of the academic year to recruit the best young people? How about then?

And… what if we could promise you no competition at this event from GCs or CMs? Are you just about there?

All right, you win…what if we pay you to register, attend and recruit at this event? Then, we’ll see you at MCAA’s GreatFutures Job Fair, Friday, September 28, in Anaheim, CA!

Here are the benefits of attending and recruiting at the GreatFutures Job Fair:

  • The attending students are from MCAA’s 50+ student chapters…they know the industry!
  • There will literally be hundreds of them attending this event.
  • They will be looking for full-time and internship positions.
  • Taking place on Friday morning, September 28th, the Job Fair sits dead center of the “sweet spot” of the recruitment year; there is no better time to recruit top talent!
  • The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) will award a $1,000 grant for each intern or full-time employee hired at the Job Fair…no limit to the number! 
  • And best of all…no GCs or CMs will be there competing for their attention!

Questions? Answers

Register to recruit? Here

Talk to an MCAA staff member about the program? Call Harlee Gallo at 301-990-2219 or email at

To learn more about this program online, check out the website.

2018 MCAA Internship Grants Leap Ahead of Last Year

Data provided by the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation for January 1 to mid-July of 2018 versus the same period last year show significant increases in interns hired and MCAA members hiring interns; a 13% increase in interns hired by 18% more contractors.

Since its 2015 “Year of the Intern”, MCAA members have come to view hiring interns as opportunities to identify and evaluate potential full-time hires for their organizations. Especially when they get paid $1,000 per intern (maximum of 2) for doing so! MCAA members are increasingly realizing the value proposition of having talented, young interns work at their companies.  In the period mentioned in 2017, 184 interns were hired by 116 MCAA member companies; in the same period in 2018, 208 interns were hired by 137 member firms.

Building a structured internship program provides the opportunity for member firms to recruit talented students and provides a flexible, cost-effective labor force without a long-term commitment. MCAA believes that students who work for one of its members will enhance their education, their professional experience, and their interest in the mechanical contracting industry. Therefore, MCAA, through its Mechanical Contracting & Research Foundation (MCERF) offers internship grants to current members who hire undergraduates as interns.

Apply for a Grant

Grant Description

The amount of the 2018 Internship Grant is $1,000 per intern hired by an MCAA member firm, up to 2 interns. Grants are paid in the form a check from the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) to the member company. The grant check will be sent upon the acceptance of the company’s 2018 Student Internship Application.


An eligible MCAA member is one whose membership is currently in good standing with the MCAA. MCAA members include its mechanical contractor and mechanical service members, plumbing members and its Manufacturer/Supplier Council members.

Interns must be students in good standing at an accredited college or university.  Though MCAA encourages its members to give priority to students from its 50+ student chapters, this is not a requirement for a grant.

Contact Dennis Langley for more information.

Find Your Next New Hire at the GreatFutures Job Fair

Registration for MCAA’s 2018 GreatFutures Forum is now open for MCAA Student Chapters!  This year’s conference will be held in Anaheim, CA at the Anaheim Marriott from Thursday, September 27 – Saturday, September 29.

This year’s GreatFutures Forum will feature MCAA’s 2nd Annual Job Fair on Friday, September 28 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. MCAA Members wishing to participate in the Job Fair can register here.

Enjoy a morning of networking with our industry’s future workforce and exploring your fulltime employment, co-op and internship opportunities with these talented and motivated students.

As a bonus every intern and full-time hire at the forum will be eligible for a $1,000 MCERF grant. There will be no limit per company.

For additional information on what MCAA’s student chapter members will experience at the GreatFutures Forum, please visit our event website.

MCAA and the UA Partner on Women Build Nations Conference Event

MCAA and the UA will cosponsor a dinner cruise for UA and MCAA representatives attending the 2018 Women Build Nations Conference. Women in the Mechanical Industry Initiative Steering Committee members will represent us at the event, which takes place October 12-14, 2018 in Seattle, WA. The conference offers opportunities for women in the trades and industry stakeholders to network and share challenges and experiences.

Introducing the Women in the Mechanical Industry Initiative Page

MCAA/MSCA’s Women in the Mechanical Industry Initiative has a new home on the MCAA website! If you’re a woman executive or employee of an MCAA/MSCA member company, this page will keep you up to date on our efforts to enable women in the mechanical industry to further enrich their careers through networking, educational, mentoring and career development opportunities beyond those already offered through membership in MCAA and MSCA.

Targeted Programming for Women Professionals Continues at MSCA18

If you’re a woman executive or employee of an MCAA/MSCA member company and you’re headed to MSCA18, join us for a luncheon and discussion on Monday, October 22. This is a unique opportunity to develop some important connections!

The event continues MCAA/MSCA’s Women in the Mechanical Industry initiative, a forum to enable women in the mechanical industry to further enrich their careers through networking, educational, mentoring and career development opportunities beyond those already offered through membership in MCAA and MSCA.

Watch the MCAA18 Student Chapter Competition

The 2018 MCAA Student Competition brought together future leaders of our industry on the main stage of the convention.

Congratulations to our four finalists:

  • Colorado State University
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • University of Washington
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology

The “Final Four” project involved the renovation of the heating and cooling systems for the Fogo De Chao Brazilian Steakhouse in New York City where chapters were tasked with coordinating the removal of the existing equipment and installing the new equipment.

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

Congratulations again to all the participants and this year’s winner…Colorado State University!

Iowa State Wins Student Chapter of the Year at MCAA18

The Career Development Committee chose the Student Chapter at Iowa State University 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 Brittany Gronewold, Riley McLaren,  Stephanie Shah, and Paige Taylor accepted a $3,000 check.

Brad Perkins Named Educator of the Year at MCAA18

This year’s Educator of the Year award went to Brad Perkins of Iowa State University. 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.

MCAA Welcomed Four New Student Chapters at MCAA18

Four new student chapters received their charters during MCAA18, bringing the total number of student chapters to 57. Jon Finch, Chair of MCAA’s Career Development Committee, was on hand to present the charters to the Robert Morris University Chapter of the MCAA, Indiana State University Student Chapter of the MCAA, MCAA Student Chapter at Auburn University, and CPMCA Student Chapter at the University of Southern California.

Robert Morris Charter MCAA18

The Robert Morris University Chapter of the MCAA charter was accepted by Dr. Tony Kerzmann, Associate Professor at Robert Morris University, and Rege Claus, Executive Director of the MCA of Western Pennsylvania, the chapter’s sponsor.

Indiana State Student Chapter Charter MCAA18

The charter for the Indiana State University Student Chapter of the MCAA was accepted by Student Chapter President Brenden Cox, Faculty Advisor Daniel Bawinkel, and John Rayburn, Executive Vice President of the MCA of Indiana, the chapter’s sponsor.

Auburn University Charter MCAA18

The MCAA Student Chapter at Auburn University charter was accepted by students Eric Brazell, Randall Porterfield, and Chase Lowden, along with Faculty Advisor Keith Rahn and MCA of Georgia representatives Ken Harbour (MCAA Board Member) and Gary Fowler. The MCA of Georgia sponsors the chapter.

CPMCA Student Chapter Charter MCAA18

The charter for the CPMCA Student Chapter at the University of Southern California was accepted by Student Chapter President Steve Yemeli, Vice President Felipe Hernandez, students Alexander Huerta, Alfredo Leal, Julia Lind, Kathy Deng, Nicole Wong, Professor Henry Koffman, and CPMCA representatives Harry Bederian and Chip Martin. CPMCA is the chapter’s sponsor.

Relationship-Building Was the Name of the Game at the MCAA18 Exhibits

Contractors continued to build relationships with the members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council and student chapter members during the annual exhibits. The Annual Manufacturer/Supplier Council Exhibit highlighted well-known products and services as well as solutions that are just emerging to take on the anticipated challenges that lie ahead. The Student Chapter Exhibit provided members with another opportunity to meet students seeking their Great Futures in our industry.