Category: Women in the Mechanical Industry

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: The Power of Networking

In this month’s Beyond the Classroom video, hear about the power of networking from former Wentworth Institute of Technology student, Nolan Rochler. 

Nolan is now a Project Engineer at J.C. Higgins and credits his learning and growth in the industry to those he had met at networking events through his student chapter. Upon graduating, he found this network to be quite useful. “You have people who are there to help you. They help you find endless opportunities. By coming to these events, you are able to build such a strong network and basically go anywhere,” Nolan shared. 

Participating in MCAA’s Annual Student Chapter Competition was also an invaluable experience for Nolan. He says really learning, understanding and dissecting a real-life project, is unlike any other learning process. Nolan reminds current students to take these learning and networking opportunities and “make it whatever you want to make it.” People in this industry welcome you in, respect you, and give you the opportunity to learn and grow. Use them to help set you up for success–Nolan certainly has!

Upcoming Beyond the Classroom videos will continue to showcase opportunities available to MCAA student chapter members and MCAA members alike who choose careers in the mechanical industry.

WiMI Mentors and Mentees Share Their Experiences and Advice In Encouraging Panel Discussion–Watch Now!

Yesterday, Women in the Mechanical Industry (WiMI) Chair, Kori Gormley-Huppert led a lively discussion with mentor and mentees who are currently participating in the initiative’s Mentor/Mentee Program. Pattie Krippendorf, Vice President of the Service Division at Helm Group and a mentor in the program, shared her industry and life experiences, as well as offered her best advice to those newly navigating the industry. Mentees, Ali Brown, a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Madelyn Conway, a project engineer at BMWC Constructors, Inc. and Michelle Mays, a Sales Operations Coordinator at Crockett Facilities Services, spoke to the value of being involved in this program, and how invaluable they have found the assistance from their mentors, women with years of experience in the mechanical industry, in career planning, networking and goal setting.

The WiMI initiative was created to enable women in the mechanical industry to further enrich their careers through networking, educational, mentoring and career development opportunities. Interested and want to get involved?

WiMI Mentee Questionnaire

WiMI Mentor Questionnaire

Discover the Next Steps in Your Career Through MCAA’s GreatFutures Website and Job Board

Currently two internship opportunities and two full-time positions are available on http://mcaagreatfutures.org/MCAA member companies know we have the best of the best student talent and actively update their openings on MCAA’s GreatFutures Job Board as they seek to fill positions. Be sure to check the Job Board regularly, and make sure your resume is up to date. Hiring MCAA members are able to browse all resumes, as you are able to browse all job postings. 

Please reach out to MCAA’s Director of Career Development, Megan Walsh at mwalsh@mcaa.org with any questions.

Week 7 of MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program Will Focus on BIM & Highlight the WiMI Mentor/Mentee Program

The GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program has completed the sixth week with two presentations on safety and project risks. We have also covered a variety of topics including estimating, which highlighted MCAA’s WebLEM+Plus resource; project management, that covered how to properly staff and schedule projects; and fabrication, which emphasized the importance of how and why fabrication is used. All presentations are easily accessible on the GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program website for registered students to watch anytime if they are unable to attend the live presentations.

Next week, we will learn about Building Information Modeling (BIM) and why more and more mechanical contractors are utilizing the process. To understand why, we will look at the difference between Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and Virtual Design Construction (VDC). On Thursday, October 29, we have a special panel presentation highlighting MCAA’s Women in the Mechanical Industry (WiMI) Mentor/Mentee Program. Join us to hear from current mentors and mentees about why and how they got involved with the program and learn how you can get involved too. Mentees will speak to how valuable they have found the assistance from their mentors, women with years of experience in the mechanical industry, in career planning, networking and goal setting. Our mentors will share their experiences and offer their best advice as you navigate through studying and working in the industry!

Register for access to any of these upcoming sessions or to check out any of the previous presentations in the GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program. View the full schedule and register today!

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Those who are already registered can visit the GreatFutures Fall Virtual Program website to catch up on any programs they may have missed.

Take Advantage of Valuable Resources During the Second Half of MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program is going strong! Students have enjoyed five weeks of presentations so far, all aimed to help them navigate the proposal and bid process for the annual MCAA Student Chapter Competition project. Topics covered include estimating, which highlighted MCAA’s WebLEM+Plus resource, project management, that covered how to properly staff and schedule their projects, and fabrication, which emphasized the importance of how and why fabrication is used. All presentations are easily accessible on GreatFutures Fall Virtual Program website for students to watch anytime if they are unable to attend the live presentations.

There are five more weeks of presentations to come, including important topics such as safety, BIM, and service. Register for access to any of these live sessions or to check out any of the previous presentations and join us for the last half of the GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program. View the full schedule and register today!

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The information in these presentations has been developed for you and your future and is not solely for the competition project. The real-world insight and advice from some of the industry’s best is guaranteed to help you succeed. If you haven’t been able to join in live each week, know you have a library full of helpful presentations waiting for you. You may access these presentations at anytime on the GreatFutures Fall Virtual Program website under the “Video Library” tab after logging in.

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: Opportunities in the Mechanical Contracting Industry

Meet Marie. California State University, Chico Faculty Advisor and MCAA Career Development Committee member, Marie Patterson, shares how she got her start in the Mechanical Contracting Industry and what excites her about still working in the industry today, in this month’s Beyond the Classroom video.

Marie emphasizes there are endless opportunities for students who hope to work in the Mechanical Contracting industry, highlighting fun, cool, everyday venues and structures such as wineries and breweries, as mechanical construction. Marie likes to put her efforts to working on a pharmaceutical product, or a mechanical contracting project, that she knows at the end of the day will save or improve people’s lives. 

Upcoming Beyond the Classroom videos will continue to showcase opportunities available to MCAA student chapter members and MCAA members alike who choose careers in the mechanical industry.

MCAA’s WiMI Mentor/Mentee Program Introduces Cynthia and Krista!

The ever-enthusiastic Cynthia Djongoue Kamga, has been a Project Manager with The BP Group in New York, NY for the past seven years. Her years in the HVACR industry have created a drive to continually excel and learn  so she can grow beyond her tasks at hand. After learning of the WiMI Mentor/Mentee Program after the WiMI Conference when there was a Mentor/Mentee program created, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have someone guide her when she felt “stuck in a bubble” on the way she viewed her responsibilities and how to grow professionally.

Although active in her own projects, Krista Ebbens, also seven years in the industry, was very happy to connect with Cynthia as her mentor to assist, advise and share best practices. Krista is the Executive Vice President of Human Resources and General Counsel with J. F. Ahern Co. in Milwaukee, WI. She wears many hats but has such a welcoming personality and genuine desire to pause and help when needed.

Cynthia and Krista connect so well that it was easy to understand why they are great role models of the WiMI Mentor/Mentee Program. Although COVID created a set-back in their plans to connect they have already set a future date to meet virtually.

Cynthia entered the program looking for pointers on how to redirect her thoughts and take action steps  regarding her own tasks and career. In helping Cynthia, Krista reminded her that you can’t “settle in a routine in your environment without analyzing situations and thinking outside of the box.”  She also advised Cynthia to put together action steps on   specific goals and to move forward with it. “It’s empowering to get outside of a task or routine to grow, both personally and professionally.  You just have to make sure to schedule the time to do it,” Cynthia reiterated.

They both made a great point in stating that “although we work in the same construction business, there are big regional differences and it’s interesting to hear about the experiences in New York vs. Wisconsin. Construction in New York City is very different and experiences seem to happening there  before it becomes  a thing in the mid-west, so it creates a great learning experience ”. This is especially relevant to the current pandemic.

Krista and Cynthia both encourage folks that haven’t attended a WiMI event to do so.  They mentioned that the educational programs are top notch and relevant while the networking provides a fantastic and unique opportunity. Such events provide the opportunity for mentees to talk with other mentees, for mentors to share ideas and new connections to be made.  They agreed that through sharing best practices, they have found that old dogs can teach new tricks and that there is always something to share between people.

Krista, the first female Management Committee member and female shareholder in the company, leaves us with these powerful words; “Always make sure you take time for personal career development, especially in a deadline driven industry.  It’s important to make sure you carve out time to educate, network, and manage because every investment you make in yourself will pay off with personal development in your professional career.”

For more information visit the Women in the Mechanical Industry Initiative Page.

Week 5 of MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program – Fabrication

The GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program has completed the fourth week with two presentations on project management. This past week, we heard from MCAA’s Director of Project Management Education, John Koontz, on project organization charts, and Project Executive for Holmberg Mechanical, Troy Aichele, on scheduling 101.

Next week, we will focus on fabrication, and hear from Jeff Miller, Director of Virtual Construction at Harrell-Fish, Chris Summers, Senior Project Manager at Harrell-Fish and Sean McGuire, MCAA’s Director of Innovative Technologies. Together we will learn about the importance of how and why fabrication is used and understanding the importance of a fabrication plan as a specialty contractor. Our three speakers will give a glimpse of the technology MCAA members are currently using and how it is evolving the use of fabrication.

The information in these presentations is not only for the competition project, but for you and your future. The real-world insight and advice from some of the industry’s best to meant to help you succeed. If you haven’t been able to watch live weekly, know you have helpful presentations waiting for you. You may access these presentations at anytime on the GreatFutures Fall Virtual Program website under the “Video Library” tab after logging in.

Here’s a look at the full Fall schedule! 

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Confront Your Unconscious Biases to Better Understand Your Decisions and Relationships

November 10, 2020 from 12:00 PM–1:00 PM Eastern

Did you know your brain can process 400 billion bits of information per second? Pretty impressive, right? Our brain’s super-computing powers are essential to making quick decisions for everyday life and general survival, and a majority of that processing happens without us even being aware of it. Welcome to the world of unconscious bias!

On November 10 at 12:00 PM EST MCAA’s WiMI will be sponsoring “Confront Your Unconscious Biases to Better Understand Your Decisions and Relationships.” In this highly engaging workshop, members of MCAA will be challenged to confront their own unconscious biases (don’t worry, we all have them) and understand how those biases impact how humans think, communicate, and act in the workplace. They participate in a series of “Bias Busters” that use multimedia content and experiential exercises to uncover their biases and learn how their brains works. Participants have countless “aha” moments, and they discover how bias impacts all kinds of decisions ranging from who is hired and promoted to who you sit next to in the break room. The program culminates with easy-to-use strategies to mitigate bias and build a positive and inclusive workplace culture.

MCAA MEMBERS LEAVE THIS PROGRAM WITH THE ABILITY TO: 

  • Understand how unconscious bias impacts decision-making and relationship-building          
  • Design decision-making processes that mitigate the impact of unconscious bias
  • Build diverse teams and relationships that reach across lines of difference
Bias busters, unconscious bias hacks, and virtual activities make this an unforgettable and powerful program.

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program – Welcome to Week 4 & NEW WiMI Program Presentation JUST ADDED

If you have been tuning into the weekly GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program presentations, you have learned about estimating and project management, and explored construction management software, Procore. You have even been given first-hand advice on the the best tools and tips to use as you work on your project, from previous students who were once in your position and went on to compete in the Final Four of MCAA’s Annual Student Chapter Competition. All of the information in these presentations is for you, not only apply to your Student Chapter Competition project, but beyond. This is real-world insight and advice from some of the industry’s best to help you succeed. If you haven’t been able to watch live weekly, know you have helpful presentations waiting for you. You may access these presentations at anytime by following the “Video Library” tab after logging into the GreatFutures Fall Virtual Program website.

We are excited to share we have. added a special live panel presentation highlighting MCAA’s Women in the Mechanical Industry Mentor/Mentee Program to this GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program. Join us on Thursday, October 29 at 1:00 pm EST to hear from current mentors and mentees on why and how they got involved with the program and learn how you can get involved too. Mentees will speak to how valuable they have found the assistance from their mentors, women with years of experience in the mechanical industry, in career planning, networking and goal setting. Our mentors will share their experiences and offer their best advice to you as you navigate through studying and working in the industry!

Here’s a look at what is still to come this Fall! 

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AB&I Celebrates Women in Industry

MCAA member AB&I Foundry is celebrating women in engineering, manufacturing, and the skilled trades with an iron woman character named “Rose.” The foundry, which has had a long history with their iron man character, felt it was time to feature a female character. The new Iron Woman pays tribute to the iconic Rosie the Riveter representing the women civilians who built the warplanes during the WWII effort.

“There is a huge gap in our historical narrative about women in the trades and that is quickly changing as they are starting to fill the void in skilled trades as many baby boomers retire out of industry. While women are stepping into these roles they are still underrepresented,” said Francesca Venezia Dunbar, Vice President of Group Marketing for McWane. “We hope that the new Iron Woman will pay tribute to the vast opportunities for women in industry.”

According to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Between 2017 and 2018, the number of women working in construction trades increased by 17.6 percent, rising to well over a quarter of a million women (276,000), according to a recent analysis from IWPR. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) shows that women make up about 47 percent of the overall workforce but are still underrepresented in science and engineering occupations. Only 14 percent of engineers are women. Despite these increases, women still only represent 10% of the construction workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, jobs in the skilled trades are expected to grow by at least 11 percent by 2026, while three out of every four tradespeople are set to retire. This brings opportunity for women seeking employment in engineering, manufacturing and the skilled trades.

“The plumbing industry, as well as other industries, are chock full of women breaking barriers with their actions. At AB&I we celebrate those individual women who are pushing through to achieve greatness, no matter the obstacles or tasks,” said Shannon Hooper, National Sales Manager of AB&I Foundry. “I feel that Rose is an embodiment of the changes happening in the construction industry and the world. I look forward to seeing Rose and other women meet the future head on and all the great things they will accomplish.”

MCAA’s WiMI Mentor/Mentee Program Continues to Go Strong – Introducing Kathy and Paige!

Paige Taylor has been a Project Engineer at MMC Contractors in Des Moines, IA for the past two and a half years and was formerly a member of the Iowa State Student Chapter. While Paige has always felt very supported in her career and came into this program with goals already set, she’s found it beneficial to have Kathy to bounce ideas and goals off of, as well as  learn about her experiences in the industry .

Kathy McCauley ­­is President of McCauley Mechanical Construction Inc. in Bridgeview, IL, a member of the MCAA Board of Directors and also serves  on the  WiMI Committee. She has been in the industry for 36 years and 29 years with MCA of Chicago. In 2004, Kathy was elected  President of MCA of Chicago. That marked her as the 4th generation in her family to take on that role and the first female president. Kathy shared that yes she did wear a pink suit coat to the inauguration!  Kathy­ was inspired to help create this WiMI mentor/mentee program as an opportunity to give back due to a lack of such program when she came up in the industry.

Kathy and Paige  started their relationship  with phone calls every three weeks. Kathy shared; ‘I loved the momentum we had going before the world turned upside down”. Like many of the pairs, Kathy and Paige were planning on meeting in person in 2020 but both planned trips were cancelled due to the pandemic. They are looking forward to getting that opportunity again in 2021 and plan to continue the mentorship beyond the initial six month commitment. Both agree that they’d love to see more opportunities to be able to network with other mentor/mentee pairs which has been a challenge.

Paige shared that even though there are so many women she looks up to in her own company being a part of WiMI has been a nice opportunity to have outside options for advice. She’s always on the lookout for the chance to connect with women her own age and to learn from them first-hand. The pair loves sharing interesting reads, opportunities or resources to check out. Kathy shared the Brilliant Balance podcast and invitations to virtual professional development seminars through the WiMi group in Chicago and Paige recommended the book How Women Rise and brought up the twelve habits for discussion. Paige has been inspired by Kathy’s dedication to the industry through her teaching and her involvement in not only MCAA but other leadership organizations as well.

For Kathy, this program has been a reminder to get out of her world and remember what it’s like to be new in the industry. “It’s hard for me to remember what is was like when I started.” Although things have come a long way since she entered the industry, there’s still room for growth and improvement.

When asked what her best piece of advice for Paige and all other young females in this industry at this time, Kathy replied; “Listen to everything that anyone wants to teach you. And don’t take anything too seriously! You need a sense of humor to get through this industry.”

For more information visit the Women in the Mechanical Industry Initiative Page.

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program Finishes Week 2

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program has kicked off! Each of the 17 presentations is meant to help students navigate the proposal and bid process for the annual MCAA Student Chapter Competition project.  

Did we mention registration is free and you only have to register once for ALL of the presentations!

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with the MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program website login instructions. This website includes:

  • All virtual program details;
  • Presentation descriptions;
  • Speaker overviews; and 
  • A full agenda with links to join the live sessions!

We encourage you to attend as many presentations live to interact with fellow students and engage with the presenters in the presentation Q&A. If you are unable to attend any of the sessions live, don’t you worry, the recorded presentations will be posted on MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program website AFTER the live session.

MCAA is sending a weekly Monday reminder email to registered attendees, highlighting the presentations for that week. Don’t forget to add them to your calendar!

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program is sponsored by

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Meet our WiMI Mentors/Mentees

MCAA’s WiMI Committee continued conversations this month with mentees and mentors participating in the WiMI Mentor Program. We are excited to introduce Ali and Wendy!

Ali Brown, a Senior Human Resources Major at The University of Nebraska, joined this program in hopes of meeting an industry professional that could share her journey and experience and help guide her on her newfound path. Ali has changed her major three times throughout her time at U of NE, starting as an architectural engineer major, switching to study construction management, and then recently transitioning to focus on HR. Ali was pleasantly surprised to be paired with Wendy, someone who is doing exactly what, she recently discovered, she would like to pursue in the future.

Wendy Glauber, has years of experience in human resources and compliance management, and is currently the General Counsel & Human Resources Director at John W. Danforth Company in Tonawanda, NY, where she has worked for the past three years and also serves on the WiMI Committee. Wendy has made it part of her mentoring mission to connect Ali with other female HR professionals in the industry, noting it is imperative that women have a supportive professional network.

Ali is grateful for the connections she has been able to make through this program, and for the continual encouragement she has received. Wendy has introduced Ali to other HR professionals to learn more about the field and has invited Ali to virtually shadow Wendy and Danforth’s HR Manager so that Ali can be exposed to the various facets of HR.  Ali is excited about the opportunity to observe what she has learned in school and see it put into action.

Wendy has also inspired Ali in a number of other ways. At last year’s WiMI Committee meeting, Wendy first heard about Women in Construction Week, which occurs every March. After learning about this recognition week, Wendy felt compelled to celebrate the women of Danforth.  She and her team planned a luncheon for all the women within the John W. Danforth Company team – both in the office and in the field. A prominent woman from their community, whose company is valued partner and customer of Danforth, spoke at the lunch and shared insights about being a women in a male dominated industry.  This was the first time the women of Danforth had celebrated together and they were incredibly grateful for this opportunity to connect. Wendy says many of them are still talking about it and continue to thank Danforth  for hosting. This is an event Danforth  plans to host every March in hopes that by sharing exciting ideas like this with Ali, Ali will implement and host her own similar events one day!

Ali and Wendy were looking forward to meeting in person at MCAA’s Convention in Maui this past March, and then reunite at MCAA’s WiMI Conference in June. Unfortunately, the pandemic altered those plans, but this has not stopped them from communicating, collaborating and continuing their monthly calls and catch-ups. In fact, when asked if they see this partnership extending beyond the six month commitment, they both said; “Absolutely!”

Together they’ve established goals for Ali that extend into the next school year. Ali is looking forward to attending job fairs this fall and is happy to have Wendy by her side to help her prepare her resume, practice interview questions, and just provide encouragement. All things to set Ali up for success!

For more information visit the Women in the Mechanical Industry Initiative Page.

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: Finding Longevity in Your Career

In this month’s Beyond the Classroom, meet Sarabeth Gandara, a Preconstruction Engineer at U.S. Engineering. Gandara is a past MCAA Student Chapter member and an Architectural Engineering graduate from Milwaukee School of Engineering. In the video segment, Gandara talks about her experiences with MCAA and how the mechanical contracting industry is the perfect mix of technical and personal relationships. Sarabeth shares the importance of looking for a position with a company that has viable longevity.

Gandara is currently a member of the MCAA Career Development Committee, which is made up of member contractors, whose aim is to provide education and resources to student chapter members. The committee’s goal is to connect students with members by creating networking and employment opportunities while ultimately cultivating the next generation of industry leaders in mechanical contracting.

Upcoming Beyond the Classroom videos will showcase how MCAA student chapter members and MCAA members alike are benefiting from the program. They will also share the opportunities available to students who choose careers in the mechanical industry.

MCA of Chicago Hosts Summer Interns

The mechanical contracting industry provides many career paths, and that includes the opportunity to work for an MCA local affiliated association. This summer, MCA of Chicago has two interns, Judie Prophete and Ervin Prophete. They are learning about how an association is managed and how the MCA of Chicago provides resources and education to its members.

MCA of Chicago Director of Communications Abby Baughan said, “It’s been great having Judie and Ervin working with us this summer. They’re bright, hard-working and make great additions to our team. When I was in college, I knew very little about association work and mechanical contracting. Like most people, I sort of fell into it. I think it’s great that, as college students, Judie and Ervin are being introduced to this world filled with so much opportunity. I hope this internship opens their eyes to all of the possible career paths that are available to them.”

Meet Judie Prophete

Judie is an incoming senior at DePaul University, studying accounting and business management.

“As the accounting intern and administrative assistant for the MCA of Chicago, I spend the majority of my time helping our Director of Finance, Susan Rocque, with various tasks and projects. The other part of my time is spent doing administrative work around the office and helping where I am needed. I am learning a lot about accounting and finance, gaining a lot of new experience and learning a lot about what it is like to work in an office setting.”

During her internship, Judie hopes to continue learning more about the professional workplace and about programs and tools that are specific to her field of study. She also hopes to gain more confidence so she is prepared to enter the business world.

“From what I have seen in the month that I have been interning here, there are a lot of aspects of the professional workplace that school cannot prepare you for. The only way to truly learn these things and succeed is to actually be put in those situations and just do the best you can with what you have. I am fortunate enough to be learning those things surrounded by welcoming, forgiving and patient co-workers in a friendly and positive work environment.”

Meet Ervin Prophete

Ervin Prophete is a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, studying public relations and advertising.

Ervin is a marketing intern. His responsibilities include creating and posting graphics on social media, helping Director of Communications Abby Baughan with compiling the weekly emails, scheduling events on the MCA of Chicago Facebook page and updating the MCA website with future events and classes.

Ervin talked about what he hopes to get out of this internship. “I have learned a lot so far in this internship and feel that every day I step in the office is a day I gain more knowledge about the marketing world. I am hoping to just learn as much as I can and become proficient in the tools I have been introduced to in my time here so far. By the end, I would like to be able to use the knowledge I will have gained to do some freelance work while I finish school.”

MCA of Chicago Career Development

MCA of Chicago members are also focused on getting talented students into the mechanical contracting industry, even if they do not follow the typical academic path.

Brandon Hubner of Premier Mechanical, Inc., shared his company’s unique insight about hiring the right talent:

“The way the Premier has looked at hiring is that a person’s major focus of study or background is less important than the skills that they bring to the table and how well they can help round out our team and add value with other talents that they have. Construction, and mechanical contracting even more so, is a unique industry and every system we install is different. Rarely are two buildings built identically, or with the same team of general contractors and subcontractors. If systems and teams are rarely the same, then why always hire from within the same field of study? In our experience, we can better tackle unique projects with unique individuals. Given the number of variables there are to construction, we would be passing over a lot of really good candidates if we focused just on construction management and mechanical engineering majors.”

Meet our WiMI Mentors/Mentees

 MCAA’s WiMI Committee recently launched a Mentor Program. Mentors and mentees signed-up to be a part of this program in hopes of gaining new perspectives on the industry, building connections, developing a support network, and more. Committee members recently took some time to speak with mentees and mentors participating in the program to find out how things are going. Meet our first pair, Hannah and Kristin! 

Hannah Leslie, an Assistant Project Manager at The Brandt Companies in Carrollton, Texas enrolled in the program as a mentee, hoping to be paired with a mentor who could share the do’s and don’ts of business, tips and tricks to success in the industry, and overall life advice. Little did Hannah know she would be paired with her perfect match! 

Kristin Blundell, a Senior Preconstruction Manager at U.S. Engineering in Westminster, Colorado was recommended to be a mentor in this program from a fellow colleague, a young Preconstruction Engineer who had previously been mentored by Kristin herself. Kristin, who has always taken young professionals under her wing, has proven to be the ideal mentor. 

Hannah and Kristin first connected at the beginning of this year. Their bond formed very naturally during their first phone call. Hannah had entered this program with a small handful of personal and professional goals she hoped her mentor would guide her in working towards. Through open conversations, Kristin helped Hannah expand her goals and identify her strengths to be successful. Also, from the very beginning, Kristin has reminded Hannah of valuable life lessons – stay true to herself, believe in hard work, and believe in herself. 

Kristin’s advice may seem simple, but it has been incredibly empowering for Hannah. Hannah, who is one of two females comprising a close-knit team of 10 individuals in her job site office, has recognized qualities in herself during the course of the mentorship that she now feels empowered to share with the team. Hannah has learned from Kristin to take pride in being a contributing female on the team. 

While Hannah and Kristin have a relaxed approach to their communication structure, they make sure to have a phone conversation at least once a month, every month. They also take comfort in just knowing the other is there for them anytime. An unexpected benefit the current pandemic has provided for both, is knowing they have a contact in a different part of the country to talk through how their respective companies have worked through these challenging times and implemented new work practices. 

With several hundred miles between them, with Hannah in Texas and Kristin in Colorado, they are bummed they cannot meet for an occasional cup of coffee or happy hour drink. However, they do look forward to the day they can meet in person, hopefully at MCAA’s WiMI Conference next June, if not sooner! 

For more information visit the Women in the Mechanical Industry Initiative Page.

Beyond the Classroom: Let’s Get Down to Business

In this month’s Beyond the Classroom, meet University of Nebraska senior, Ali Brown. She is an MCAA Student Chapter member and current intern for The Waldinger Corporation. Ali is the 2020 Women in the Mechanical Industry – Ferguson Scholarship recipient. You can read Ali’s profile HERE.

Ali is earning her degree in Business Administration & Human Resources. In this video, Ali shares her perspective on entering the mechanical contracting industry and emphasizes the importance of business and human resources.

Upcoming Beyond the Classroom videos will showcase how MCAA student chapter members and MCAA members alike are benefiting from the program. They will also share the opportunities available to students who choose careers in the mechanical industry.

Arden Engineering Constructors, LLC Internships Pave the Way to Full-time Careers

Arden Engineering Constructors, LLC, internships prepare students for careers in the construction industry. That guidance has paid off for both the company and three recent graduates who accepted full-time positions within the Arden Building Companies family of businesses. Congratulations to Natalie Mansson, Andrew Basile and Alex Appolonia on finding their great futures with Arden.

About Natalie

Natalie Mansson was hired in May 2020 as Arden Engineering Constructors, LLC’s newest Project Engineer. She interned for the company last winter.

She has had an interest in construction from an early age. “I knew construction would be a great career path for me when my family bought an old Cape house that needed a major renovation,” she said. “I would always ask the contractor, plumber, and electrician questions about their work and the different systems used.”

A recent graduate of Roger Williams University, Natalie studied Construction Management (CM). She grew to love the construction industry more during her time in school, so she decided to take another year to receive her master’s degree in CM.

“My experience at Arden so far has been incredible. I have been working in the estimating department, learning the different software the estimators use and completing various takeoffs. I have also worked with project managers, attended an on-site meeting, and did a site walk-through to see the incredible work Arden is doing.”

About Andrew

Andrew Basile was hired this May as a Controls Engineer with Earthwise Energy Technologies. Andrew is a graduate of Western New England University where he studied Mechanical Engineering.

“I chose mechanical engineering as my field of study because of my love to learn about the inner workings of everyday objects and systems and to be able to use that information, along with some creativity, to create a useful end product,” he said. “For my future in this field, I hope to find a specific application that I am passionate about so I can be invested in my projects and produce results I am proud of.”

Andrew, who interned for Arden during the past two summers recalls his internship experience fondly:

“My experience at Arden has been very informative, with the possibilities for work with a mechanical engineering degree, and the amount of information I can still learn. Working with Paul Carter, General Manager of Earthwise Energy Technologies has shown me the more technical, controls side of HVAC, while working with Tim Elliott, Director of Design & Engineering at Arden Engineering Constructors gave me a more physical understanding of the systems. With the combination of both experiences, I have obtained a more complete understanding of HVAC systems and every step taken to create a functioning system.”

About Alex

Alex Appolonia was recently hired as a Project Engineer on the Unique Metal Works, LLC team.

A University of Rhode Island (URI) graduate, Alex was a Civil Engineering major when he interned with Arden last winter. He worked under Arden Engineering Constructors, LLC Project Manager Rob Cote, and enjoyed on-site visits to the new URI College of Engineering building.

Alex Appolonia determines what size fan cover is needed for an exhaust fan at the Infinity Meat Solutions project.

He says, “I have been able to experience the precise detail and coordination it takes to complete a project of substantial caliber. My time here at Arden has given me hands-on experience in the field and shown me that to be a successful project manager or engineer one must be punctual, concise and transparent when coordinating with all the other trades from start to finish of every project.”

Alex is currently working on the Infinity Meat Solutions project, a new $100M, 200,000 sq. ft. meat-packaging facility in North Kingstown, RI. This is a joint project for Unique Metal Works, LLC, Arden Engineering Constructors, LLC, and Earthwise Energy Technologies.

Murphy Company Interns Get Project Experience on Their College Campus

Murphy Company interns Jacob Reed and Morgan Hanley have been onsite project engineering interns for the University of Missouri-Columbia’s NextGen Precision Health Institute. The opportunity has given them a first-hand look at what it takes to build a job on their college campus. 

About the Project

The company continues its work on the facility which supports a systemwide precision health initiative aimed at harnessing and supporting the research activities of its four universities and health system. The building will include lab space for current and new faculty, graduate students, clinicians and have collaborative spaces for work with industry partners.

The facility is the largest single project that the University of Missouri has ever undertaken. The project consists of a new 265,000 sq. ft. six story facility.

The Murphy Company team, in collaboration with their general contractor and trade partners, was hired on in a design-assist capacity completed the following extensive BIM and fabrication on this past year:

  • Identified and corrected 1,134 BIM clashes prior to installation
  • Fabricated 121,000 lbs. of ductwork and 65,000 lbs. of mechanical piping and racks
  • Installed the following:
    • 7,600 Linear Feet (LF) of underground piping
    • 22,500 MEP Trimble points based on BIM
    • 41,700 LF of above ground plumbing and piping
    • 3,4000 of LF of reverse osmosis (RO) piping
    • 21,640 LF of copper process piping

Construction on the institute is expected to be completed in October 2021.

Both Jacob Reed and Morgan Hanley began their internships in Murphy Company’s St. Louis office this past spring semester.  

About Jacob

Jacob is entering his senior year at the University of Missouri-Columbia, studying Mechanical Engineering. In the spring working 20-hour week, Jacob was able to see the project manager role in action by attending coordination meetings, daily site walks and reviewing construction drawings making him more familiar with the project layout. Since the spring Jacob has transition to a full-time intern this summer.

“Since I have transitioned to full-time for the summer, I feel that I am gaining valuable real-world experience without too much of an internship feel. My responsibilities now include reviewing submittals, tracking productivity, and the commissioning process of equipment. I have been able to soak in as much information as possible, ask plenty of questions about topics I did not fully understand, and have real responsibilities that add value to the work being completed here. I believe it is the perfect balance that is allowing me to apply my skills and develop new ones.”

Jacob looks forward to the rest of his summer internship and continue to learn from Murphy employees the importance of coordination, communication, and critical problem solving.

“I have now seen multiple times how project managers are able to take a problem in stride, communicate with co-workers to create a solution, and implement that solution in a timely manner. I am also looking forward to watching further completion of the NextGen Precision Health Institute. I find it very exciting that I get to see firsthand the construction of a multi-million-dollar research institute at my college.”

About Morgan

Morgan Hanley is a Junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying chemical engineering. In the spring Morgan was on-site at the NextGen facility and this summer is currently working in Murphy Company’s engineering department.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time so far with Murphy as it has allowed me to apply what I have learned in my coursework to practical, real-world scenarios. I have enjoyed being able to see two pieces of a bigger puzzle at work. Being on site of NextGen and then coming to the Engineering department has been really interesting because it has closed the loop between the drawings and plans I worked with at Mizzou to how those intricate details, sizings, and selections are determined during the design phase. It has been fascinating to observe the complementary aspects of both locations, and I am excited to learn even more during the rest of the summer.”

Start Your Search for Top Talent Today

Find student chapter members like Derrick by visiting MCAAGreatFutures.org, where members have access to student profiles and resumes. The profiles are searchable by university, desired location, and even a specific skill set, like BIM or AutoCAD. A keyword filter allows users to zero in on students who fit the bill.