Category: Career Development

Molly Sizemore Receives Ferguson-Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarship

Molly Sizemore, a junior at Pennsylvania State University, has been awarded one of the two Ferguson-Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarships.

Ferguson underwrites these scholarships, which recognize high-achieving female students working towards a degree relative to the mechanical industry.

Academic Experience

Molly is the President of the MCA of Central Pennsylvania-sponsored student chapter at Pennsylvania State University, where she studies Architectural Engineering specializing in mechanical systems.

Molly talks about how, “to my surprise, mechanical contracting fell into my lap after I was searching for a challenge in my academic career. When I first entered Penn State, I was generally just an architectural engineering student teetering between the structural and lighting design options. As I progressed in my academic career, I found myself really fascinated by HVAC and fire protection. HVAC really presented itself as an intricate puzzle which really drew me in.”

Molly acknowledges that, “MCAA has definitely created a springboard for me into the mechanical contracting industry, and I’m very excited to continue this journey and get others involved.”

She was able to grow her industry network by attending the 2019 Great Futures Forum, which has led her to ignite a passion for mechanical contracting in other students who have chosen to get involved with her student chapter.

Southland Industries Internship

Molly has accepted her second summer internship with MCA of Metro Washington member, Southland Industries. She reflects on her experiences:

“I liked the specialization of Southland and the responsibilities they gave me. I also really liked the mentor dynamic where I could sit down for an hour a week and ask any questions I had. My internship put me in a position where I can see all stages of the mechanical contracting process and have an opportunity to contribute at any stage. In my experience with Southland, I really love the dynamic of the firm in that everything is very mechanical-focused and specialized. I like the ability to have a detailed conversation about what is happening at every part of a mechanical system.”

You can read more about Molly’s internship experience here.

Women in the Mechanical Industry Perspective

Molly gives her thoughts about the challenges and opportunities that come along with being a woman in the industry:

“As a woman in the mechanical industry, I’ve experienced first-hand with being the only woman on a project team. Though I initially faced this as a challenge on my path, I turned it around and viewed it as an opportunity to build my own self-confidence and create a voice for myself in an industry dominated by men.

Beyond my own personal experience, I have been able to mentor young women in the Penn State College of Engineering to ignore the stereotypes and be more than a statistic. As a greater challenge, I think it will be getting everyone on the same page with accepting diversity in the industry. Diversity in a team brings new and innovative ideas because people come with different backgrounds and experience.”

Women in the Mechanical Industry and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulated Molly Sizemore on this prestigious scholarship and thank Ferguson for their commitment to encouraging young women to be engaged in the industry.

University of Nebraska Awarded Student Chapter of the Year

The University of Nebraska Student Chapter has been awarded the 2019 MCAA Student Chapter of the Year.

The Student Chapter of the Year Award recognizes an MCAA student chapter for outstanding achievement as an organization of students who are planning careers in the mechanical construction industry. The award honors exceptional achievement in governance and leadership, membership recruiting, fundraising, community involvement, and career development.

The University of Nebraska Student Chapter is sponsored by the MCA of Omaha. Vishnu Reddi, Assistant Professor of Practice with the Durham School, College of Engineering, is the chapter’s faculty advisor.

The Student Chapter was one of MCAA’s first. Chartered in 1998, it has since remained one of the most active in the MCAA student chapter network.

The chapter takes a unique approach to fundraising, community service and networking opportunities with local MCA members.

Fundraising 

In 2019, the chapter hosted four events to raise funds and provide opportunities for students to network with the MCA of Omaha’s 30 mechanical contractor members. The events included a beer tasting, a wine tasting and two golf tournaments. The most profitable of these was a beer tasting that raised a record-breaking amount.

Community Service

In 2019, the student chapter participated in three community services events.

One of the highlights was the annual Heat’s On event, during which HVAC service technicians and students provide free inspections of senior citizens’ furnaces to ensure that they are working safely for the winter months. Students worked with their service member partners to run through a checklist that included inspecting the filter, flames, flame sensor, flue gas, changing fire alarm batteries, and more.

MCAA Member Networking

Each student is offered the opportunity to be mentored by a professional from an MCA of Omaha member company, an internship with a member company, and the chance to serve on a committee with several contractors. By the time a student graduates, the goal is for them to have personal relationships at almost every MCA of Omaha member company that they can carry into their future careers.

In April 2019, Student Chapter members visited MCA of Omaha members to hand out mugs with candy in them for Administrative Professionals Day. This introduced students to all of the member companies.

In the fall, students took a behind-the-scenes tour of the mechanical and plumbing systems at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The students also travelled to a virtual design and construction conference hosted by Victaulic.

Mentorship Program 

During the year, the MCA of Omaha matches every student with a mechanical contractor mentor from a local MCA of Omaha company. This match between student and mentor is based on the student’s specific interests. Mentors engage with the students a minimum of four times throughout the year. Mentors show students what they do on a daily basis at job sites and give a tour of their offices, walking students through the daily routine to help them get a feel for everyday life in the industry. Through this experience, students gain first-hand knowledge of the industry to help them make more educated career decisions.

Industry Internships 

Students had the opportunity to attend Internship Day in the fall, where they had a chance to interview with multiple MCAA companies that are looking for interns. Six of the nine students were offered and accepted  internships with an MCAA member company.

You can read about chapter member Caleb Kowalski’s internship experiences with MCAA members here.

MCAA and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulate the University of Nebraska students on their active involvement with MCAA and their commitment to the mechanical contracting industry.

Please contact Harlee Mooney if you have questions about any of our student activities or the internship grants funded by the John R. Gentille Foundation (JRGF).

Ali Brown Receives Ferguson-Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarship

Ali Brown, a junior at the University of Nebraska, has been awarded one of the two Ferguson-Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarships.

Ferguson underwrites these scholarships, which recognize high-achieving female students working towards a degree relative to the mechanical industry.

Academic Experience

Ali has been a member of the MCA of Omaha-sponsored Student Chapter since 2017. She attended the 2019 GreatFutures Forum and the 2019 WiMI Conference. She is earning her degree in Business Administration & Human Resources.

In her scholarship application, Ali discusses why she shifted her focus from the engineering and construction management side of the industry to the business side. “Even though I am now a business major I still see the mechanical construction industry as an exciting industry to be in. I see the opportunities that there are for growth in all areas of the industry.”

Post-graduation, Ali sees herself working for a mechanical contractor in their human resources department. “I want to help with developing standards of practice as well as recruit new talent for my company. My goal in my career is to help people and I believe that I can achieve this goal through working in Human Resources.”

Ali is appreciative of her involvement with her student chapter and the connections she has made with contractors through the MCA of Omaha. “We work with our contractors to plan fundraising events, recruit new student chapter members, and much more. Through our chapter I feel like I have learned more about the industry than I ever thought I would know. I have been able to see how many different companies run jobs and other day-to-day activities between our different contractors.”

Waldinger Internship

Ali has been interning for The Waldinger Corporation, a member of the MCA of Omaha, MCAA and NCPWB, throughout her academic career. She has been involved in the administration, Virtual Design and Construction, and the accounting department. “I enjoy the culture we have at Waldinger. I especially enjoy the internship program we have; it exposes me to all facets of the company.” She is excited to continue her Waldinger internship this summer.

Ali reflects on her internship experiences and seeing the unique challenges and opportunities as a women in the industry. Ali thinks there are many challenges that come with being a woman in the mechanical contracting field. “Since it is so male dominated,” she said, “I feel like gaining the respect of coworkers is the biggest challenge that comes with being a woman in this field. Though it is a challenge I believe that also makes it an opportunity. The best way to grow personally is by taking challenges and turning them into opportunities.”

Women in the Mechanical Industry and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulate Ali on this prestigious scholarship and thank Ferguson for their commitment to encouraging young women to be engaged in our industry.

Beyond the Classroom – The Importance of an Internship

In this month’s Beyond the Classroom, meet University of Missouri-Columbia graduate, Paige Theby. She has recently started as an Engineer at MCAA member, Murphy Company. You can reach Paige’s full story HERE.

As a past MCAA Student Chapter member and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering major, Paige talks about the importance of her internship and the opportunities she sees for people starting out in the industry. She shares how MCAA GreatFutures can help kickstart a career through networking and internship opportunities.

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.

Please contact Harlee Mooney if you have questions about any of our student activities or the internship grants funded by the John R. Gentille Foundation (JRGF).

Purdue University Student Chapter President Accepts Second Internship with Harrell-Fish

Colin Hindman has accepted a second summer internship with MCA of Indiana member, Harrell-Fish, Inc. (HFI). Colin is a junior studying Construction Management Technology at Purdue University where he is the President of the MCAA Student Chapter.

Harrell-Fish Internship

Colin reflects on what he will be doing during his internship:

I am continuing to work with the Project Management team in their Construction Division. I shadow and assist the PMs with their projects while also getting some projects of my own to manage under supervision. I also help out in estimating on occasion. I found the opportunity to work for them [Harrell-Fish] originally by being introduced to the VP by a family friend.

MCAA Student Chapter Involvement

As the Student Chapter president, Colin has been active with his student chapter:

Being a part of MCAA has both reinforced and built upon concepts I have learned in class, but most importantly on the job. My excellent experience working with HFI gave me a certain advantage when approaching the competition project. Conversely, the MCAA Student Chapter Competition taught me some valuable lessons that I’ve already been able to apply back in my internship.

Find other student chapter members like Colin by visiting mcaagreatfutures.org and previewing students’ resumes.

Please contact Harlee Mooney if you have questions about any of our student activities or the internship grants funded by the John R. Gentille Foundation (JRGF).

Cristina Cosma Named Educator of the Year

This year’s MCAA Educator of the Year Award was presented to Cristina Cosma of the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The award, including a check, honors her mentoring ability, industry knowledge and involvement, and her active participation in MCAA’s Student Chapter program activities.

The students of the Wentworth MCAA Student Chapter sponsored by the New England MCA, Inc. (NEMCA) said, “a mentor’s role is to provide guidance, advice, encouragement, support, and resources. Cosma checks off all of these boxes and more.”

MCAA Student Chapter members credit Professor Cosma for the chapter’s fast growth and success, noting that “She puts a lot of time and effort into this chapter to ensure that we get the most out of it.”

Cosma has worked with chapter members to coordinate fundraising and community service events, including working with NEMCA on the annual golf tournament and facilitating an HVAC project for a neighborhood church.

Under Cosma’s guidance, the students have placed in the top ten of the MCAA Student Chapter Competition for the past seven years. Cosma has also helped increase chapter membership. According to chapter members, “Getting new members into our chapter is always something we struggle with. 90% of the students in our chapter hear about it through taking classes with Cosma. She will always advocate for MCAA and all of the opportunities it gives us students. She pushes us to attend all of our schools’ club involvement fairs to try and present our chapter and get new students to join.”

Professor Cosma maintains close relationships with NEMCA members and NEMCA Executive Vice President, Stephen Affanato, which has given the students many opportunities. For example, she has connected students with MCAA members for internship and co-op opportunities that led to full-time positions.

Cosma has “created an amazing opportunity when it comes to the students making lasting relationships with industry leaders. At any event Cosma urges us to step out of our comfort zones and talk to as many contractors as possible.”

MCAA and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulate Cosma on her accomplishments, her chapter, and her contributions to the industry.

The Wentworth students say, “we can’t begin to thank Professor Cosma enough for all the help she has given this chapter, we seriously owe all of our success to her guidance.”

Hailey Brennan Receives First Josam Endowed Scholarship

Congratulations to Hailey Brennan, the first recipient of the annual Josam Endowed Scholarship. Josam Company has established an annual scholarship to a sophomore in a MCAA Student Chapter, pursuing a degree in construction management, mechanical engineering or a similar field. Provided that all qualifications are met each year, the yearly recipient will continue to receive the scholarship in their sophomore, junior and senior year.

Hailey is a sophomore, studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Hailey joined her MCAA student chapter last fall and has since attended the 2019 GreatFutures Forum and helped lead her chapter to the final four of this year’s MCAA Student Chapter Competition.

Hailey has had an interest in the industry since middle school and began taking engineering courses in high school. “It was my choice to pursue HVAC as well, which is what really drew me toward a career in the mechanical contracting industry.”

While in high school Hailey was active in SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization. The organization helped Hailey grow confidence in HVAC courses, and led to her interning with a mechanical contractor her senior year in high school.

She continued to pursue her industry interests while at the University of Maryland, and wants to continue to pursue a career in mechanical contracting throughout her educational and internship choices as an undergraduate.

She recently accepted a summer internship with MCAA member, Poole & Kent Corporation, in Baltimore, Maryland, where she will be working alongside Project Engineers on a hospital jobsite. Hailey found the internship through her student chapter connection with sponsoring local affiliate, MCA of Metro Washington.  “The local MCAMW events have provided me connections for internships and I have been happy to volunteer at MCAMW events to meet more of the local MCAA community.”

Hailey says she has given thought to completing an HVAC apprenticeship after graduation. “With my experience in mechanical engineering and business, completing an HVAC apprenticeship would put me on my way to becoming a business owner in the mechanical contracting industry.”

The John R. Gentille Foundation congratulates Hailey Brennan on this prestigious scholarship and would like to thank Josam Company’s CEO, Scott Holloway Sr., for the commitment to supporting younger students to keep them invested in the mechanical contracting industry. 

Washington State University Student Accepts Internship at McKinstry Company

Dylan Sterling has accepted a summer internship with MCA of Western Washington member McKinstry Company. Dylan is a junior studying Construction Management and a member of the MCAA Student Chapter at Washington State University.

Dylan discusses what he will be doing as an intern this summer and how he learned about McKinstry:

I will be working as a project engineer this summer focusing on new construction projects, and will get an opportunity to participate is some of the prefabrication process as well. I wanted to try to get into an internship with a specialized MEP contractor. While at school I work with the Integrated Design + Construction Lab (ID+CL) on campus, and one of our current sponsored projects is to develop a comprehensive tenant engagement program for a new multi-tenanted building in Spokane that considers social interaction, occupant health, and building energy performance to reach the project’s net-zero goals.  Throughout this process I have had the opportunity to meet many McKinstry employees and really enjoyed the culture of the company.

I am very interested in the use of technology in this industry to reduce waste and help streamline delivery, and being involved in local projects has given me opportunities to explore these while still in school.

MCAA Student Chapter Experience

As a Washington State University MCAA Student Chapter member, Dylan has used his past internship and class experience to work on the annual MCAA Student Competition. His role with the competition has been focused on outlining the BIM and prefabrication capabilities of the project. Dylan says, “this led me to look deeper into the many ways that MEP contractors across the country are utilizing new technologies to help push the construction industry in a more sustainable direction. My past internship experiences helped me put together a proposal that described our use of BIM throughout previous projects, how we manage coordination, and how we utilize prefabrication to save time and money during construction.”

Being a part of the MCAA competition has allowed me to network with contractors from all over the country, building invaluable professional skills and relationships along the way. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that the MCAA Student Chapter has offered during my time in the WSU Construction Management program.

Find other student chapter members like Dylan by visiting mcaagreatfutures.org and previewing students’ resumes.

Please contact Harlee Mooney if you have questions about any of our student activities or the internship grants funded by the John R. Gentille Foundation (JRGF).

Cypress College Becomes MCAA’s Newest Student Chapter

MCAA GreatFutures welcomes its 61st Student Chapter, Cypress College! This is the first student chapter sponsored by ARCA/MCA, and the first two-year technical school to be chartered as part of the MCAA GreatFutures student chapter program.

Professor Richard Hock serves as the faculty advisor for the ARCA/MCA Student Chapter Cypress College. Richard worked with Cheryl James and Dick Sawhill of ARCA/MCA and ARCA/MCA members to start the chapter and get students active and engaged.

The Air Conditioning & Refrigeration program at Cypress College offers both certificate and degree paths into the industry. You can learn more about the program by visiting the Cypress College page on MCAAGreatFutures.org.

Congratulations to Cypress College and welcome to the MCAA family!

Celebrating the Successes of Young Women in Our Industry

In honor of International Women’s Day, MCAA GreatFutures & WiMI celebrate all of the young women actively pursuing a career in the mechanical contracting industry. Read these success stories of female MCAA Student Chapter members and how they are leaving an imprint on the industry:

Madelyn Conway, Purdue University

Madelyn Conway, a senior at Purdue University, has accepted a full-time position with BMWC Constructors, Inc. She will be working as a project engineer in their Indianapolis office following graduation this spring. Madelyn said, “because of MCAA, MCA of Indiana, and the Purdue MCA Student Chapter, I have found my career!”

Madelyn was the 2019 recipient of the Ferguson – WiMI Scholarship.

Read the full story HERE.

Kathy Deng, University of Southern California 

Kathy Deng, a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Southern California, a past MCAA student chapter member and a current Design Engineer at Murray Company. Kathy says at the MCAA19 convention, “Women in the Mechanical Industry enlightened me about the value of mechanical engineers in construction.”

Read the full story HERE.

Paige Theby, University of Missouri-Columbia

Paige Theby, a member of the MCAA Student Chapter at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and accepting a full-time position with Murphy Company.

Read the full story HERE.

Molly Sizemore, Pennsylvania State University

Molly Sizemore has accepted her second summer internship at Southland Industries, a member of the MCA of Metropolitan Washington. She is a member of the MCA of Central Pennsylvania-sponsored student chapter at Pennsylvania State University, where she studies Architectural Engineering specializing in mechanical systems. She said, “MCAA has definitely created a springboard for me into the mechanical contracting industry, and I’m very excited to continue this journey and get others involved.”

Molly is a recipient of the 2020 Ferguson – WiMI Scholarship.

Read the full story HERE.

Alex Berman, Kent State University

Alex Berman, a 2019 Construction Management graduate from Kent State University and a past MCAA Student chapter member, has found success in the industry as an Estimator and Project Assistant at MCA of Cleveland member Geauga Mechanical in Northeast Ohio.

Read the full story HERE.

Kylie Nedelka, University of Missouri-Columbia

Kylie Nedelka, a mechanical engineering major from the University of Missouri-Columbia, has accepted a second summer internship with SIEMENS, a member of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council. Kylie found the opportunity at the 2018 GreatFutures Forum, where she met Kristin Junia, Program Manager at SIEMENS. Kylie said, “My experience was so great, that I have accepted a position as an engineering intern for this upcoming summer! I look forward to the new experiences to come!”

Read the full story HERE.