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You Have an Intern – Now What?

The start of summer is almost here and a fresh batch of interns will soon be flowing through the doors of mechanical contracting companies across the country. You have hired your interns, but now what do you do with them? MCAA’s Internship Hot Sauce Guide answers this question with a visual display of intern-level tasks, classified by level of industry experience.

Not all sophomores are on the same level, and a freshman with extensive industry knowledge could potentially take on more challenging projects than a senior who has never stepped foot in a jobsite trailer. The Hot Sauce Guide encourages you to meet the intern where they are and work up from Mild to Spicy tasks and at their individual pace.

Congratulations to Shelby Gustafson, First Recipient of the Donald V. Brown, Sr. Memorial Scholarship

D.V. Brown & Associates, Inc., a charter member of MCAA, has established a new scholarship to commemorate the memory of its founder, Donald V. Brown, Senior. Congratulations to the first recipient – Shelby Gustafson!

Shelby is a Construction Management major at California State University, Chico with an anticipated graduation of May 2027. She is an active member of her student chapter and served as Vice President. Last summer she interned with MCAA Member, ACCO Engineered Systems and plans on returning to ACCO for the summer of 2024 to continue her internship experience.

“While working at ACCO, I have noticed that everyone there gives 100% commitment and effort constantly. This is important to me when thinking about a future career because I always give 100% to all of my projects and commitments as well. Being on a team with a mirrored mindset is super important to me because it allows me to reach my full potential. Seeing that everyone is a tight knit family is also notable because with the stress and competitive market of the industry it is nice to know that there is a supportive group backing me no matter what. Being able to reach out for help, especially in the beginning years, is especially valuable because it is vital to have people to rely on.

Through my student chapter, I have gained not only knowledge in the industry, but also a solid group of friends. The competition allowed me to expand my public speaking skills as well as get a better understanding of high-level mechanical scheduling and estimating. Without my chapter, I wouldn’t have been offered as many internship experiences and I will be forever grateful for it. I’ll be sure to keep a lookout on student outreach programs in my future company and of course I would make the drive to Chico to help support the program in the future.”

MCAA and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulate Shelby on this prestigious scholarship and thank D.V. Brown & Associates, Inc. for their commitment to supporting students interested in pursuing a career in the mechanical contracting industry.

Congratulations to Kavan Limbasiya, 2024 Robert J. Durr, Sr. – UA/NCPWB Partnering Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Kavan Limbasiya, the recipient of the Robert J. Durr, Sr. – UA/NCPWB Partnering Scholarship, which is in honor of Robert J. Durr, Sr., former chairman of the National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau Board of Trustees, for his effort and dedication in creating a partnership between the UA and the NCPWB, which resulted in the formation of the Joint Welder Testing Program.

Kavan is studying Construction Management at Pittsburg State University and anticipates graduating in May 2025. He is an active member of his student chapter and will intern with MCAA Member, The Waldinger Corporation this summer.

“I have gained a lot through MCAA not only academically, but also personally. Academically I’ve learned a lot of things about what goes into a fully functional mechanical system. The MCAA Student Chapter Competition project exposed me to the responsibilities of a mechanical company. Personally, MCAA gave me the opportunity to socialize and make connections that have helped me to grow to be a more outgoing person.

Mechanical construction captivates me due to its dynamic nature and the opportunity it provides for innovation. The mix of creativity and precision required in designing and building mechanical systems intrigues me, and I am drawn to what I can contribute to advancements in this field. The hands-on aspect of mechanical construction aligns perfectly with my desire for practical, real-world applications of engineering principles. Moreover, the continuous evolution of technology in mechanical systems excites me and I’m eager to immerse myself in a field that demands adaptability and problem-solving skills. I see mechanical construction as not just a career path, but as a platform to make a meaningful impact by shaping the future.”

MCAA and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulate Kavan on this prestigious scholarship and thank the NCPWB for their commitment to supporting students interested in pursuing a career in the mechanical contracting industry.

Congratulations Spring Graduates! Have New Hires? It’s Time to Submit Part 2 Internship Grants

Graduation season is quickly approaching and interns are ready to step into full-time roles. Don’t forget to submit a Part 2 Internship Grant for any intern that converts to a full-time new hire at your company and was previously on a Part 1 list.

Part 2 Internship Grant recipients will receive a $500 gift card, mailed to the company, to present as a hiring bonus to their new employee. 

Snap a picture of your new hire on the jobsite, wearing company swag, or with your logo. The photos will be highlighted on our Wall of Interns at MCAA25 next March. 

Please note that Part 2 forms may not be submitted until after the new hire’s full-time start date. 

Congratulations to Daniel Kellen, 2024 Robert T. Armistead Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Daniel Kellen, one of two recipients of the first ever Robert T. Armistead Memorial Scholarship. This $5,000 scholarship was established by Armistead Mechanical, Inc. and the family of Robert “Bob” Armistead to symbolize his leadership, dedication, and impact on the mechanical contracting industry. In honor of Bob’s service as MCAA President, the selected winners are required to have served as their local student chapter president.

Daniel is a Construction Engineering student at Iowa State University and is anticipated to graduate in May 2025. He’s an active member of his student chapter, served as president, and previously interned at MCAA Member, the Baker Group. For the summer of 2024, he will be interning at MCAA Member, Harris Company as a Construction Project Manager Intern.

“At my previous internship, I liked that many employees were graduates from the same program I’m studying. It made working with everyone very relatable. I also enjoyed that each new day I had something related to an actual job that I was working on. Every task I was given was important in some way to a real job. The fact that I was actively making a difference and gaining real experience in dealing with day-to-day problems in the construction world was extremely gratifying.

Mechanical construction is a niche area of work. I like the fact that the mechanical systems are like the nervous system of the building. Without them, you have a structure, but not much else. 

In the future, I see myself working as an assistant project manager immediately after graduation, hopefully with a company I have worked with already. Five years later, I hope to be running projects of my own and helping more people. I believe the experience and responsibilities entrusted to me by the companies I have worked with in the past make me more than prepared to start working on more detail-oriented projects. If I didn’t have previous experience, I would have to learn the basics of working on a jobsite instead of progressing further along.”

MCAA and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulate Daniel on this prestigious scholarship and thank Armistead Mechanical, Inc. and the family of Robert T. Armistead for their commitment to supporting students interested in pursuing a career in the mechanical contracting industry.

Save the Date for MCAA’s 2024 GreatFutures Forum

Although summer ’24 isn’t quite here yet, it’s already time to start the process for securing your summer ’25 interns! Save the date for the 2024 MCAA GreatFutures Forum (September 26-28, 2024) in Seattle, WA. Conference registration, including the 9/27 Job Fair, is complimentary for MCAA Members, Local Association Executives and Forum Sponsors. Registration will open on June 14th.

Congratulations to Drew Figura, 2024 Bolton Family Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Drew Figura, the recipient of the new Bolton Family Scholarship. This $5,000 scholarship was established to pay tribute to the significant contributions that the Boltons have provided to the construction industry and the dedicated service they have provided to the employees of Arden Building Companies.

The scholarship honors the family’s dedicated volunteer work within the communities they service in Rhode Island, notably their efforts in aiding children from Spanish and Portuguese-speaking backgrounds in mastering the English language within the school system and their improvements with the Ronald McDonald House. The scholarship embodies the values of service, community engagement and support for those in need that have been integral to the Bolton family’s legacy.

Drew is studying Construction Management at the University of Nebraska and is expecting to graduate in the winter of 2025. He is an active member of his student chapter and has interned with MCAA Member, the Helm Group.

“What I have gained as part of MCAA is lots of connections in the construction industry, which has helped me in school, but will also help me in the future during my career. This past summer I worked for a general contractor, but my student chapter mentor through the MCA-Omaha Leadership Academy was the project manager on the job. Having him there was beneficial and he taught me a lot about the systems being installed for the project. After my summer internship, my mentor offered me an internship at Helm Group. Before being part of MCAA, I didn’t even know what mechanical construction was.

In the past year and a half, I’ve learned that mechanical construction plays a large role in almost all construction projects. I can see myself in mechanical once I graduate in two years. I enjoy the team I’m working with and can see myself working there once I graduate.”

MCAA and the John R. Gentille Foundation congratulate Drew on this prestigious scholarship and thank the Bolton Family and Arden Engineering Companies for their commitment to supporting students interested in pursuing a career in the mechanical contracting industry.

2023-2024 Student Chapter Competition

At the MCAA24 Awards of Excellence Breakfast on March 20th, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo was awarded the top prize of $10,000 and a trophy for their outstanding work on the 2023-2024 Student Chapter Competition.

CalPoly San Luis Obispo Sponsoring Local Affiliate: Northern California MCA
• Alex Hall – Executive Vice President
• Mike Stirling – Director of Member Relations

Faculty Advisors
• Paul Redden
• Joseph Cleary

The University of Wisconsin-Stout was the runner-up, placing second and received a trophy and a check for $5,000. 

Ball State University and McMaster University rounded out the final four. Both Honorable Mention finalists received trophies and $2,500 checks.

Six teams (out of the 24 submissions) were recognized with Merit Trophies and checks for $1,000. They are, in alphabetical order: 

  • California State University, Chico
  • Kansas State University
  • Kent State University
  • Missouri State University
  • Pittsburg State University
  • University of Maryland, College Park

The project involved submitting a proposal as the prime mechanical contractor for the Kansas City Zoo Aquarium. This included all piping, HVAC, controls and additional work required from the bid documents.  

Thank you to the following companies for their special contributions to the project:

  • MMC Contractors National, Inc. (supplying the project)
    • Jeremy Millard (Introduction & What Really Happened)
  • Procore (use of Project Management software)
  • Trimble (use of Trimble Estimation MEP software)
  • Ferguson (providing pricing for pipe values and fittings)

MCAA Career Development Committee – Judges

  • Justin Blackledge, The Waldinger Corporation – Omaha
  • Anne Finerfrock, W.E. Bowers
  • Sarabeth Gandara, U.S. Engineering Construction
  • Scott Hinton, Enerfab Power and Industrial, Inc.
  • Michael Russo, Fresh Meadow Mechanical Corporation
  • Kurt Voss, Integrated Facility Services
  • John Ziemann, Mollenberg-Betz, Inc.

Thank you as well to the Chair of the Career Development Committee, Andrew Palcan of Helm Group, for serving as the emcee for the competition in Orlando!

The MCAA Career Development Committee is currently hard at work planning for the 2024-2025 project. The next project will be announced this fall, and a Q&A session is on the schedule for the GreatFutures Forum in Seattle (September 26–28). Registration for the full conference is complimentary for MCAA contractor members and includes the GreatFutures Job Fair on Friday morning. Watch and MCAA’s National Update e-newsletter for information as the date gets closer.

Most Valuable Presenter

The Career Development Committee recognized a student who did the best job presenting their proposal, whether or not their team won. The audience members voted live between schools and ultimately Hans Stelpflug of the University of Wisconsin-Stout was awarded a trophy, a $500 gift card, a complimentary seat in MCAA’s Preparatory Institute for Project Management, and the title of 2023-2024 Most Valuable Presenter. 

Hans is majoring in construction management and will graduate this spring.

University of Wisconsin-Stout Sponsoring Local Affiliate:
Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association

Faculty Advisor:
• Dean Wirtanen

Trimble Future Estimator Scholarship

The Trimble Future Estimator Scholarship was developed to recognize a student not only interested in mechanical contracting, but specifically to a student with an interest in being a mechanical estimator upon graduation.  This $5,000 scholarship is available to a student who participated in the Final Four round of the MCAA Student Chapter Competition.

Pictured: Brian Helm (JRGF President), Daniel DeSoto (CalPoly), Rocco Bognet (Trimble), Ron King (Trimble), and Robert Beck (MCAA President)

Trimble Future Estimator Scholarship Winner:
Daniel DeSoto – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Congratulations to all the 2023-2024 participating teams!

On the Hunt for New Hires? Post to the GreatFutures Job Board to Attract Spring Grads!

Graduation season is quickly approaching and students majoring in construction-related fields are searching for that perfect first full-time position. Many of these spring graduates have internship experience at home, but are looking to explore a new geographic location. The GreatFutures Job Board is a tool to help match these students from 40 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada with MCAA members looking to hire. Post your full-time, entry-level positions today to attract qualified students ready to start their career in mechanical contracting!

How to Post an Entry-Level Job or Internship 

  • Login with an MCAA username and password
  • Click on the job board within the Career Development page
  • Click Manage My Jobs and Add a Job to create your posting
  • Jobs remain active for 1 month to ensure postings stay fresh
  • When the job is set to expire, a reminder will be sent for you to either “mark as filled” or “duplicate” and repost for another month
  • Interested students can view postings and submit their contact information and resume
  • Your office will be notified via email when interested students submit their resume
  • From there, your office is encouraged to continue with your company’s application and interview process

Hired an Intern? Submit an Internship Grant 

Already have an intern? Don’t forget to submit your Intern Grants for 2024! Part 1 applications are $1,000 for 1 intern or up to $2,000 for 2 or more interns. Then once you hire an intern full-time, come back and submit Part 2 for a $500 gift card to present to your new hire. 

Part 1:

  • Submit an application for each intern (Interns must be listed on a Part 1 application to be eligible for Part 2)
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
  • Companies with one intern are eligible for a $1,000 grant OR companies with two or more interns may receive a $2,000 grant

Part 1: Internship Grant Application

Part 2:

For companies successfully converting an intern from their Part 1 list to a full-time new hire, a $500 gift card will be mailed to the company to present to their new hire. New hire conversions are unlimited, but the name must be included on a Part 1 list from an MCAA member company. Submit the form below to notify MCAA of a new hire conversion.
• Part 2 application may not be submitted until after the full-time start date.

Part 2: Internship Grant Application

2023-2024 Educator of the Year Winner – Joe Karpinski

The student chapter members at Kent State University proudly nominated Joe Karpinski for the MCAA 2023-2024 Educator of the Year award based on his mentoring, mechanical industry knowledge, participation in chapter activities, and involvement in the creation of student-focused networking opportunities with local mechanical contractors through the MCA/MSCA of Cleveland, Inc. In addition to a trophy, he received a $5,000 award.

“After teaching in the Akron Public Schools for 30 years, in 2005, Joe was approached by Kent State University to create a construction management program. In 2007, Joe founded the CM Major with just 15 students. In 2024, the program has a major, minor, over 30 courses, and 260 students.

2007 also brought the start of the MCAA Chapter at Kent State with the GreatFutures Forum being held just an hour away in Cleveland. Joe brought 13 students to the conference and in the Spring of 2008, Kent State’s MCAA Student Chapter was officially charted. 

The Kent State chapter and program would not be what it is today without Joe Karpinski. After 17 years at Kent State, and a fulfilling career of 47 years teaching, Joe will be retiring at the conclusion of the Spring 2024 semester. On behalf of all the Kent State student members, we can confidently say that Joe has had a tremendous impact on who we are as students, chapter members, and early professionals.

We will miss him dearly and are eternally grateful for the scholarships, internships, jobs, support, and opportunities he has provided for us. Joe has been more than just an advisor to us. His mentorship will never be taken for granted and we are grateful to have been cared for by Joe as if we were a part of his family. We thank Joe for all his efforts over the years and we hope he has a lasting and enjoyable retirement. He has absolutely made his mark on Kent State and all of his students’ lives.

– Morgan Fischer – Kent State University Student

Morgan goes on to describe Joe Karpinski’s approach to several areas:


Joe makes announcements and explains in every class for many weeks about joining the MCAA chapter and encourages participation in the competition. His reach to all the students is a tremendous help. With teaching the internship course, he also assists in bridging communications between the student chapter and getting those students involved with mechanical contractors.

Employment Opportunities

Joe works with the Student Organization Board to organize two career fairs each year, hosting over 70 companies, including many from the MCA/MSCA of Cleveland chapter. This event is heavily encouraged for students to attend, although since some companies and students don’t attend, Joe is able to utilize his connections to follow-up and connect students for internships and full-time positions. Students always know they can come to Joe if they are unable to secure an internship, and he’s had great success in making connections over the years. 


Joe could not be a better role model for the Kent State students. He is positive and an open-handed advisor, allowing his students to explore their ideas, but ready to help when needed. Joe has always only been a text, phone call, or email away and offers endless support for the chapter’s endeavors. Joe is always there to help tackle new ideas and the first in line to help obtain the resources needed by the chapter. 

Congratulations to Kent State’s Joe Karpinski on being awarded the 2023-2024 Educator of the Year! MCAA wishes you a happy and well-deserved retirement!