CalPoly San Luis Obispo Won the Student Chapter Competition, Plus Students & Educators Were Recognized at MCAA24

April 1, 2024

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo emerged as the victors in the Student Chapter Competition and returned to campus with a $10,000 prize following their Final Four presentation at MCAA24. The University of Maryland, College Park was selected as the 2023-2024 Student Chapter of the Year and Joe Karpinski, faculty advisor for Kent State University, was recognized as the Educator of the Year. Individual students were recognized with a variety of scholarships and for the first time, the combination of awards and grants distributed at an MCAA Convention totaled over $100,000! 

Congratulations to the following students, faculty members and student chapters!

Brian Helm, President of the John R. Gentille Foundation (JRGF), announced the recipients of the following scholarships at the Awards of Excellence Breakfast at MCAA24.  He noted that the students receiving scholarships were selected for their academic performance, leadership skills within their chapter, and interest in developing a career in the mechanical industry.

ATP Inspiring Future Leaders Scholarship
Adam Kuschewski of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is the recipient of a $2,500 scholarship provided by ATP Learning Solutions.  The scholarship was established to recognize, support and inspire students in the mechanical industry.

Robert J. Durr, Sr. – UA/NCPWB Partnering Scholarship
Kavan Limbasiya of Pittsburg State University received a $2,500 scholarship check in honor of Robert J. Durr, Sr., former chairman of the National Certified Pipe Wilding Bureau (NCPWB) Board of Trustees.  Robert’s effort and dedication in creating a partnership between the United Association and the NCPWB resulted in the formation of the Joint Welder Testing Program.  The scholarship is in its second year and is sponsored by the NCPWB.

Ann Mattheis Memorial Scholarship
Tabitha Watson of Pittsburg State University was awarded a $2,500 scholarship in memory of former MCAA Director of Career Development, Ann Mattheis.  Ann’s dedication and contributions to building the GreatFutures program left an enduring legacy for multiple decades of students and for the overall members of MCAA. 

Alan P. O’Shea Memorial Scholarship
Carter Bennett from Ferris State University and Irvin Quintana from the University of Nebraska each received a $2,500 scholarship check in memory of Alan P. O’Shea.  The scholarship is sponsored by the MCA of New Jersey.

Robert T. Armistead Memorial Scholarship
Daniel Kellen of Iowa State University and Yulien Liz of Fairleigh Dickinson University each received a $5,000 scholarship in memory of Robert “Bob” Armistead.  In honor of Bob’s service as MCAA President, the selected winners are required to have served as their local student student chapter President.  These new scholarships were established by Armistead Mechanical, Inc. and the family of Robert T. Armistead.

William A. Bianco, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Lauryn Gilgallon of Ferris State University received a $5,000 scholarship check in memory of a former President of the foundation and MCAA Distinguished Service Award (DSA) recipient, William A. “Bill” Bianco, Jr.  The scholarship is sponsored by Kinetics.

The Bolton Family Scholarship
Drew Figura from the University of Nebraska was awarded a $5,000 scholarship to honor the significant contributions the Boltons have provided to the construction industry.  This new scholarship honors the family’s dedicated volunteer work within the communities they serve 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 improvement 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.

Donald V. Brown Memorial Scholarship
Shelby Gustafson from California State University Chico is the first recipient of a new $5,000 scholarship sponsored by D.V. Brown and Associates, Inc., in memory of its founder, Donald V. Brown, Senior. D.V. Brown & Associates, Inc. is a charter member of the MCAA.

DEWALT Patriot Scholarship
The DEWALT Patriot Scholarship, now in its third year, was created to recognize two veterans of the United States military who have valiantly served their country and have chosen to enter a career related to mechanical contracting.  Thank you to DEWALT for honoring our military and to our scholarship recipients for their service.  Jaden Doebelin of Iowa State University (Iowa Army National Guard – Sergeant E-5 Military Occupational Special, Indirect Infantryman 11C) and Jeff Woodard of the University of Nebraska (United States Navy Hospital Corpsman Third Class – Fleet Marine Force Enlisted Warfare Specialist at 2nd Marine Division) each received a $5,000 scholarship.   

FERGUSON – Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarship
Gina Carnovale of Kent State University and Kyla Magee of the University of Nebraska each received a $5,000 scholarship, sponsored by Ferguson, to recognize high-achieving female students working towards a degree relative to the mechanical industry.  The two students will also be invited to attend the WiMI Conference in Cleveland, OH this June.

Foster McCarl, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Brady Thompson from the University of Nebraska received a $5,000 scholarship check in memory of the founder of our foundation, Foster McCarl, Jr.   McCarl’s Inc. is the scholarship sponsor.

Reilly Family Memorial Scholarship
Aidan Wolownik of Pittsburg State University received a scholarship check for $5,000 in honor of Wayne, Emmett and Patrick Reilly.  The John W. Danforth Company sponsors the scholarship.

Trimble Future Estimator Scholarship
Daniel DeSoto of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo received a $5,000 scholarship check that recognizes his interest in a career as an estimator within the mechanical contracting industry.  Trimble is the sponsor of the scholarship and has donated complimentary use of the Trimble Estimation MEP software for our Student Chapter Competition teams for the past few years.

Viega Scholarship
Griffin Souder of Pittsburg State University was the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by Viega.  Viega has graciously sponsored student chapter activities at the MCAA Convention for many years.  The Viega scholarship is now in its 2nd year.

Thomas J. Wanner Scholarship
Madison Deck of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville received a $5,000 scholarship check in honor of retired MCA/MSCA of Cleveland Executive Director, Thomas J. Wanner.  This scholarship is in its third year and is sponsored by MCA/MSCA of Cleveland.

Joe Karpinski, faculty advisor for the Kent State University student chapter, was recognized as the 2023-2024 Educator of the Year.  He was selected for this honor 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.

The University of Maryland, College Park was selected as the 2023-2024 Student Chapter of the Year.  Their faculty advisor is Fitzgerald Walker and the chapter is sponsored by the MCA of Metropolitan Washington, Inc. The Career Development Committee chose the winner based on a rubric that evaluates industry-specific educational opportunities, fundraising and community service efforts, recruitment tactics, and most importantly, mechanical contracting interest and the ways in which the chapter assists in connecting students with MCAA members either locally or nationally.  The University of Maryland, College Park received a trophy and a $3,000 award. 

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo won the top prize of $10,000 and a trophy for their outstanding work on this year’s Student Chapter Competition project, which 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.

MCAA thanks MMC Contractors National, Inc. for supplying the project and our project partners at Procore, Trimble and Ferguson for supplying real-life learning resources to the student participants.

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

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

Six additional teams that just missed the final four 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

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 via a polling link between Final Four presentations 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 (Pre-IPM), and the title of 2023-2024 Most Valuable Presenter. 

Congratulations to all MCAA24 award winners and scholarship recipients!

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