Category: Career Development

Recruit Top Talent & Apply for MCAA Internship Grants Today!

In keeping with its commitment to funding the mechanical contracting industry’s most critical human resource needs, the John R. Gentille Foundation (JRGF) underwrites many of the activities of the MCAA Career Development Initiative. Chief among these is an internship program that allows MCAA members to identify and evaluate potential full-time hires for their companies.  

Through a structured internship program, MCAA enables its members to recruit talented students, giving members a flexible, cost-effective labor force without a long-term commitment. And, because students who work for MCAA member companies tend to remain in the mechanical contracting industry, each one captured is another step toward ensuring the industry’s human resource needs are met.  

Each MCAA member company can submit up to two internship grant applications per year. Once an application is reviewed and accepted, MCAA will send a $500 Visa Gift Card to the member company so it can present the Gift Card to the student at the start of their internship. MCAA will follow-up with each company and intern to ensure the process and overall internship was successful.

Please read Building a Successful Internship Program before applying for an internship grant. 


Guess What? We’re Back! The 2021 GreatFutures Forum Will Be In-Person & In Scottsdale, Arizona!

We heard you. We know you’re eager to get together with other students and with contractors from around the country. And, honestly, we can’t wait to see you, too!

So, we thought, let’s not wait. Let’s all come together. And what better place than in conjunction with the highly anticipated, in-person MSCA21 Conference this October. Students and contractors can meet, inspire, hire, share ideas, and generally have a great time. 

Here’s where we’ll meet:

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
October 17-19, 2021

Here’s what you’ll get to do:

  • Meet with contractors at general sessions, receptions, and pretty much everywhere you go.
  • Get to know the industry and its people, and start forging relationships.
  • Let the industry know you and your talents at the GreatFutures Forum Job Fair.
  • Gain further insight and direction regarding this year’s Student Chapter Competition. (Don’t worry, the project will be announced virtually in September!)

As schools reopen, the country reconnects, and the mechanical contracting industry reunites, you can get the jump on building your great future.

It’ll be great to be together, at last! 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Megan Walsh.

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: The Endless Opportunities of Mechanical Contracting

As we wrap up our Beyond the Classroom series, we wanted to highlight the endless opportunities the mechanical contracting industry has to offer. Scott Hinton, Vice President of Harrell-Fish, Inc. and a member of MCAA’s Career Development Committee and MCAA’s Board of Directors, describes the unique nature of mechanical contracting saying, “People do not seem to get stuck in roles. They get more opportunity to advance and continue advancing throughout their careers.”

A part of advancing within this industry is in surrounding yourself with other professionals. Scott credits MCAA for helping him establish relationships with contractors across the country. These are people he can call with questions, share information and ideas with, and lean on for support. They’re the same type of people, who look forward to welcoming you into this industry and helping you grow.

Take advantage of all MCAA offerings, whether in-person or virtual. Sit next to a contractor at the next in-person MCAA event you attend or send a question directly to a contractor during the next virtual presentation you watch. In short: reach out and get involved! 

Scott, and other MCAA members are ready to help introduce you to the endless opportunities within the industry!

Sarah Galan Receives Ferguson-Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarship

Sarah Galan, a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology, 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.

Sarah landed a winter internship with EMCOR Services Northeast, where she assisted the sales engineers in conducting work on their projects, including estimating, takeoffs, bids, purchase orders, graphics, and controls. Sarah’s experience with EMCOR confirmed her interest in the mechanical contracting industry. “I love how I feel challenged every day. I am constantly learning something, and wake up every day excited to go to work. Everyone at EMCOR treats me as a valuable employee and trusts me with a large variety of responsibilities,” she said.

Acknowledging this field is extremely male dominated, which may intimidate many, Sarah uses it as motivation. Sarah shared, “I take it is a challenge. It challenges me as an individual to prove to myself and to those around me that I know what I am capable of achieving and I can be a valuable asset. I think it is incredible to see more and more women entering into professions such as this one and I hope that I can take this opportunity to inspire more women to enter this field. The notion that this is a job only for men is such a fleeting idea in people’s minds and I hope more women realize this and see that there is a place for them in this industry.”  

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

Kimberly Sikkema Receives Ferguson-Women in the Mechanical Industry Scholarship

Kimberly Sikkema, a junior at Ferris 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.

Kimberly, who is earning her degree in HVAC/R, is the President of her student chapter, and will continue as the President throughout 2021. She has found herself on the dean’s list every semester and has maintained an impressive 3.95 GPA. Upon graduation, Kimberly looks forward to pursuing her career that she has worked so hard for, stating, “I look forward to seeing the wide variety of opportunities that are out there in the world for myself, as a woman in the HVAC/R industry. I look forward to making connections and networking with people from all around the world in the mechanical industry. Most of all, I look forward to expanding my knowledge by facing new obstacles every day, receiving more hands-on learning out in the field, as well as learning more from experienced, skilled veterans.”

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

Dr. Sherif Attallah Named MCAA’s 2020 Educator of the Year

The student chapter at Ball State University proudly nominated Dr. Sherif Attallah to be MCAA’s 2020 Educator of the Year because they believed he is more than qualified and deserving of this prestigious award, and MCAA’s Career Development Committee agreed. Here’s why.

Chapter Participation

Dr. Attallah played a crucial role in planning and participating in Ball State’s first annual Top Golf event. Dr. Attallah attends most of their chapter meetings, at which he always helps members with challenges they may be facing with their role in the competition. Dr. Attallah still holds several field trips for his various classes and the student chapter, often organizing and leading these numerous educational field trips himself.


Dr. Attallah’s connections within the industry help his students communicate with industry professionals who are willing to speak to their chapter. Whenever his students have a question about something that he does not know, Dr. Attallah puts them in contact with someone who does. When planning for their fundraiser, he was a significant contributor when trying to find participants; he used his network to reach out and get several participants involved. He did a phenomenal job with this being the chapter’s first annual Top Golf event, which they now plan to continue annually. In his teachings of the mechanical class at Ball State, Dr. Attallah has brought in several contractors that teach the class and sit with the team after talking to them about the mechanical industry.


Dr. Attallah is the professor for several introductory classes for the Ball State program. With this connection, he plays a crucial role in recruiting younger members for the chapter. Dr. Attallah also implements new and useful recruiting ideas, along with suggesting new members. Every year Dr. Attallah helps his student chapter come up with new activities for their chapter’s first call-out meeting for the school year. In the past, this event has been the deciding factor when recruiting new members to join their chapter and learn more about the mechanical contracting industry.

Student Internships

Dr. Attallah has helped several of the team members get in touch with industry professionals, which in turn leads to internships as well as full-time employment. The members have greatly benefited from his involvement with the mechanical internship program. With his teaching of the mechanical class, he gets to help students that are not in the chapter by letting them hear from the industry professionals that he brings in about internships and joining their chapter.


Last year two Ball State University student chapter members found full-time careers in the industry, one with North Mechanical and one with Bowen Engineering. He continues to lead his students towards the mechanical field every year.

Faculty Internships

Dr. Attallah has worked with HMH Contractors and, most recently, Kiewit during the summers. With HMH, he worked as an estimating engineer during the summer. In addition to helping HMH during a particularly busy time, he gained industry experience to bring back to the chapter and the mechanical class. During his time with Kiewit, he was a faculty scholar for their company and was a massive help over the summer.

Thank you for serving as an advisor, educator, and mentor to students, Dr. Attallah!

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: Participation–The Key to Growth

Adam Crnkovich is currently a Project Manager at the Ray Martin Company and a previous member of the University of Nebraska- Lincoln student chapter. As a student, Adam really enjoyed participating in MCAA’s Student Chapter Competition as it gave him incredible exposure to technical aspects that contractors work on, as well as played a huge role in his understanding of the industry as a whole. 

Additionally, during his time in his student chapter, Adam actively attended MCAA GreatFutures Forums and MCAA Annual Conventions which he says not only helped him continue to learn about the industry and network, but ultimately helped him grow further into his field and as a person. Adam shared participating in these opportunities “gave me a lot more experience that not only understand if this is something I wanted to pursue, but also how I could be better in the industry and grow as a person and career in general.

Adam loves that the mechanical contracting industry is not only about building things, but building people and relationships, something he has personally benefited from.

Meet the Final Four Teams in MCAA’s 2020-2021 Student Chapter Competition

MCAA is so excited that our Virtual Education Conference (VEC)Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, is almost here! Next week starts off with MCAA’s Annual Student Chapter Competition on Monday, March 22nd from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET and you will not want to miss it. Get to know the final four teams before the big competition!

Fairleigh Dickinson University

MCAA’s student chapter at Fairleigh Dickinson University was chartered in 2003. Wonjae Choi, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the current faculty advisor.

The FDU chapter has entered the MCAA Student Chapter Competition every year since 2004. They competed in the Final Four at the 2018 MCAA Convention in San Antonio. In 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019, the chapter placed in the top 10 and received a Certificate of Merit recognizing their achievement.  

The chapter received Emerging Chapter grants in 2004 and 2007. They also received a Chapter of Excellence Grant in 2005, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Meet Fairleigh Dickinson’s competition team: 
(The competition team consisted of all Mechanical Engineering majors)
Francis Castro, Class of 2021
Keion Oglesby, Class of 2021
Andrew Sayad, Class of 2022
Natalie Stanton, Class of 2021
Alejandro Zapata, Class of 2021

Kansas State University 

Kansas State University’s chapter received its charter at the 2010 Convention in San Francisco. The chapter’s current faculty advisors are Paul Karr and Jongchul Song. KSU has consistently participated in the student competition since 2011. Chapter members have attended all of the MCAA Conventions and Student Chapter Summits and GreatFutures Forums since it was chartered. 

The chapter received an Emerging Chapter Grant in 2011, 2014 and again in 2019. They received a Chapter of Excellence Grant in 2018 and 2020.

Meet Kansas State University’s competition team: 
Annie Burnam, Construction Science and Management, Class of 2021
Collin Champagne, Construction Science and Management, Class of 2022
Carlos Espino, Architectural Engineering, Class of 2024
Kayla Huffman, Architectural Engineering, Class of 2022
Trevor Waggoner, Architectural Engineering , Class of 2022
Peyton Winter, Construction Science and Management, Class of 2024

Missouri State University

Missouri State’s student chapter was charted in the Spring of 2017 and the chapter has been incredibly involved in MCAA’s Career Development Initiative, attending every GreatFutures Forum and Convention since. Jacob Nelson is the current faculty advisor. 

Meet Missouri State University’s competition team: 
(The competition team consisted of all Construction Management majors)
Nathan Bextermueller, Class of 2022
Cole Eiler, Class of 2021
Tanner Hartman, Class of 2021
Cabriah Hillman, Class of December 2021
Keagan Hosman, Class of 2022
Ryan Sweeny, Class of 2023

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Campus

MCAA’s student chapter at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Campus was chartered in 2007. The chapter has consistently participated in MCAA events, and their local MCA of Metro Washington hosted MCAA’s last GreatFutures Forum in Washington, D.C. in 2019. 

Most recently, their student chapter was awarded an Emerging Chapter Grant in 2020. 

Georg Reichard, PhD, PE has been the faculty advisor of this student chapter from the start and still stands as the faculty advisor today. 

Meet the Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus competition team: 
(The competition team consisted of all Building Construction majors)
Ke’Aja (KJ) Jefferson, Class of 2021
Andrew Nguyen, Class of 2021
Justin Zeigmont, Class of December 2021

MCAA and the John R. Gentille Foundation (JRGF) congratulate all of the finalists and recognize their commitment and dedication to this year’s project. 

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: Showing Interest in the Industry

Ted McHugh left college with an education geared more towards a career in general contracting, with limited knowledge of the mechanical industry. However, he applied for a job at West Chester Mechanical Contractors, Inc. and quickly gained experience in various roles within the company.

Ted shares insight into the time and interest he put into researching the company and emphasizes that this is an important part of their hiring process, “When we’re hiring, we’re looking for somebody who’s interested in the company, interested in our industry and knows a little bit about it. Come into an interview and ask questions.”

A current MCAA Career Development committee member, Ted talks with passion when describing the variety of opportunities the mechanical industry offers to meet individual interests, and he is a great example of what you can achieve if you develop an interest and passion for the industry.

Find Talent for Your Company’s Future Growth with the MCAA GreatFutures Jobs Board

MCAA members looking for talented young people to ensure their companies’ future competitiveness can get a helping hand from the MCAA’s GreatFutures Job Board. Visit the board and login with your password to post your company’s internship and job opportunities. While you’re there, be sure to browse the student resumes to connect with potential matches. If you have any questions, please reach out to Megan Walsh.

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: Taking The First Step Into the Unknown

A Notre Dame graduate in Mechanical Engineering, Anne Finerfrock was unsure which direction she wanted to take her career in. She knew she did not want to sit behind a desk but had no answers to an important question: is that a viable career option? Fortunately, Anne spent time at a career fair and began a conversation with a mechanical contracting company. Investing her time to seek out answers resulted in an internship at this company and her first step into the industry.

Anne speaks highly of the endless opportunities provided to individuals in a similar position, “The advantage of working for a mechanical contractor versus a large GC is that you really get involved in all aspects of the project.” Now a Project Manager at W.E. Bowers, Anne credits the MCAA GreatFutures program for providing opportunities to explore career options and internship possibilities that offer 8 to 10 weeks of first-hand experience.

The Results Are In From the First Round of MCAA’s 2020-2021 Student Chapter Competition. Congratulations to Our Final Four Teams!

MCAA’s Career Development Committee would like to thank all 19 student chapters that participated in MCAA’s 2020-2021 Student Chapter Competition. MCAA congratulates the four chapter finalists: Farleigh Dickinson University, Kansas State University, Missouri State University, and Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

MCAA’s 2020-2021 Student Chapter Competition project required student chapters to act as the prime contractor on the renovation project to the historic University of Pennsylvania Museum. The Career Development Committee extends its sincere appreciation to MCAA Past President, Mark Rogers, and MCAA Career Development Committee member, Ted McHugh, both of West Chester Mechanical Contractors, Inc. for arranging the use of this project and providing the information and accompanying technical drawings.

This year’s project was challenging in itself and many student chapters had the additional unforeseen challenge of having to work and collaborate on their proposal from afar, with strict COVID-19 restrictions in place limiting team gatherings. Thank you to all MCAA student chapters who worked extra hard to submit a bid this year: 

  1. Ball State University 
  2. Binghamton University 
  3. California State Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo 
  4. California State University Chico 
  5. California State University East Bay 
  6. Illinois State University 
  7. Kent State University 
  8. McMaster University 
  9. Oregon State University 
  10. Pittsburgh State University 
  11. Purdue University 
  12. University of Maryland College Park 
  13. University of Missouri Columbia 
  14. University of Nebraska 
  15. University of Southern California

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: Following Your Interests to First-Hand Experience

Colten Lovejoy’s interest in the mechanical construction industry may have stemmed from watching his father work in the industry for 25 years, but he was quick to create his own experiences. Colten knew he wanted to immediately start working in the field. As a student, he interned with MMC Contractors in Kansas City, MO for two summers as a pre-apprentice alongside journeymen, laborers, and foremen and really enjoyed seeing and understanding how and why complicated systems work the way they do, first-hand. 

Colten graduated from Pittsburgh State University in May and is now a full-time employee at MMC Contractors. He credits not only his dad, but his Pittsburg State University Faculty Advisor, Shannon Nicklaus for helping him continue his education and career in the industry. Through Colten’s involvement in his MCAA student chapter, he has gained a life-long mentor, as well as a network of industry peers. Even if later in life he has a question or is looking to problem solve, he knows he can call anyone he has met through this program to work through it together.

Don’t Forget to Keep Your Resume Updated on MCAA’s GreatFutures Job Board

Looking for an internship or full time employment opportunity?

Make sure your resume is up to date on MCAA’s GreatFutures Job Board. Hiring MCAA members are able to browse all resumes and contact you directly if they think you’re the perfect candidate! There are currently two internship opportunities available and two full time opportunities available on the job board.  If you have any questions, please reach out to Megan Walsh.

Congratulations to MCAA’s Emerging Student Chapter & Chapter of Excellence Grant Recipients

On behalf of the John R. Gentille Foundation and MCAA’s Career Development Committee, we are pleased to announce the following Student Chapters received a 2020 Emerging Chapter Grant: Bowling Green State University, Cypress College, Northern Kentucky University, and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Campus.

The Emerging Chapter Grant was created to assist new chapters in becoming more established or struggling chapters in overcoming a challenge or obstacle. The financial assistance this grant money provides has helped chapters build stronger and better programs that attract and interest more students.

The John R. Gentille Foundation and MCAA’s Career Development Committee are also pleased to share the following Student Chapters received a 2020 Chapter of Excellence Grant: Ball State University, California State University, Chico, California State University, East Bay, Fairleigh-Dickinson University, Ferris State, Kansas State University, Kent State University, Purdue University, the University of Maryland, the University of Missouri- Columbia, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

This Chapter of Excellence award recognizes student chapters for their extraordinary performance and accomplishments during the prior year, as well as encourage their continued growth and development.

Congratulations to all recipients and many thanks for your continued interest and participation in MCAA’s Student Chapter program.

Beyond the Classroom Video Series: The Benefit of Connecting with Industry Professionals

University of Missouri-Columbia mechanical engineering major Kylie Nedelka first learned about the MCAA GreatFutures program after hearing the association president speak to her class a few years ago. It was here Kylie realized the many benefits of being involved with the program.

“Networking is by far the best thing you can do in your career,” Kylie said while stressing the importance of building a professional network. Using her networking skills, she has landed two internships with SIEMENS, a member of the MCAA Manufacturer/Supplier Council. Kylie landed her first internship opportunity at the 2018 GreatFutures Forum while riding on a bus to Disneyland, where she shared a seat and struck up a conversation with Kristin Junia, Program Manager at SIEMENS. The following day, Kylie made sure to stop by the SIEMENS booth at the forum’s career fair. This is where she could talk more in-depth with Kristin about her education and internship interests and was offered an internship on the spot.

We hope Kylie’s story inspires other students to put themselves out there and not be afraid to talk to and connect with people within the industry, as you never know where it will lead!

You can read more of Kylie’s story here.

Kori Gormley-Huppert Featured in Maker Month Profile

Kori Gormley-Huppert, president of MCAA member Gormley Plumbing + Mechanical and chair of MCAA’s Women in the Mechanical Industry Steering Committee, is among those profiled as part of Stanley Black & Decker’s Maker Month Campaign. The campaign is designed to empower makers and tradespeople around the world. Stanley Black & Decker is the parent company of DEWALT and LENOX, both MCAA members.

In the interview-style profile, Kori talks about her company, her career and the mechanical industry. She also offers advice to those who are just getting started thanks to perspective gained from her own experience and her work on MCAA’s Career Development Committee.

In addition to profiles spotlighting a diverse range of makers and creators from tradespeople and engineers to philanthropists and innovators throughout the industry, the campaign shines a light on the trade skills gap, which is one of the biggest issues facing the workforce today.

“To help solve for the vast skills gap today, an issue made worse by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, businesses need to showcase and celebrate the wide variety of opportunities people can pursue across the skilled trades,” said Jim Loree, President & CEO of Stanley Black & Decker. He added “Maker Month is our contribution to this effort, helping to highlight the vast potential these careers offer.”

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.