2022-2023 Student Chapter of the Year Winner – University of Nebraska

April 11, 2023
Pictured: Andrew Palcan (Career Development Committee Chair), Noor Salat, Cooper Simmons, Brodee Paul, Marissa Kelly, Emilee Corbin, Kyla Magee, Irvin Quintana, Matt Nanfito, Brock Schulz, Alexis Brown (MCA-Omaha Associate Executive), Kelsey Johnson (MCA-Omaha Executive VP), and Robert Bolton (MCAA President)

At the MCAA23 Awards of Excellence Breakfast on March 29th, The University of Nebraska was awarded the 2022-2023 MCAA Student Chapter of the Year for their continued achievement and overall focus on offering career opportunities in mechanical contracting to their student membership. 

Sponsoring Local Affiliate: MCA-Omaha
            • Kelsey Johnson – Executive Vice President
            • Alexis Brown – Associate Executive

Faculty Advisor: 
            • Vish Redi – University of Nebraska

Career Development

This past year the chapter participated in 18 local events with the MCA-Omaha membership, including a joint economic breakfast, administrative professionals day deliveries, the Annual Fall Outing, and a tour of the Steamfitters & Plumbers LU 464 that was followed by a social hour.   

MCA-Omaha works closely with their student chapter to put on Internship Day each year, which is a career fair exclusively for MCAA Members and offers a different take on the process from a traditional career fair at a university.  The students sign up for a 20-minute timeslot and submit their resumes in advance.  Meanwhile, MCA-Omaha gathers members interested in securing an intern for the summer (or school year).  All members sit around the board table at the same time and students enter one by one for an interview.  Following the interviews, students are selected, draft-style, by members.   Students who participate are almost always given an internship offer and the process is a tremendous resource for students to practice interview skills and gain job experience, as well as for the contractor members who walk away with an intern after only an hour or two of interviews. 

Each student in the chapter is also paired with a one-on-one industry mentor each year.  These mentors come from a wide variety of areas in the industry such as project management, estimating, scheduling, VDC, sales, etc.  The chapter does it’s best to match students up with mentors in their area of interest so they can dive deeper into that interest and ask questions to professionals who have first-hand knowledge.  Each mentor is expected to take their assigned student on a job site tour, shop or office tour, lunch or coffee, and to attend an MCA-Omaha event together.

Student members also participated in a variety of local WiMI events with chapter members during 2022 such as the Out of the Darkness Walk and WiMI Omaha Book Club.  Students also attended MCAA’s WiMI Conference in Austin.

Recruitment

The Nebraska chapter does a heavy push on recruitment in the first few weeks of classes each fall to ensure they can jump in and get involved right away.  During the summer months, the recruitment committee (which is comprised of both students and contractors) starts coordinating class visits for the fall semester with professors.  During classroom visits, current members give 2-minute presentations about the local MCA chapter, as well as highlight upcoming national MCAA events and conferences. 

In addition to classroom visits, they participate in involvement fairs during the first few weeks of school in the fall.  During the fairs, students set up a booth and talk to potential members to explain MCAA and all the benefits it could have for them.  Currently, the chapter has 27 active members. 

Community Service

Every year the students volunteer as judges for the local NAWIC Block Kids competition.  Students make their way through the rows of young builders and ask them about their designs and why they built what they did.  Judges provide a scoring for the kids and the top builder in each age group gets a prize. 

Chapter members also participate in Heat’s On Omaha and Heat’s On Lincoln with the Steamfitters and Plumbers Local 464.  Students are paired up with a journeyman and apprentices and visit two to three houses on a Saturday morning to help check the furnaces of those in the lower-income division before cold winter weather arrives.  Students get to talk to those they are serving, as well as learn about residential service. 

Student Chapter Fundraising

The Nebraska chapter hosts two fundraisers every year: wine tasting and beer tasting.  These events are organized by students and put on for the local MCAA members as social events.  Students participate in committee meetings to select food, wine/beer and themes.  During the events, students are assigned to a table to serve as their host and network with the members while beverage samples are served.  Students also secure raffle prizes and sell tickets during the events. 

The chapter is also invited to participate in the MCA-Omaha Golf Outing by selling raffle tickets for various prizes.  The Nebraska chapter is self-sufficient through these fundraising efforts and totaled over $20,000 in 2022, which was primarily utilized to send students to the MCAA GreatFutures Forum in Boston, MCAA Annual Convention in San Diego, and the WiMI Conference in Austin. 

Site Visits

Nebraska students do their site visits each year with their mentors.  Each mentor is required to bring their student to their office and introduce them to others in their company, as well as take them to one of their job sites.  The students will all get to see different job sites and gain a deeper understanding of the work their mentor and other MCAA members do.  Oftentimes, mentors/students team up in groups for tours so the pairings get to see multiple offices / sites throughout the year.   

Internships & Employment with Mechanical Contractors

In 2022 (January – December), ten students interned with MCAA Companies:
• Kade Beguin – Southland Industries
• Luke Bennett – MMC Contractors
• Logan Jaixen – Control Services Inc.
• Kyla Magee – Ray Martin Company
• Logan Mueller – The Waldinger Corporation
• Matt Nanfito – The Waldinger Corporation
• Brodee Paul – The Waldinger Corporation
• Brock Schulz – MMC Contractors
• Cooper Simmons – Mainelli Mechanical Contractors
• Ilya Unguran – Ray Martin Company

“Students who are active in our student chapter are highly involved and take on all possible opportunities to network with our local contractors and learn more about their future careers.  All of the local MCA-Omaha events are open to our student chapter and many students take advantage of this opportunity whenever possible to grow their knowledge.  We have a large number of our current members working for local MCA-Omaha contractors whom they connected with through the student chapter.  The students understand the opportunities given to them through the MCA-Omaha chapter and desire to give just as much back by learning about the industry, showing interest, and volunteering at local chapter events.”
– Kelly Arnold, 2022 Student Chapter President

Congratulations to The University of Nebraska on this well-deserved recognition!

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