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Technical Career Interest Flourishes at Ranken Shadow-a-Tech Days and Open Houses

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Ranken Technical College is having an exceptionally busy spring as prospective students become increasingly aware of Ranken’s resources and the growing construction career opportunities for those with technical skills.

On March 20, Ranken attracted more than 70 registrants to its most recent Shadow-a-Tech Day, where prospective students spent a morning learning and working alongside current Ranken students and instructors.

Ranken is hosting additional “Shadow Days” in St. Louis on April 17 and July 10, and open houses at all three Ranken campuses (St. Louis on March 23, Perryville on March 30 and Wentzville on April 6).

Ranken, considered one of the best technical colleges in the Midwest, provides a comprehensive education and training necessary to prepare students for employment and advancement in a variety of construction fields, including architecture, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, plumbing and welding.

Roofing Branch Managers Provide Answers to Facility Manager’s Top Roofing Questions

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Maintaining the roof on any building or facility can be an arduous task for any building owner or property manager. The roof, often the first line of defense against the elements, is an important structure that must be carefully monitored and maintained to protect the overall integrity of the building. Leaks in roofs are often difficult to track down and can lead to damage to interior finishes, unhappy tenants and costly repairs.

Western Specialty Contractors’ three roofing branch managers recently sat down to discuss the roofing issues that facility managers are most concerned about and the questions they are asking and should be asking when it comes to maintaining their roofs.

What Roofing Questions Do People Ask You the Most Often?

Keegan Tune (KT), Kansas City Roofing Branch Manager – How much is it going to cost to fix my roof? How much life do I have left in my roof? What’s the best kind of roof?

Jack Schneider (JS), St. Louis Roofing Branch Manager – What is the most economical option to stop my roof from leaking? What roofing system do you recommend?How much life does my roof still have?

Michael Boyle (MB), Peoria Roofing Branch Manager – How cheap can I fix the problem?

What Roofing Question Should People Ask You, But Don’t? 

KT – What roof has the best life-cycle cost? What is the best roof for my building?

JS – What type of roof can be installed within my budget? Can we set up a maintenance service contract? Can you provide budget pricing on other roofs in our facility?

MB – Should I replace the roof now or do I have any life left in it? What are the “BEST” roofing options you would recommend for my facility?

What is Your Best Roofing Advice for a Property Manager/Owner?

KT – Know the condition of your roofs. Inspect and maintain them often — budget for repairs and replacements.

JS – To have a reputable contractor install a roofing system that they are certified to install, in turn providing a manufacturer’s warranty and a contractor workmanship warranty. To make sure they receive the manufacturer’s warranty and operations and maintenance manual from the roofing contractor. Make sure they receive the roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty at the end of a project (when it’s offered). Let a roofing contractor educate maintenance techs on proper roofing maintenance after a new roof is installed to maintain its warranty after the contractor workmanship warranty has expired. This can be done as a lunch and learn.

MB – We should talk about what the intended use is for the building and is it a long-term investment for them or is it being repaired for sale?

What are the Most Important Things That Your Prospects Should Know Before Buying?

KT – Contractor and manufacturer credentials and a defined scope of work.

JS – The contractor’s reputation. If they are bonded. If they are insured. The contractor is installing what is being asked for (i.e. detailed proposals, pictures, etc.). They do not need payment up front. (i.e. before purchasing material or even starting the roof). Financially stable.

MB – Who/what type of company they are contracting with. What kind of warranty will they be receiving – a contractor or manufacturer NDL warranty? Is there a detailed scope of work? Are all conditions covered for a complete roofing system?

What are the Three Most Critical Elements of an Effective Roof Maintenance Program?

KT – Qualified inspectors/contractors, consistency and cost.

JS – A certified contractor of the roofing system is making the repairs. A timely schedule for roof cleaning is decided on (cleaning moss, branches, leaves, etc. off the roof, out of drains). Reports are made each time the contractor is on the roof for scheduled cleaning/repairs. Documentation benefits the owner and the contractor.

MB –   A quality local company. Only certified applicators on warranted roofs.  Maintenance inspections regularly.

Have There Been Any “Critical Developments” in the Roofing Industry That Your Customers Should be Aware of?

KT – Roof coatings have increased significantly but are not suitable for every roof and certainly not in every situation. Coatings have also made it possible for some less qualified contractors to tackle projects that they don’t have the expertise to perform. R-value requirements are continually increasing so being aware of local codes, and compliance needs are key.

JS – Recent changes in the energy code laws, some states have adopted, others haven’t (i.e., R-30 insulation code above roof deck). Carlisle Syntec Systems has introduced the “Velcro” roofing system. No adhesives to bond membrane to insulation. Carlisle Syntec Systems has approved the material Cav Grip III to install EPDM membrane in the field and flash onto walls.

MB – Roof coatings over existing roofing with long-term NDL warranties are becoming more prevalent. New products are out that minimize or stop any odors from entering the building through air intakes and openings. In some cases, “R” values can be increased without raising units and mechanical equipment by using a new insulation material.

For more information about Western Specialty Contractors’ roofing services, visit

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit      

Sorella Group Receives American Subcontractors Association Certificate of Excellence in Ethics

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American Subcontractors Association, Inc. Recognizes Sorella Group Specialty Contractor with Certificate of Excellence in Ethics Lenexa, Kansas., March 12, 2019 – Sorella Group, a National Commercial Contractor, was one of 14 construction subcontracting firms to earn the American Subcontractors Association’s Certificate of Excellence in Ethics.

The awards were presented on March 8 during a ceremony in Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with ASA’s annual national convention, SUBExcel 2019, the premier education and networking event for subcontractors, specialty trade contractors, and suppliers in the construction industry.

The ASA Certificate of Excellence in Ethics is presented to subcontractors, specialty trade contractors, and suppliers in recognition of their commitment to ASA values like quality construction and a safe and healthy work environment. ASA honored selected firms that demonstrated the highest standards of internal and external integrity during an awards ceremony. Sorella Group is a certified WBE National Contractor and Building Material Supplier.

The company focuses on commercial carpentry and Division 10 specialty installation and products. For more information, visit or call 913-390-9544. ASA promotes the rights and interests of subcontractors, specialty contractors and suppliers by building strength in community through education, advocacy, networking and professional growth. ASA adheres to and promotes quality construction, ethical and equitable business practices, safety in the work environment, and best industry practices.

For more information about ASA, visit


Regional Leaders Celebrate Successful Debut of Metro Landing Of Swansea

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Recently completed $11 million development adjacent to MetroLink is on track to be fully occupied by end of March, providing transportation options and independence for resident seniors

Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA) and Bywater Development Group joined with Bi-State Development and other key stakeholders and guests for the official ribbon cutting celebrating the grand opening of Metro Landing of Swansea. The $11 million, transit-oriented development (TOD) introduces senior apartment living adjacent to the Swansea MetroLink Station in Swansea, Ill., and has opened to strong demand. More than 40 of the 62 affordable one- and two-bedroom units have already been leased, and the property is on track to be full occupied before the end of March.

Located next to the Swansea MetroLink Station, the handsome, three-story Metro Landing of Swansea caters to adults seeking an independent lifestyle at an affordable cost. Residents will have car-free transportation options via MetroLink and MetroBus to conveniently access restaurants, retail, entertainment venues, recreational locations, employment centers, and medical facilities throughout the bi-state region. The Swansea Station is also located on the popular MetroBikeLink trail, so residents have the added bonus of being able to utilize the trail for exercise and recreation.

SWIDA and Bywater, which jointly developed the project, secured the majority of the financing from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), with additional construction financing provided by PNC Bank. Additional support came from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Ameren, along with the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department. The Federal Transit Administration also played a pivotal role in the project, providing the necessary approval for Bi-State Development to sell the ground at the transit center to the developers for this project.

Speaking at the ribbon cutting, SWIDA Chairman James Nations commented, “This project exemplifies how public-private partnerships, coupled with broad community support, can yield significant community benefit.  And, with the same focus on collaboration that made this development possible, SWIDA is committed to delivering similar projects, and their associated benefits, to other communities throughout our region.”

“This project is a perfect example of how we can work together to deliver smart transit-oriented development to the region,” said Taulby Roach, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development. “We are ready to do more, and we are always looking for partners on that next development. Let’s continue to work together on projects like Metro Landing of Swansea, and find those new opportunities that can make a difference for the community, for the economy and for transit riders.”

Mike Lundy, Executive Director of SWIDA, said, “I couldn’t agree more that collaboration has been at the core of this project, and a driver of its success. We have all worked extremely hard to deliver a terrific development for the Village of Swansea, and we are thrilled to be opening to such strong demand.”

Swansea Mayor Mike Leopold also spoke at the event, highlighting the broader impact he expects the project to have. “While the facility has only recently been completed, it has already done exactly what we hoped it would do – serving as a catalyst for further development around this MetroLink station.  We are currently in talks with other developers who are exploring opportunities in this area because they see the success of this project.”

“Metro Landing is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through strong partnerships.  The result is a development that provides a very high-quality living environment for its residents, directly connects with Metro’s transit assets, stands to play a role in growing the region’s transit system, and is poised to be a catalyst for continued TOD efforts at the Swansea and other Metro Stations” said Aaron Burnett, President of Bywater Development Group.  “We extend our thanks to all the development partners, financial supporters and the extremely talented development team who have worked with vision and dedication to make this a reality.”

“Transit-oriented development drives economic growth. Since 2011, we’ve seen more than $8.3 billion in commercial development completed, under construction or reasonably committed within a half-mile of our 38 MetroLink stations,” said John Langa, Vice President of Economic Development at Bi-State Development. “For the community, projects like Metro Landing of Swansea are an investment in the local economy.”

Adding to the cause for celebration at Monday’s ribbon cutting was the recent news that Metro Landing of Swansea captured the 2019 Wyvetter H. Younge Award recognizing champions in affordable housing. The award was presented in late February at the 2019 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Affordable Housing, co-hosted by the Illinois Housing Council and IHDA. The Wyvetter H. Younge Award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding affordable housing developments or initiatives in a metropolitan area outside of metropolitan Chicago.  Metro Landing of Swansea received the top score in that category, which seeks to honor developments and initiatives that improve quality of life for residents and the health of the overall community.

Working through a robust partnership, SWIDA and Bywater Development Group aim to build on the success of Metro Landing of Swansea and continue to contribute to the region’s active senior housing choices with three new communities that would also be developed in partnership. In Belleville, this partnership is actively leading the soon coming redevelopment the Historic Hotel Belleville/Meredith Home into the Lofts on the Square and, in Highland, these parties are working through predevelopment activities on a new 48-unit affordable senior housing development – Highland Villas. Both of these developments have been awarded IHDA tax credits and, pending the timing of closing on financing, could be under construction as early as Q2 of 2019.  In Carlyle, this team is laying the groundwork for another 48 units in the proposed Lakeside Villas.

St. Louis-based Altman Charter served as general contractor for Metro Landing, delivering the project in just 12 months, despite losing more than 40 construction days to rain and wet site conditions. Chicago-based Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects is the project architect, and the property is professionally managed by ND&S Management Company.

Rents start at $565 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $705 for a two-bedroom apartment. For additional details, call 618-726-2094. 


The Southwestern Illinois Development Authority is a special-purpose, municipal corporation and local governmental unit whose purpose is to promote and enhance economic development within the counties of Bond, Clinton, Madison and St. Clair in Illinois. To learn more, visit

About Bywater Development Group
Bywater is a St. Louis-based development company primarily focused on affordable housing and community development.  The organization is presently active on a wide variety of developments and redevelopment initiatives  throughout the Midwest and Southeast regions of the country.  To learn more about Bywater’s activities as a developer and co-developer of high-quality affordable housing and informed, impactful community building please visit

Electrical Connection Sponsors STL Football Club’s Fifth Season in St. Louis

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Following up their first-ever post season appearance, Saint Louis Football Club’s (Saint Louis FC) has kicked off its fifth season with the Electrical Connection as a major sponsor again.  Its first game was Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Toyota Stadium at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo., netting 2-1 win against the Indy Eleven.  Saint Louis FC is again be wearing their familiar jerseys emblazoned with the Electrical Connection logo.  The Electrical Connection is also be offering one free jersey giveaway for each of the 17 home games at its web site.  To register for the jersey giveaway, visit   The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“Our five-year partnership with Saint Louis FC has helped spotlight our more than 150 NECA electrical contractor members and the more than 5,000 highly skilled and safe IBEW electricians and communication technicians they employ,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection. “Beyond energizing the IBEW/NECA brand of excellence, the Saint Louis FC partnership also allows us to strengthen our community building initiatives.”

Saint Louis FC is playing 34 games this season, including an annual fundraiser sponsored by the Electrical Connection on July 27, 2019 to raise money for “Shop with a Cop” holiday giving programs.   For the fourth year in a row, the Electrical Connection will leverage its Saint Louis FC Partnership at the “Christmas in July” game to raise money for the St. Francois County and Ferguson “Shop with a Cop” programs, both the law enforcement trust building charities.

The Electrical Connection is spotlighted not only on the jerseys but also field banners, scoreboard promotions and other signage at Toyota Stadium.  In addition, the Electrical Connection is supporting Saint Louis FC’s youth programs and has been a strong supporter of the efforts to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to St. Louis.

“We look forward to an exciting new season and a continuation of our five-year partnership with the Electrical Connection,” said Jim Kavanaugh, CEO, Saint Louis FC.

Toyota Stadium in World Wide Technology Soccer Park features a Biergarten, Corner Flag Hospitality Patios, a Fan Zone, space for tailgate parties, a Craft Beer Corner, and great food options. For game tickets, visit

Saint Louis FC plays in 36-team United Soccer League (USL).

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit

Women Construction Owners & Executives USA Visit with DC Lawmakers

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The 2019 Women Build America National Conference took place at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C on March 3-5.  The three-day leadership and networking conference was an opportunity for business owners, leaders and corporate executives to join forces to empower communities, enhance business development and meet with legislative experts.

In concert with National Women in Construction Week, Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE USA) members gained national recognition and support from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and agency leadership including the Small Business Administration and the General Services Administration.   Emily W. Murphy, GSA Administrator, along with several bi-partisan representatives spoke at the conference addressing industry forecast, cyber security, political policies and Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) updates and guidelines.

The 2019 National Board of Directors was sworn in during the leadership conference which drew members from coast to coast.  The new Executive Board is:

  • President: Sheila Ohrenberg, President of Sorella Group Specialty Contractor
  • President Elect: Deborah Bradley, President of Deborah Bradley Construction
  • Secretary: Lorraine D’Angelo, President of LDA Compliance Consulting
  • Treasurer: Karen Barbour, President of The Barbour Group
  • Immediate Past President: Theresa Kern, President of Ma Rebar Services, Inc.

WCOE, USA is a National Association committed to helping women in the construction industry grow and prosper. Founded over 35 years ago on the purpose of assisting women in executive positions, providing resources to enhance professional development, and creating a legislative network to monitor and pursue legislation advantageous to the industry, WCOE is making strides to level the playing field in a historically male-dominated industry.

For more information on getting involved with WCOE USA, visit the website at and follow the organization on social media. 

More than $20 Million in Investment, Construction, Rehab Landing at Laclede’s Landing

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Laclede’s Landing is on the cusp of revival.

John Clark, president of Laclede’s Landing Community Improvement District, says more than $20 million in private investment is being pumped into the 9-block historic area just north of the Gateway Arch near the St. Louis Riverfront.

Tech startups, PR agencies, innovative casual dining establishments and residential lofts are evidence of what Clark calls a resurgence that the district has been waiting for a long time.

“We went through some odd times over the past decade, that’s for sure,” said Clark, referring to the Great Recession from 2007-09 and the 5-year, $380 million Arch Grounds redevelopment that involved closing a portion of Washington Avenue while the former Arch parking garage was demolished. “They say that to make an omelet, you’ve got to crack a few eggs…there were a lot of eggs cracked during that time, but now we’re beginning to reap the benefits of the completed Arch Grounds effort,” he added.

Advantes Development has invested $12 million to renovate Bi-State Development’s former headquarters at 701 N. First Street into the Peper Lofts, a 6-story community of 51 leased living units housed in the late 1800s edifice once known as the Christian Peper Building; the site was originally a 106,000-square-foot tobacco products storage facility. Peper Lofts, which are already more than half leased, represent the first multifamily development on The Landing. Peper is also home to part of Abstrakt Marketing’s staff.

At 707 North Second Street, another historic building – the Witte Hardware Building, built in 1849 – has been redeveloped by Drury Development Corp. ($2 million). The entire top floor of this 6-story, 80,000 square feet structure is occupied by Brand Addition.

“With the Arch Grounds redevelopment complete, it is a pivotal point for The Landing and the development activity is really taking off,” said Tom Milford, director of real estate for Drury Development Corp. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”

Restaurateurs are also making The Landing home, including a Korean fast-casual eatery known as Kimchi Guys. Clark, a former restaurateur, says dining establishments that did not survive the years of construction surrounding Laclede’s Landing are being replaced by bars and restaurants with a smaller footprint. “What you’re seeing and will likely continue to see are restaurants between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet locating on The Landing,” Clark said, “as compared to the 6,000- to 7,000-square-foot size we saw years ago. We’re also going to be seeing more restaurants than back in the day when there were more clubs and bars here.”

In mid-2016, the project to raise Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard, a 1.5-mile stretch running beneath the Arch, by two feet as a flood mitigation effort, was completed, offering renewed access to The Landing as well.

Now that direct access to The Landing has been restored, increasing parking opportunities is a top priority, according to Clark. “We’re working with both parking companies that already have lots in The Landing – City Park (owned by Drury) and St. Louis Parking Co.,” Clark said. “We’d like to start on (surface) parking-related projects within 30 days. A parking garage is in our long-range plan.”

SLCCC Annual Awards Gala to be Held April 1st

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The St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Best Practices and Diversity awards gala will take place this year on April 1st at the Missouri Botanical Garden featuring cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner. Registration is now open and sponsorship opportunities are available. Winners will be announced at the gala. Award finalists are listed below.

Best Practices Award finalists include:

  • ACME Constructors, Midwestern Manufacturing Plant
  • Alberici, Washington University Olin Library Transformation
  • Christner, SSM St. Mary’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Replacement
  • Corrigan Co., SSM St. Louis University Campus Renewal Hospital Project – Bathroom Pods
  • Madison Industrial Services Team, Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery
  • McCarthy, Bagwell Dam Stabilization
  • SM Wilson, Habitat for Humanity Headquarters & ReStore
  • Tarlton Corp., Washington University Pedestrian Bridge Replacement
  • Tarlton Corp., 4220 Duncan Avenue Project
  • BJC, Christian Hospital Northeast Lobby Renovation
  • icon Mechanical, Pfizer BioPlace

Diversity and Inclusion Finalists include:


  • Alberici University – Alberici
  • People of Construction
  • Hispanic Chamber of Metro St. Louis


  • Sultan Construction


  • Charles Henson – BJC Healthcare
  • Roslyn Croft – Tarlton Corporation
  • Tom Finan – Construction Forum STL
  • Samantha Cook – Clayco

Registration and more information here

Missouri Park & Recreation Association Names St. Louis County Parks Foundation as its 2019 Outstanding Support Organization

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The St. Louis County Parks Foundation has received the 2019 Citation – Organization Award from the Missouri Park and Recreation Association in recognition of the Foundation’s outstanding contribution and support of the state’s recreation and parks.  The award was presented at the Missouri Park and Recreation Association’s annual conference in Branson on February 28.  The Foundation is a public/private partnership started in 2015 to better connect people to their parks and bridge the gap between the public funds available and the additional money needed to care for, restore and enhance all St. Louis County Parks.

“We are committed to making new recreational opportunities available for the entire St. Louis County population,” said Mark Ohlendorf, President of the St. Louis County Parks Foundation Board of Directors. “Being recognized statewide for our work is extremely gratifying for our volunteers and for our funding partners. We are truly honored.”

Through partnerships with corporations, non-profit organizations and individuals, the Foundation has funded a series of projects including the new 1.4-mile, $125,000 Family Fitness Trail recently opened at Spanish Lake Park in North St. Louis County.   Designed for outdoor exercise and active play the entire family can enjoy together, the new trail features four separate educational and nature-themed children’s play stations plus a variety of adult exercise equipment, benches and new landscaping linked by an existing paved trail.  Animal climbing structures featured at each play station are along the same lines as Turtle Park near the St. Louis Zoo.

Funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the Gateway Foundation, the Family Fitness Trail is the first in a planned series of new privately funded recreational amenities and improvement projects in various St. Louis County Parks to be built by the Foundation.  Similar Family Trails are planned at Jefferson Barracks Park and Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park.

Over the past three years, the Foundation has been also able to raise funds to donate a new fountain in Tilles Park and make additional purchases of two fountains at Faust Park and Spanish Lake Park and playground equipment at Tilles, Faust, Bee Tree and Suson Parks. In addition, a new gym divider curtain at the North County Recreation Complex, three shade structures at the new Aquatic Center at the Pavilion at Lemay in Jefferson Barracks Park and a new spray pool at Castle Point Park were purchased though funds raised by the Foundation.

Currently, the Foundation is working on a strategic plan that will help provide direction in conjunction with the recently completed Master Plan for the St. Louis County Parks Department.

The Foundation’s leadership includes consists Mark Ohlendorf, President; Ginny McCook, Vice President; Marshall Galliers, Secretary; Eric Moses, Treasurer; Susan Poling, Development Officer; Gene McNary, Board Member, David Weiss, Board Member; Robert Schweizer, Board Member and Debbie Callihan, Board Member.

Mizzou MCAA Student Chapter Presents in Final Four Competition and IFS Receives National Safety Award at National Convention

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Thomas Scholarship Presentation

Earlier this week, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) student chapter from the University of Missouri-Columbia presented in the Final Four Competition and St. Louis-based Integrated Facility Services received a National Safety Award at the MCAA National Convention in Phoenix, AZ. Thomas Walsh, one of the student presenters, also received a $5,000 scholarship from MCREF (Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation) at the convention.  All three awards, including $2,500 won by the UMC Student Chapter, were announced by E. Timothy Decker, president, C&R Mechanical, who serves as president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Missouri (MCA-EMO), sponsor of the student chapter.

The Final Four presentation session, held March 4, featured basketball legend Magic Johnson, current president of basketball operations for the LA Lakers, as the keynote presenter, speaking on “Imagine.” The popular rock band, Imagine Dragons, also performed Tuesday evening at the MCAA19 National Convention.

IFS, with offices in St. Louis and Columbia, MO, was recognized with an MCAA national safety award in Category 3 (250,000-400,000 man hours) for improvements to its safety program. The improvements resulted in more frequent job site audits, lowering of its EMR, and better safety rates.

Ahmad, Thomas, Adam, Addison, Derrick

The students’ mock project was a four-million-dollar renovation of the South End Zone of the Indiana University Football Stadium. Using Navisworks, QuoteSoft and 3-D Building Information Modeling (BIM), the students offered plans, specs, costs and schedules to install all of the facility’s mechanical systems, including air-handlers and Energy Recovery Units (ERU’s), and design for the utility piping for the kitchen area. Through value engineering, UMC’s student chapter was able to bring $232,000 in cost savings to the project, which they presented to a panel comprised of contractors from across the U.S. on the convention’s mainstage. Student presenters included Ahmad Atallah, chapter president; hometown: Jerusalem); Addison Korsmeyer (hometown: Alhambra, IL); Derrick Jenkins (secretary; hometown: Kansas City); Adam Moore (vice-president; hometown: Lee’s Summit, MO); Paige Theby (hometown: St. Louis, MO); and Thomas Walsh (treasurer; hometown: St. Louis).

Following the awards ceremony, MCA-EMO Executive Director Kristy Stephens said, “Being selected for the Final Four is a huge ‘win’ for any student chapter.  This is a very young chapter that, in five short years, has outpaced student chapters around the country, capturing first place in 2017 and being named MCAA Student Chapter of the Year that same year from among a total of 59 student chapters nationwide. The ‘hands-on’ involvement and wise counsel of our seasoned professionals has helped propel them to become one of the top student chapters whose members are sought out by recruiters from around the country. We also want to congratulate the IFS team for this national recognition of its safety program.

Thomas, Adam, Ahmad, Addison, Paige

The 16-member student chapter participated in a number of training sessions and programs with MCA-EMO members to help prepare them for this year’s Final Four.  MCA-EMO member advisors included: Malcolm Sweet, general manager of Integrated Facility Services in St. Louis, who chaired the MCA-EMO Committee that helped found the student chapter   Other advisors included Brian Gent, vice-president, estimating and preconstruction, Corrigan Brothers, Inc.; Robert Grossman, project estimator, and Nick Kniesche, engineer, Murphy Company; and Pat Reilly, vice president of construction marketing, and Ben Haberberger, project manager/estimator, Haberberger, Inc. The UMC student chapter’s faculty advisor is Lawrence Schilke, P.E., managing engineer, UMC.

“This year’s project was a huge challenge for our students,” commented Schilke. “Not only did they learn basics about HVAC systems, piping and ductwork, and plumbing systems; they also learned how to estimate labor and prepare a material takeoff for these systems. They learned how to use many software systems and MCAA’s WEBLEM site. They invested a great of time above and beyond their classes to gain valuable knowledge of the mechanical contracting industry and, in the end, produced a great proposal for the MCAA student competition.  As always, we thank MCA-EMO for their financial support and mentoring.”

Malcolm Sweet added that this year’s project was not a typical design-build assignment, but rather a plan and spec job, requiring different skill sets and additional software than that used in previous years. “They worked hard and were well-prepared for this year’s competition,” he said. “It’s wonderful to witness the technical know-how and confidence displayed by these college students who will be the future leaders in our industry”

MCAA Student Chapter (UMC)

Atallah said that a major goal this year was recruiting more women to the chapter.  “Last year we only had one female member and this year we were able to recruit six new female members through our merger with the Society of Women Engineers. And it was great to be able to welcome two of them as members of our Final Four presentation team.”

When not preparing for the national completion, the student chapter was busy with community and industry outreach, with student Austin Matthews serving as outreach coordinator. Thomas Walsh volunteered for the STEM Cups challenge in local schools. They also made site visits to the UMC chiller plant and to icon Mechanical Construction & Engineering, LLC’s Fab Shop in Granite City, IL. Seven students attended the MCAA’s Great Futures Forum in Anaheim, CA in September 2018. They also sponsor an annual MCAA golf tournament and participate in the MCA-EMO golf tournament to support student scholarships and the chapter’s activities.

“My MCAA student chapter experience actually helped change my career option,” said Atallah. “I intended to go into process/design engineering, but my experience with our student chapter changed my outlook and pointed me towards mechanical contracting.  I initially just wanted to get involved and I’ve learned that early industry involvement actually gives back to me. It’s been especially rewarding to be able to network with industry professionals around the country.”

MCA-EMO offers programs crucial to the ongoing success of contractors and vendors operating within the construction industry in Eastern Missouri. For more than 70 years, the MCA has sponsored cost-effective educational opportunities taught by qualified and experienced professionals in the MCA Training Center. MCA-EMO also offers industry events, networking opportunities, and sponsors a student chapter at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Visit:

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