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Homeowner and Condominium Associations & the COVID-19 Pandemic

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How St. Louis’ Stay at Home Orders Affect Your Business Operations

By Stephen G. Davis, Attorney

On March 21, 2020, St. Louis County and St. Louis City issued Stay at Home Orders in response to the global COVID-19 health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged—and will continue to challenge—the usual functioning of communities, such as conducting annual and board meetings, holding elections, ratifying budgets, and other typical business processes.

The information below is for communities operating under the Nonprofit Corporation Act trying to figure out how to manage operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The best way to confirm whether your community operates under the Act is to consult with your Association’s attorney. These tips are general in nature and should be confirmed by your attorney in accordance with the particulars of your Association’s governing documents.

Board Meetings

Missouri law permits a board of directors to meet electronically, per Section 355.376, as long as “all directors participating may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting.” At such a meeting, appearance electronically counts toward quorum. The board may conduct its usual business if a quorum is present electronically. 

Member Meetings

Unlike board meetings, electronic meetings of the members are not meetings. Therefore, while the Association may meet electronically for informal information sharing, an action of the members in an electronic meeting is not an official act of the Association. Section 355.266 provides a workable solution, where the Association may act by written ballot for any action that would otherwise occur at an annual or other meeting of the membership. The community could still discuss the matters over an electronic meeting, but the official action would occur through the written ballot. The statute, summarized below, includes several requirements that the Association should ensure are met so that all actions are valid.

To take action by written ballot, the Association must deliver a written ballot to every member entitled to vote, setting forth each proposed action and provide an opportunity to vote for or against each proposed action. Approval is valid only when: 1) the number of votes cast equals or exceeds the quorum required for the meeting authorizing the action, and 2) the number of approvals equals or exceeds the required approval at a meeting. The solicitation for votes by written ballot shall: a) indicate the number of responses needed to meet quorum, b) meet the percentage of approvals needed to approve each matter other than election of directors, and c) specify the time by which ballots must be received to be counted.

Emergency Powers

While the foregoing suggestions provide means for most communities to operate during this crisis, Missouri statute provides two emergency provisions. Pursuant to Sections 355.121 and 355.136 of the Act, nonprofit corporations have certain additional powers in emergency situations: “An emergency exists for purposes of this section if a quorum of the corporation’s directors cannot readily be assembled because of some catastrophic event.” Missouri statutes and Missouri courts do not specifically provide guidance as to the definition of a “catastrophic event;” however, it seems likely that a court would consider the global COVID-19 health crisis a catastrophic event.

  • Section 355.121 allows a board to adopt emergency bylaws, including how to call board meetings, quorum requirements for board meetings, and designation of additional or substitute directors. These last only for the emergency. Per this section, “corporate action taken in good faith in accordance with the emergency bylaws binds the corporation.”
  • Section 355.136 focuses on the incapacity of a director, how to notice meetings, and how to meet quorum.

In exercising any of the foregoing powers, we recommend consulting with your Association’s attorney.

Navigating the everchanging COVID-19 situation may bring additional stress and uncertainty to the functioning of your community. If you have any questions about the impact of the recent Stay at Home Orders on the operation of your community association, contact your Association’s attorney or anyone on our team at Carmody MacDonald.

Stephen G. Davis is a litigator at Carmody MacDonald in Clayton. He focuses his practice on homeowner and condominium association law and represents over 180 associations throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. Contact Stephen at sgd@carmodymacdonald.com or 314-854-8600.

New Department of Homeland Security Guidance Clarifies Construction’s Role In Supporting Essential Critical Infrastructure

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Submitted by the AGC

Construction Officials Say New Federal Guidance Should Signal to State and Local Officials the Need to Allow Construction Activity to Continue, or Resume, During Coronavirus-Related Work Stoppages

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to the release of new guidance(link is external) from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency that clarifies construction’s critical role in supporting essential infrastructure.

“Federal officials have, wisely, heeded our advice and opted to release new guidance that makes it clear that construction activities are included in its list of essential critical infrastructure workers. This new federal guidance should help eliminate the confusion and ambiguity that has led several state and local officials to needlessly order halts to construction activity that is clearly essential.

“Specifically, federal officials have opted to identify construction and related activities, including the manufacture and delivery of construction supplies and safety equipment and the permitting & inspection of projects, in 25 different parts of its guidelines, compared to four times in its prior iteration. That is because federal officials understand the essential role construction plays in supporting our critical infrastructure and economic activities. They also understand that construction activity can continue to occur in a way that protects workers and the general public from the spread of coronavirus.

“Moving forward, we are eager to work with state and local officials to help them better understand how to heed this new federal guidance so they can continue, or begin, to allow construction work to proceed in their jurisdictions.”

Project Delays Hit 28% of Respondents in AGC Survey

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Submitted by the Associated General Contractors Association

A growing number of contractors have reported impacts on building projects and products from the coronavirus outbreak. An online survey AGC conducted March 17-19 drew 909 respondents, of whom 28% answered “yes” to the question: “Has any owner, government agency or official directed you to halt or delay work on any projects that are either active or expected to start within the next 30 days?” In addition, 11% replied “yes” regarding projects they were expecting to start more than 30 days from now. Respondents reported various causes for project delays or disruptions: shortage of materials, equipment or parts, 16%; shortage of essential craftworkers (including subcontractors’ workers), 11%; shortage of government workers (whether to issue permits or certificates of occupancy, or to conduct inspections or lettings, or to make project awards), 18%. About 22% of respondents said suppliers had notified them or their subcontractors that deliveries will be late or cancelled. Readers (including previous respondents) are invited to visit https://www.agc.org/coronavirus-covid-19 for a wide range of resources and a link to take AGC’s updated survey.

Data reports released last week do not reflect impacts of the pandemic but provide some indication of the state of the industry heading into the crisis. The reports were mixed but generally showed continued growth from a year earlier.

Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, increased year-over-year (y/y) between January 2019 and January 2020 in 200 (56%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides construction employment data, fell in 95 (27%) and was unchanged in 63, according to an analysis AGC released on Friday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros to avoid disclosing data about industries with few employers.) The largest gain occurred in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land (12,400 construction jobs, 5%), followed by the Dallas-Plano-Irving division (9,800 combined jobs, 7%). The largest percentage gain occurred in Lewiston, Idaho-Wash. (15%, 200 construction jobs), followed by Panama City, Fla. (14%, 900 combined jobs). The largest job loss occurred in Baton Rouge, La. (-6,600 construction jobs, -12%). The largest percentage loss occurred in Springfield, Ill. (-22%, -700 combined jobs), followed by Laredo, Texas (-17%, -700 combined jobs). BLS made routine benchmarking revisions dating back several years.

There were 274,000 job openings in construction at the end of January, 8.3% less than the January 2019 total of 299,000, but still the second-highest January total in the series’ 20-year history, BLS reported on Tuesday in its latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) release. Construction firms hired 385,000 employees in January, not seasonally adjusted, 4.5% less than the January 2019 total of 403,000. Layoffs and discharges increased by 4.3% y/y, to 242,000 from 232,000 in January 2019. Quits declined by 12%, to 155,000 from 176,000 in January 2019. All of these y/y changes are consistent with a modest slowdown in construction, although construction employment increased 2.0% over that span, BLS reported on March 6.

The value of new construction starts dipped 1% from January to February at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, Dodge Data & Analytics reported on Tuesday. “Large projects in the office and healthcare sectors provided a boost for overall nonresidential building, while residential and nonbuilding construction starts moved lower. With only two months of data available for 2020, it is difficult to ascribe a 2020 trend. However, some perspective can be gleaned by examining a 12-month moving total. For the 12 months ending February 2020 total construction starts were 3% higher than the previous 12-month period.” Nonresidential building starts were 3% higher, residential starts were up 1%, and nonbuilding starts increased 7%.

Housing starts (units) in February decreased 1.5% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from January but soared 39% y/y from February 2019, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday. Multifamily (five or more units) starts slumped 17% from January but jumped 44% y/y, although the data are typically volatile and often substantially revised in later months. Single-family starts increased 6.7% for the month and 35% y/y. For the first two months of 2020 combined, total starts surged 35% compared to January-February 2019, with multifamily starts up 74% and single-family starts up 21%. Residential permits slipped 5.5% for the month but gained 14% y/y. Multifamily permits declined 20% and 5.0%, respectively. Single-family permits rose 1.7% and 23%. However, the coronavirus epidemic appears certain to cause a huge drop in all residential construction for the next several months, despite a drop in mortgage interest rates.

The Architecture Billings Index climbed in February to a 13-month high of 53.4, seasonally adjusted, from 52.2 in January, the American Institute of Architects reported on Wednesday. The index measures the percentage of surveyed architecture firms that reported higher billings than a month earlier, less the percentage reporting lower billings. Any score above 50 (on a 0-100 scale) indicates an increase in billings. Scores (based on three-month moving averages) topped the breakeven 50 mark for all practice specialties: residential (mainly multifamily), 53.5, up from 51.9 in January; institutional, 52.8, up from 52.0; mixed practice, 52.7, up from 52.4; and commercial/industrial, 52.4, down slightly from 52.5. “‘However, firms were just beginning to feel the impact of the dramatic slowdown caused by COVID-19 as this survey was being conducted in early March,’ said [chief economist Kermit Baker.] ‘The rapid pullback in activity throughout the economy will obviously be felt in the design and construction sector, and architecture firms will be one of the first to see how these events play out.’”

Labor & Management Work Together During COVID-19 Crisis

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Team Work on the Mechanism of Metal Gears.

Submitted by the Associated General Contractors Association

 

Safety and running safe job sites are top priorities within the construction industry, with millions of dollars spent each year on personal protective equipment, stringent safety training requirements, daily inspections and other safety precautions.  Therefore, area contractors and labor already have much of the infrastructure in place to help confront the current COVID-19 crisis. But there’s much more that needs to be accomplished quickly.  Jointly, labor and management are doing that important work.

According to Charlie Goodwin, chair of the Associated General Contractors of Missouri Labor Policy Committee and president of Goodwin Brothers Construction Co., “Labor and management have all moved swiftly to take care of the workers, contractors and owner employees working on or near job sites, and work is moving forward in a safe and prudent way. Constant and regular communications has helped us stay on top of the situation and implement shared best practices.”

“We’ve established a special ‘PROTECT YOURSELF. PROTECT OTHERS.’ COVID-19 online resource center (https://tinyurl.com/wnjxrpw )where contractors and suppliers are sharing best practices,” said Leonard Toenjes, CAE, AGCMO’s president. “Contractors are following, and many, exceeding  CDC and OSHA guidelines, and we’re issuing daily updates with the latest information and findings.  In addition to all the hand washing, social distancing and other protections, contractors also are disinfecting gang boxes, shared tools and work spaces, and  using daily safety toolbox talks to help prevent spread of the virus.  Many contractors already have implemented daily signed questionnaire protocol on job sites.    Depending on the owner, some are even performing daily temperature checks. “

Toenjes added that a new “PROTECT YOURSELF. PROTECT OTHERS.” telephone hotline was added today at 314-781-2356 extension 1050 for anyone with any concerns regarding the potential safety of a job site to report concerns anonymously. “Labor and management do not want any worker to feel intimidated by a co-worker or supervisor,” added Toenjes.  “Our goal is full transparency on all job sites.”

Labor is playing an important leadership role in collaborating with management to confront COVID-19. “We’re in daily contact with contractor associations and are working closely with them to keep our workers safe and employed,” added Al  Bond, executive secretary/treasurer of the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council. “I am extremely proud of our workers who are leaving their families at home and showing up for work to help build many critical projects.  It speaks volumes about the caliber of our people and the industry as a whole.”

John Stiffler, executive secretary/treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, observed,  “I am very proud of our owners, contractors and workers right now. This is a very challenging situation which requires constant communications, monitoring and tremendous cooperation.   We are fully aware that much of our construction work involves critical infrastructure for our healthcare systems, utilities, municipalities and supply chain companies that are all on the front lines and under severe duress right now.  The community is counting on us to help provide the infrastructure to keep all of these companies and organizations operating during this critical time.”

For additional information, visit www.agcmo.org or contact AGCMO at 314.781.2356 or call Toll-Free at 844-60-MOAGC.

ASCC Safety Consulting Services Announced

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The American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) St. Louis, MO, has launched a program of safety consulting services for its contractor members. Available services include Written Program / Policy Review, Site Safety and Risk Assessment, a Mock OSHA Inspection and an Assessment of Silica Dust Generating Conditions. Services are provided by Joe Whiteman, ASCC’s director of safety services, and are $90/hour for offsite activities and $195/hour onsite.

The audit is a new piece of ASCC’s comprehensive safety program, designed to make its member contractors the safest in the industry. Other products and services include:

  • A safety/insurance hotline
  • A 288-page customizable Safety Manual written specifically for concrete contractors
  • 52 Tool Box Training Talks specifically for concrete construction work; in English and Spanish
  • A Legacy Safety Leadership Program for owners and CEOs for establishment and maintenance of a behavior-based safety culture
  • 28 Safety Bulletins of current topics of interest
  • Insurance Bulletins
  • Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) forms covering most concrete construction activities
  • Templates for Site Specific Safety Plans and much more

The Safety & Risk Management Council (SRMC) is a specialty council of ASCC that educates and provides materials to contractors on all aspects of safety relating to concrete contracting and insurance matters.

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry. Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry such as architects, specifiers and distributors. There are approximately 760 member companies in the United States and 13 foreign countries.

For more information, visit www.ascconline.org or call the ASCC office at (866) 788-2722.

The CPC provides standards, education and a professional network for polishing contractors and others in the industry. The primary goals of the Council are to furnish training opportunities and certification programs for their members and to share information on best practices with the design and construction community. 

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry. Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry such as architects, specifiers and distributors. There are approximately 760 member companies in the United States and 13 foreign countries.

For more information, visit www.ascconline.org or call the ASCC office at (866) 788-2722.

ASCC CPC Position Statements

in Associations/News

The Concrete Polishing Council (CPC), a subsidiary of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, MO, has published five Position Statements on topics of concern to the polished concrete contractor and those who specify polished concrete. The position statements clarify the polished concrete contractor’s point of view for architects, engineers, owners and others.

The five statements are:

#1 Slab Protection by Others

#2 Slip Resistance of Polished Concrete

#3 Coordinating the Concrete and Polishing Contractors’ Subcontracts

#4 Separation of Semirigid Concrete Floor Joint Fillers

#5 Effects of Slab-Surface Finish Density of Polished Concrete

The statements are written by ASCC technical director, Dr. Bruce Suprenant, P.E., Phd, FACI.

“The statements explain the concerns that can arise during construction and/or the polishing process, and explain how CPC member contractors will work with the project team for the best possible outcome,” says Suprenant.

Home Builders Association Donates $15,000 to Great Circle

in Associations/News

On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), HBA Executive Vice President Celeste Rueter (left) presented a $15,000 donation to Kenny Meredith, director of advancement for Great Circle, and Michael Singer, director of gift planning for Great Circle.

The donation will be applied to capital project costs for renovations to two bathrooms at Great Circle’s Intensive Behavior Treatment (IBT) Program housed within the Kresge East cottage on the Webster Groves campus. The IBT program provides intensive behavior counseling for four children at a time, serving approximately 24 children each year, who have severe behavioral challenges associated with autism, mental health disorder or developmental delay and exhibit aggression, inappropriate behaviors, property destruction, self-injury or suicidal ideation. Great Circle was formed in 2009 by the merger of Boys & Girls Town of Missouri and Edgewood Children’s Center and has become one of the most comprehensive providers of behavioral health services in Missouri, the Midwest and beyond.

The HBA is a local trade association of more than 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.

ASA Midwest Council Announces Nominations for The Disco Ball Awards Gala March 28, 2020

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This is the 27th year ASA will recognize outstanding companies in the construction industry. The winners in each category will be announced on March 28th, during the Disco Ball Awards Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown St. Louis.

The four award categories include General Contractor of the Year, Outstanding MEP Subcontractor, Outstanding Specialty Subcontractor, and Service Provider/Supplier of the Year. Both General Contractors and Subcontractors are nominated based on criteria that includes bid ethics practice, safety policy and practices, jobsite supervision, scheduling coordination, and project relations. The ASA-Midwest Council will also award special safety awards at the gala, to qualifying members who have achieved work safety excellence in 2019.

The ASA Awards Gala is open to all members of the construction industry. Tickets for the black-tie- optional event are $175 and includes valet parking.  For reservations, visit www.asamidwest.com by March 18th to reserve your spot.

Congratulations to the 2020 Nominees

(Nominees are placed in the appropriate category based on annual revenue)

General Contractor of the Year Nominees:

Category A

  • Alberici Constructors
  • ARCO Construction
  • BSI Constructors
  • Contegra Construction Co.
  • L. Keeley Construction
  • McCarthy Building Companies
  • Tarlton Corporation

Category B

  • Interface Construction Corp
  • ISC Contracting
  • Kadean Construction
  • McGrath & Associates
  • Musick Construction
  • Rhodey Construction

Category C

  • BEX Construction Services
  • G. S. & S. Construction
  • J.E. Foster Building Company
  • Spiegelglass Construction Company

Outstanding MEP Subcontractor

Category A

  • Aschinger Electric
  • CE Jarrell Mechanical Contractors
  • Guarantee Electrical Company
  • J.F. Electric, Inc.
  • Kaemmerlen Electric
  • Murphy Company
  • PayneCrest Electric, Inc.
  • Sachs Electric

Category B

  • Benson Electric Co.
  • Bi-State Fire Protection
  • Boyer Fire Protection
  • Kaiser Electric Co.
  • KayBee Electric Co.
  • O.J. Laughlin Plumbing Co.
  • Parkway Construction Services
  • Plumbing Planning Corporation
  • R.F. Meeh Co.

Outstanding Specialty Subcontractor

Category A

  • BAZAN Painting Co.
  • Kirberg Company
  • Niehaus Building Services
  • T.J. Wies Contracting, Inc.
  • Vee-Jay Cement Contracting Co., Inc.

Category B

  • AME Constructors
  • American Steel Fabrication, Inc.
  • George McDonnell & Sons
  • Golterman & Sabo
  • Grant Masonry Contracting
  • Leach Painting Company
  • Meyer Painting Company
  • Swanson Masonry, Inc.

Service Provider/Supplier of the Year

  • Enterprise Bank & Trust
  • Fabick
  • JD Kutter
  • K & K Supply
  • NuWay
  • Seal the Deal Too

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council is a construction trade association made up of quality specialty subcontractors, suppliers and service providers serving the construction industry and the community in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and southern Illinois.  The ASA Midwest Council’s purpose is to improve the construction process through active participation in education, advocacy and cooperation. For more information about the ASA Midwest Council, visit www.asamidwest.com or contact executive director, Susan Winkelmann at 314-845-0855.

Mizzou MCAA Student Chapter to Present in Final Four Competition

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On March 16 the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) student chapter from the University of Missouri-Columbia will take part in the Final Four Competition at the MCAA National Convention in Maui, HI. The winners will be announced at the MCAA 2020 Awards of Excellence Breakfast featuring football great, Joe Montana, later that week..

MCA-EMO Executive Director Kristy Stephens said, “Being selected for the Final Four is very prestigious for any student chapter.  This is a very young chapter that, in six 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. Last year, they also participated in the Final Four. In addition to great guidance from their faculty advisor, Larry Schilke, P.E., managing engineer at UMC, they’ve had wonderful mentoring from our member contractors, following the strict guidelines of the competition.  We are truly proud of these students and have seen many of them advance into outstanding careers with mechanical contractors and engineering firms.”

Thirty-three teams applied to this year’s national student competition for an opportunity to present to a panel comprised of contractors from across the U.S. on the convention’s mainstage. As the prime contractor on a chiller and cooling tower replacement project in the Penn South building in New York City, the teams planned all plumbing, piping and HVAC, electrical, controls and all other work required to complete the project as described in the bid documents. In addition to the UMC MCA student chapter, this year student teams will compete from Ball State University, Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Maryland, College Park. The top competition prize is $10,000 while the second-place team will receive $5,000. The other two finalists will each receive $2,500.

According to UMC’s MCA student chapter president, Adam Moore, the UMC team has been preparing all year for the competition, with 10 students attending the MCA 2020 National Competition along with their faculty advisor. “We were responsible for all procurement, budget estimates, developing a schedule, subcontractor selection, piping and cooling towers on the project,” said Moore. ”We also developed a detailed crane and rigging plan for placement of equipment, including codes and permitting.”

Students attending the national convention include Adam Moore (president; Lee’s Summit, MO); Austin Matthews (vice-president; Mexico, MO); Mohammed Al-Ramis (treasurer; Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia); Alex Jokerst (Secretary; Fenton, MO); Mike Basset (Fenton); Elizabeth Henshaw (St. Joseph, MO); Derrick Jenkins (Independence, MO); Mike Lewis (Lee’s Summit); Kylie Nedelka (Gurnee, IL); and Evan Taylor (Lee’s Summit).

Brian Gent, vice-president, estimating and preconstruction, Corrigan Brothers, Inc., is one of the contractors who has worked closely with the students, including arranging for a guided tour of a data center in downtown St. Louis. 

“I am extremely proud of the UMC MCA Student Chapter for being able to make a repeat finals appearance two years in a row,” said Gent.  “The student chapter members have spent countless hours learning and preparing for the competition.  Ahmad Atallah, last year, and Adam Moore, this year, did an excellent job of getting the team organized and leading them to a strong finish.   It is especially rewarding to know that many of the student chapter members will use this opportunity and exposure to our industry to come to work for a member contractor and hopefully have a long and successful career in the mechanical construction industry.”

When not preparing for the national competition, the student chapter has been busy with community and industry outreach, with student Jarred Frank (St. Joseph, MO) serving as outreach coordinator. On March 7, the students participated in Science Day at the St. Louis Science Center with a booth demonstrating how pressure pumps and valves work.  In 2019 the UMC MCA Student Chapter participated in STEM Cubs Day at Mizzou, an event centered around teaching kids K-6 STEM concepts.

Moore has been a member of the MCA student chapter since second semester of his freshman year at Mizzou.  “My MCAA student chapter experience has been phenomenal, giving me lots of ’hands-on‘ experience and real-world knowledge of what the industry is like.” said Moore.  “It’s been a very supportive outlet, allowing me to meet a lot of people in the industry and providing great resources that I’ll be able to use for years to come.  As seniors, we all want to make a really strong finish at the Final Four this year.”   After graduation, Moore will start an internship at Burns & McDonnell.

Photo Above: The UMC MCA Student Chapter performed a practice run-through for MCA member contractors on March 6. (From left to right): Elizabeth Henshaw, Kylie Nedelka, Evan Taylor, Mohammed Al-Ramis, Austin Mathews, Adam Moore

MCA-EMO offers programs crucial to the ongoing success of contractors and vendors operating within the construction industry in Eastern Missouri. For more than 120 years, the MCA has provided 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:  www.mca-emo.com.

Electrical Connection Salutes Students Excelling in STEM Subjects

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The Electrical Connection continued its yearly support of STEM education at the annual STEM Celebration Breakfast presented by EDC Business & Community Partners in St. Charles County.  The March 6, 2020 event saluted 19 students in St. Charles County schools excelling in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.  One of those students is considering the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center to launch her career.  The 11th annual STEM breakfast was held at the Piazza Messina in Cottleville, Mo.  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).

Among the STEM Breakfast honorees was Kaelee ColliganLewis & Clark Career Center, who is considering a career as an electrician and applying to the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center.  Her bio notes, “Kaelee excels in all aspects of the electrical trades program. She is a foreman on an actual job site where she leads a team of student electrical workers in wiring a new custom-built home. Her instructor thinks so highly of her talents that he has recommended her entry into the SkillsUSA state-wide competition of electrical students in the area of Industrial Motor Controls.”

Dennis Gralike, director of the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center says that the technology boom of the 1990s and early 2000 launched the push to improve STEM education.  “At that time in the late 1990s, IBEW/NECA had invested in a major upgrade of the training center to train future electricians and communication technicians to meet the needs of information technology and what became the digital age,” said Gralike.  “Advanced training in renewable energy and smart infrastructure followed – all of it requiring our strong commitment to STEM education.”

IBEW and NECA invest more than $3 million annually in training at the award winning IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center at 2300 Hampton Ave. in St. Louis.  For more than 75 years, the training center has produced more highly skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians than any other education program in Missouri.  It features a five-year, 10,000 hour education program that is industry funded at no taxpayer expense.  Its apprentices are instructed free of charge and earn a living while they learn the electrical trade.

“We meet daily with civic, business, economic and workforce development leadership in Missouri to advance the state’s commitment to strengthening our skilled workforce,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.  “Our IBEW/NECA partners can offer compelling examples of how STEM education is transforming their development of pace-setting skills.  We salute these students who will one day be setting that pace themselves, hopefully working for a St. Louis company.”

During the salute to students, Curran announced that through the Electrical Connection’s partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals, students and school officials will be treated to a special behind the scenes look at how STEM education is applied to running the storied baseball franchise.  April 16, 2020, they will be invited to Busch Stadium to hear from team officials in several departments about how they apply STEM subjects.  The learning session will be concluded by a luncheon co-sponsored by the Electrical Connection.

The St. Charles County high school students honored at this year’s STEM breakfast include:

  • Lily Burnham, Lutheran High
  • Macyn Kidd, Christian High
  • Elizabeth Kleitz, Duchesne High
  • John McLoughlin, St. Dominic High
  • Katherine Johnson, St. Charles High
  • Emma Spraul, St. Charles West High
  • Caleb Bogener, Francis Howell High
  • Christopher Bissett, Francis Howell Central High
  • Ben Ell, Francis Howell North High
  • Trent Kirks, Orchard Farm High
  • Nancy Lin, Ft. Zumwalt East High
  • Morgan James, Ft. Zumwalt North High
  • Lauren Baetje, Ft. Zumwalt West High
  • Nicolas Myers, Ft. Zumwalt South High
  • Hannah Holmes, Wentzville Holt High
  • Sarvani Kunapareddy, Wentzville Liberty High
  • Sharon Kardasz Wentzville Timberland High
  • Kaelee Colligan, Lewis & Clark Career Center
  • Anastasia Cook, Boys & Girls Club.

The STEM breakfast is one of several educational initiatives support by the Electrical Connection.  Others include partnerships with the FIRST Robotics, the Saint Louis Science CenterMissouri Energy Initiative (MEI), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and more.

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 www.electricalconnection.org.

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