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.

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