Saturday, May 4, 2013, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Cleveland (MCA) was inducted into Kent State University’s (KSU) College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability, and Technology (CAEST) Corporate Hall of Fame. In August 2007, the same year KSU established a major in Construction Management, MCA formed a student chapter in the CAEST. MCA represents about 90 mechanical contractors in Northeast Ohio who perform heating, air conditioning, plumbing, refrigeration and process piping installations and maintenance. With its new Construction major, KSU was looking for an organization with which to partner for internships and full-time placements. MCA, a 100 year old trade association, was also interested in a partnership with a university that could refer individuals with specific interest and training in construction management. Voila—it was a perfect match. The relationship started off with a bang thanks to the eagerness of the KSU faculty advisor, Joe Karpinski, and the tenacity of MCA’s Student Chapter Chairman, Michael J. Gallagher. Michael is also a past MCA President and a current KSU Adjunct Instructor.
To date 14 full-time employees have been hired by MCA contractors, not to mention 12 summer interns. These graduates are generally working as project managers, BIM operators, estimators, procurement managers, and safety directors. MCA President Geoff Engel views the KSU Student Chapter as: “an enormous benefit for the industry and considers it to be an apprenticeship program for the contractors.” According to Mr. Engel, “there has always been an apprenticeship program to prepare young tradesmen to take over for retiring journeymen, but we have never had a system in place to prepare young college graduates to take over for retiring management personnel.” President Engel is now confident that we are adequately planning for the future of our industry thanks to the success of the Student Chapter.
The Student Chapter program is a service sponsored by the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) of which MCA of Cleveland is affiliated. Currently there are 47 Student Chapters sponsored by MCAA across the country. Thomas Wanner is the Executive Director of MCA of Cleveland and states that “the Student Chapter has infused fresh new talent into our member firms which helps us keep up with the ever changing technology that faces our industry.” “These KSU graduates grew up with the computer based issues that the rest of us struggle to deal with, so it is a logical fit”, says Mr. Wanner. Since the inception of the student Chapter, the KSU students have attended local MCA meetings, participated in the annual MCAA Student Chapter Summit, conducted many fund raisers, annually attended the MCAA Educational Convention, and competed in the annual student chapter contest.
President Engel, the MCA officers, and MCA members are all honored to receive the beautiful plaque and look forward to seeing MCA’s name forever immortalized and emblazoned in the new Construction Management Building which is under construction. MCA is quite pleased to be in the good company of other inductees, such as Lubrizol Corporation, Flight Safety International and Diebold Incorporated. Pictured in the attached photo from the May 4, 2013 induction ceremony at Kent State University are L-R: I. Richmond Nettey, KSU Associate Dean; Geoff Engel, MCA President; Michael J. Gallagher, MCA Student Chapter Chairman; Thomas Wanner, MCA Executive Director; Shin-Min Song, KSU Dean. Absent from the photo are Joe Karpinski, KSU Faculty Advisor and John DeCola, KSU Director of Institutional Advancement.