- The Company
- What We Do
March 25, 2013
ACE program opens students’ eyes to construction careers
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (March 2013) – At a time of economic recovery and increased business activity, the entire construction industry is seeking new employees — especially women and minorities. Through structured mentoring relationships, ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) works to increase the awareness of high school students to career opportunities in the construction industry.
At the center of ACE’s success is its annual “Building Success” competition, which features area students and mentors from more than two dozen companies in the construction industry that have designed and planned the building of a mock project.
Teams from five area high schools, including Johnson, Shakopee, Washburn, Hopkins and Irondale, tackled this year’s challenge: to design a modular classroom compatible with their existing school facility. Each team worked with mentor professionals from the construction, architecture and engineering industries. The winner of the 2013 championship is St. Paul’s Johnson High School.
The project’s time-intensive process ran from late November 2012 until mid-March 2013, including weekly two-hour meetings with the students. Johnson High School’s final core team of four students took its design from initial concepts and schematic design, through estimating and engineering phases, culminating in a formal presentation to a panel of judges, who are leaders in the construction industry.
Johnson’s presentation included a 3D, animated fly-through model and 3D printing models of the facility. Students included Arun Wollengerg, Charles Arrigoni, Hue Thao and Alejandro Loza. The team’s goal of creating a portable classroom featured several key specifications, including:
– two classrooms with the capacity to house 30 students
– two lab rooms (one for technological use; one for machine work) that can be converted into one large space
– easy access and close proximity to the school
– architecturally resembles the school
– use of minimal consumptions of energy
– natural light, plumbing, office space and storage
Vicki Hooper of HGA and one of this year’s judges, remarked about how far the students have come and how much they’ve learned in just a short time.
“The mentors repeatedly commented about how the students began not knowing what engineers or architects do. Soon, they were speaking industry language, and designing and presenting their concepts before a crowd of over a hundred people,” said Hooper. During the process, they have built pride and confidence that will benefit them well into the future.”
Johnson’s team learned important lessons during the construction process. They emphasized how important it is for their designs to comply with code regulations and that solving problems may bring new challenges. And everyone agreed how critical good math and writing skills are.
Al Gerhardt, Kraus-Anderson (KA) chief operating officer and ACE Mentor board member, praised all the teams for their sophisticated presentations and professionalism.
“The ACE Mentor program provides a proactive, realistic and engaging approach to addressing critical needs for tomorrow’s professionals in the construction, engineering and architecture industries,” said Gerhardt. “These students are displaying extraordinary talents as well as tremendous pride for their work. It is most gratifying to witness these young people become leaders. It’s an honor to join many other industry organizations and leaders in this wonderful program to help build tomorrow’s professionals.”
Johnson’s winning team was mentored by Jake Boerboon and Ken Francois, Kraus-Anderson; Nathan Day, Ryan Companies; Robert Stoffel and Donovan Nelson, HGA; Laura Flynn, BWBR; and Emily Gascho and Steven O’Hern, Viking Sprinkler. Ethan Laubach and Jeff Opichka served as teacher mentors.
The ACE Twin Cities competition also included $6,000 in college scholarships, awarded to five students, including two from the Johnson team. Johnson High School’s winning project will be considered to be presented to the ACE Mentor Program’s national student competition in Washington, D.C. this spring.
Since its inception in 2010, the ACE Mentor Program has awarded $10,000 in scholarships, $7,000 of which has benefited minorities & females. To learn more about the program, visit www.acementor.org.