BCS and engineering students take ‘Best Presenation’ award at regional construction competition

November 10th, 2016 Comments Off on BCS and engineering students take ‘Best Presenation’ award at regional construction competition

Heavy Civil Team

Heavy Civil Team

Design-Build Team

Design-Build Team

Faculty members and students from Mississippi State University’s Building Construction Science Program recently attended the Associated Schools of Construction’s (ASC) Region II Conference and Student Competitions held in Peachtree City, Ga., from Nov. 1-3. The event was co-sponsored by the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) and Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America.

Eighteen students from Mississippi State competed in the competition.

Five BCS students were part of the Design-Build category. Three BCS students and three students from MSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering joined up for the Heavy Civil category. Seven students competed as shadows, allowing them to gain exposure and experience for next year’s competition.

Mississippi State was represented well, and the Heavy Civil team received the Best Presentation award.

Tom Leathem elected director of Southeast Region of Associated Schools of Construction

November 9th, 2016 Comments Off on Tom Leathem elected director of Southeast Region of Associated Schools of Construction

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Tom Leathem (Photo by Russ Houston | Mississippi State University)

The Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Southeast Region (Region 2) held its annual student competition and conference Nov. 1 – 3 in Peachtree City, Ga.

During the conference, Mississippi State University Building Construction Science Assistant Professor Tom Leathem was elected director for ASC Region 2.

Leathem, who is finishing a three-year term as assistant director, will take over this position starting in April at the 53rd ASC International Conference and will serve a three-year term.

Born and raised in Midwest Illinois, Leathem received a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Western Illinois University in 1999. Upon completion of his degree, he spent 11 years in Chicago working in construction management positions ranging from assistant field superintendent to senior project manager and business owner. The majority of Leathem’s industry experience focused in commercial/industrial construction on project types including manufacturing, distribution warehousing, office, medical, retail and municipal. Three of his eleven years were spent as a business owner focusing in residential remodeling. In 2010, Leathem enrolled in the Master of Design Build program at Auburn University. Upon completing his degree in August 2011, Leathem worked as an Adjunct Professor in the McWhorter School of Building Science.

ASC is the professional association for the development and advancement of construction education, where the sharing of ideas and knowledge inspires, guides and promotes excellence in curricula, teaching, research and service.

Program holds career and Building Construction Clay Event

October 31st, 2016 Comments Off on Program holds career and Building Construction Clay Event

The Building Construction Science Program recently hosted an event in Starkville for contractors, friends and alumni of the program.

The 2016 Career and Building Construction Clay Event began with a career fair on Thurs., Oct. 6, from 2-6 p.m. in the studio space Howell Building.

On Friday, the Industry Advisory Board met at Burnt Oak Lodge in Crawford before students, contractors, alumni and friends joined the group for a sporting clay event.

BCS would like to thank the sponsors and participants for their support:
Brasfield & Gorrie
Century Construction
Dewalt
F.L. Crane
Flintco
Fransen Pittman
Garney
Golden Construction
Hoar
ICM
Jesco
Kiewit
Lemoine
Robins & Morton
Turner
Yates

BCS would like to specially thank Dewalt for sponsoring the tournament awards reception.

Industry Advisory Board Meeting:

(Above images via Mara Baker)
Skeet Shoot:

(Above images via Mara Baker)

Building Construction Science students visit Houston and College Station

October 25th, 2016 Comments Off on Building Construction Science students visit Houston and College Station

Images via Visiting Assistant Professor Mike Duff

By Regan Horn | BCS student

This semester, Building Construction Science third-year students in Visiting Assistant Professor Mike Duff’s studio were given the opportunity to take a field trip to Houston, Dallas and College Station, Texas. A total of eleven decided to partake in the opportunity. In a minivan van and a fifteen passenger van, the class began the almost nine-hour drive to Houston, Texas.

After checking into the hotel, the first stop was eating dinner with Campbell Slimp of Dynamic Glass at Backyard Café & Grill. Slimp talked a lot about the journey that he took to get to where he is in his life right now. He went to college thinking he would be joining the military, but after the military decided they did not need him, Campbell was forced to begin looking for jobs elsewhere. After realizing that working for a large general contractor was not for him, he chose to work for a sub-contractor. He slowly ended up working for Dynamic Glass and is happy with where he is at. The best advice that he gave was, “You are too young to be in a job that makes you unhappy.”

The next day, the group traveled to Sugar Land, Texas, to meet with Angie Barrett of Flour Construction. The group began with a tour of the facility. After the tour, the group began meeting with several different people in Flour’s many different departments. From meeting with the guy that builds the pipe models, to meeting with an intern, to meeting with the people in charge of 3D models, Flour provided a large overview of what working for an international industrial company looks like.

On the way out of Houston, the last stop was to visit Savanna Magee, Senior Project Engineer, from Webber, LLC. The site visit was a civil construction site for the expansion of Highway 290. Webber was in various stages of the project at different portions of the highway. At one location, the support columns were being formed and poured. At another location, the deck was about to be formed in preparation to pour the concrete for the deck. Overall, the experience at the Webber Construction site was definitely an experience that the group would not have been able to experience in Starkville.

Once the group arrived in College Station, Texas, the first activity the group had was attending the COSC 475 class at Texas A&M University. After sitting through a lecture style scheduling class, the MSU students were all grateful or our studio learning environment.

After driving across campus, the group met with Aaron Hodge, Texas A&M Building Construction Manager, at West Campus Agri-Life building. The group ended up chatting with him for a large amount of time and toured another building that was being built on campus.

The last stop that the group made on Texas A&M’s campus was to visit Professor Joe Horlen, Department Chair of Texas A&M Construction Science Department, to tour the COSC main building and tour the BIM Cave.

The final stop in the College Station, Texas, area was meeting with James Benham, CEO of JB Knowledge. Benham had lots of cool technology and toys that he allowed the group to play with that will be the future of the construction industry one day.

The only stop in Fort Worth was a meeting with Alec Baker of Baker Triangle. Baker Triangle was a drywall and plaster sub-contractor.

The first site visit we had in Dallas was to meet with Eddie Trejo, Assistant Project Manager, for Polk Mechanical in a renovation of a downtown Dallas Hotel. Trejo explained the difficulty of completing a mechanical project on an older building. He also explained that the majority of the sub-contractors were coordinating with BIM, but a few key sub-contractors were not, which added to the difficulty of the project. After visiting with Trejo, the group was able to visit the Grassy Knoll in downtown Dallas.

The next stop in Dallas was at EMJ Corporation. They are a general contractor that has many different divisions. They were an awesome group of people that explained everything that they do very well. The also explained their internship process, which was very valuable. We talked to several different people from several different divisions while we were there.

A few hours later, we were able to meet with Cory Pecacek, Assistant Project Manager for Whiting Turner Construction. We toured a medical facility that would deal with cancer treatment and radiation when it was completed. The facility was extremely interesting to look at due to the different precautions that had to be taken because of the radioactive material that is going to be housed in the facility.

The last visit with a company on the field trip was with Alex Allen, Project Manager for Pulte Holmes. We were able to have dinner with him and pick his brain about what it was like in the residential side of the construction industry. He provided a lot of good advice on how the residential side was different but still lucrative. He had a passion for residential home construction, which many in the group found fascinating.

For four of the members of the group, the actual last stop of the field trip was the Texas A&M versus Arkansas football game at AT&T Stadium. Jerry World was unbelievably amazing. Not only was the construction of the building awesome to look at, the atmosphere that was created was phenomenal.

Dewalt gives to Building Construction Science Program

October 12th, 2016 Comments Off on Dewalt gives to Building Construction Science Program

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Howard Lewis, National Vertical Market Manager for Stanley Black & Decker, shows off the recently donated tools in the BCS shop.

Dewalt recently gave $5,000 in new products for the Building Construction Science Construction Training Research Laboratory.

The company also sponsored the awards reception for the Sporting Clay Tournament hosted by the student chapter of the American Builders and Contractors (ABC).

Building Construction Science student featured as ‘Our People’ on university website

October 6th, 2016 Comments Off on Building Construction Science student featured as ‘Our People’ on university website

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photo by Beth Wynn | Mississippi State University

Cora N. Howell (Student)

Via msstate.edu | Our People

In 2014, Cora Howell was part of the early-entry program at Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Fate intervened, however, when she discovered a newer academic program offered by the university.

After researching the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s building construction science major, the former Kitty Lake, Alaska, resident decided to take a different career-training path.

Howell had actual construction experience since her family had built two cabins in the seemingly limitless wilderness of America’s largest state. Because the nearest city was located an hour away—by air—Howell said she and her six siblings had to be homeschooled. “My mom made sure we had a world-class education,” she proudly added.

In 2010, homeschooling continued as the family moved to the Lower 48 and the Northeast Arkansas town of Greenway. When not studying or doing homework, Howell said she was able to find work with a local landscaping and dirt contractor. In time, she became a foreman, directing a field crew.

Howell’s hands-on experience continued when she received an internship last year with Philadelphia-based Yates Construction and began working on job sites in Jackson and other locations.

Though its headquarters remain in Neshoba County, the company founded in the mid-1960s has grown dramatically, now staffing four other offices in Mississippi, as well as operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and even Central Mexico.

During the summer of 2015, Howell was transferred by Yates to Starkville to work fulltime on new MSU facilities now carrying the names of Dogwood and Deavenport residence halls, as well as the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at Nusz Hall.

“I moved up from intern scheduling coordinator to assistant superintendent,” said Howell. In that latter role, she was responsible for Dogwood’s construction field operations that included subcontractor coordination, scheduling, workplace maintenance and general problem-solving.

As an MSU junior now of Sturgis, the Shackouls Honors College member is focusing fulltime on her academic studies in CAAD’s third-year building construction science studio.

“Studio is without a doubt the most effective and efficient way to teach construction,” Howell said. “It creates a safe environment for students to both succeed and fail while applying the concepts of construction.”

After graduation next year, Howell said she hopes to find employment as a field superintendent with a general contracting firm. The ideal position would offer world-travel opportunities before focusing on a specific construction area, she added.

Given her work experiences stretching from the frozen North to steamy South and the academic preparation received on campus, it probably is a safe bet Howell’s wishes may come true.

Bulldog spirit at work: building construction science students help flood victims rebuild

September 28th, 2016 Comments Off on Bulldog spirit at work: building construction science students help flood victims rebuild

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Junior building construction science major Cora N. Howell of Kitty Lake, Alaska, was among a group of Mississippi State students who assisted with home repairs following last month’s historic flooding in south Louisiana.

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Six Mississippi State students recently teamed with members of Slidell, Louisiana-based nonprofit The Epworth Project to gut a house in Ponchatoula, one of many cities that experienced widespread damage due to last month’s historic flooding in south Louisiana. From left, the team of volunteers included senior building construction science major Regan E. Horn of Slidell, Louisiana; junior building construction science major Cora N. Howell of Kitty Lake, Alaska; Mitch Bearden with The Epworth Project; junior building construction science major Justin R. McKenzie of Hernando; junior building construction science major Jonathan L. “Jon Luke” Cave of Eads, Tennessee; sophomore mechanical engineering major Nicholas R. “Nick” Eldred of Slidell, Louisiana; Rick Eldred with The Epworth Project; freshman business administration major Ryan C. Hammers of Brentwood, Tennessee; and Ron Davis with The Epworth Project.

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(Photos by Laura Mitchell)

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

As thousands recover from last month’s historic flooding in south Louisiana and Mississippi, members of the Mississippi State Bulldog family are lending a hand to ease that process.

Senior Regan E. Horn from Slidell, Louisiana, said while her family’s home just north of New Orleans did not receive damage, she empathizes for the many others in her home state who were affected. Driven to make a difference, she sought ways to use her building construction science skills to help those in need.

“Mississippi State teaches you to have a great sense of heart,” said Horn, who aspires to a career in disaster relief. “MSU has given us so much, and it was nice to be able to give to somebody else.”

With encouragement from MSU Visiting Assistant Professor Mike Duff, Horn organized a volunteer experience recently for students in her building construction studio III course.

Horn and three classmates were joined by sophomore mechanical engineering major Nicholas R. “Nick” Eldred of Slidell, Louisiana, and freshman business administration major Ryan C. Hammers of Brentwood, Tennessee, as well as members of The Epworth Project, a Slidell-based disaster relief nonprofit for whom Horn previously worked for several years.

Accompanied by School of Architecture Coordinator Laura Mitchell, the MSU student volunteers spent one weekend gutting a home in Ponchatoula, a small city located approximately 50 miles from both New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

“It was nice to see that the staff at Mississippi State were supportive of what we were doing and wanted to help us,” said Horn.

No stranger to natural disasters, Horn relocated with her family to Slidell six months after Hurricane Katrina, which left her grandfather’s home in Pascagoula completely submerged.

“The ‘wet memories’ have stuck with me so much. I can remember smelling the same things,” Horn recalled when comparing her Katrina experience and the recent visit to Ponchatoula. “You often think of water as something that brings life, but it can tear things apart just as fast.”

Horn said the volunteer experience proved rather eye-opening for her fellow students as well.

“The hardest thing to grasp was that it wasn’t a tropical storm or hurricane, but just flat-out rain that caused it,” she said. “Everything seemed normal until we got in the house, and our group saw how everything was still wet.”

Along with improving the volunteers’ understanding of building construction materials and methods, the experience reinforced the importance of service. Representing MSU, Starkville and Mississippi also made the experience meaningful for the dedicated group of students.

Individuals who want to help citizens in the affected regions are encouraged to donate directly to the Red Cross, United Way or the Salvation Army.

To make a donation to the United Way of South Mississippi Disaster Relief Fund, visit www.unitedwaysm.org/content/disaster-relief-fund. Mississippi Region donations also may be made online at http://www.redcross.org/local/Mississippi.

Louisiana Region donation forms are available at www.unitedwaysela.org, www.redcross.org/local/Louisiana and www.salvationarmyalm.org.

For more information on Louisiana and Mississippi flood relief efforts, contact Meggan Franks, MSU assistant director of student leadership and community engagement, at 662-648-9032 or MFranks@saffairs.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Building Construction Science Program holds fall 2016 convocation

August 17th, 2016 Comments Off on Building Construction Science Program holds fall 2016 convocation

Fall 2016 convocation for the Building Construction Science Program was held on Aug. 17 in the studios of Howell Building.

Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, welcomed the group and introduced Industry Advisory Board member Tony Carroll of Sanderson Construction Inc.

Next, West introduced the new interim director of the program, current CAAD Associate Dean Greg. G. Hall, Ph.D.

Hall welcomed the students to a new year in the BCS program and introduced the returning faculty as well as new faculty before distributing information to students.

Program featured as State Spotlight

July 18th, 2016 Comments Off on Program featured as State Spotlight

Photo by Beth Wynn | Mississippi State University

Photo by Beth Wynn | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State juniors Collin J. Manuel of Biloxi and Hugh Hawkins of Gulfport demonstrate how to dismantle one of the dog houses that MSU building construction science students custom built for medium-sized dogs rescued by the Starkville-based Grassroots Animal Rescue of Mississippi Inc. Looking on are, from left, GARM volunteers Jessica and Ryan Thompson and BCS Assistant Professor Tom Leathem. Jessica Thompson also is an MSU alumna and English instructor.

Leathem’s Studio A students constructed the houses as part of a materials and methods assignment. This is the second year the group has worked on this project and donated the houses.

See the post at msstate.edu.

New career and technical education teachers train through MSU, Mississippi Department of Education partnership

June 17th, 2016 Comments Off on New career and technical education teachers train through MSU, Mississippi Department of Education partnership

CTE teachers visited Tom Leathem's summer studio class to learn about studio education.

CTE teachers visited Tom Leathem’s summer studio class to learn about studio education.

Via msstate.edu

A cohort of 94 new career and technical education (CTE) teachers have been honing their skills at Mississippi State University as part of their training and licensure to be teachers in Mississippi.

As part of the Vocational Instructor Preparation program, Mississippi State’s Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU) has implemented the New Teacher Induction (NTI) training on behalf of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).

During NTI training, RCU professionals teach new CTE teachers from across the state research-based teaching strategies, so they are prepared when the new school year begins. The training is required for all new CTE teachers without a teaching degree who are in the process of obtaining a standard license. Many of them come from industry-related professions.

“The NTI program offers teachers research-based strategies that can be used with high school students,” said Leanne Long, project manager at the RCU. “Teaching is hard work, and we hope to prepare, coach and support new educators, so they will remain in the profession.”

In the training, NTI participants attend sessions on topics such as lesson plan development, classroom management and assessment. Participants also visit industry partners in the Golden Triangle area, including some MSU faculty, gaining insight into real-life applications they can take back to their classrooms.

“It’s important to model for new teachers how they can incorporate industry into their classrooms,” said Lois Kappler, project manager at the RCU. “Making industry connections in their local areas will enhance their classroom instruction and increase the placement of students in the workforce after graduation.”

For more information on the NTI program, visit rcu.msstate.edu/Professional-Learning/VIP or contact Kappler at lois.kappler@rcu.msstate.edu.

To learn more about the RCU and its work to support public education in Mississippi, visit rcu.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.