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.