News about Building Construction

Concrete industry welcomes tomorrow’s workforce

Apropos the hands-on education in their school of choice, Penn College students were granted access to real-world equipment.

Students and faculty oblige their hosts for a fun photo op.

Penn College construction majors traveled to Malvern this month for an eye-opening perspective on the commercial concrete industry. Instructors Franklin H. Reber and Harry W. Hintz Jr. accompanied students from their Concrete Construction (BCT238) classes on a visit to Forcine Concrete & Construction Co. “The company took a lot of consideration into the presentation of what they do,” said Josh E. Rosenberger, of Chambersburg, a residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration major. “We got our hands on everything from power trowels to pump trucks to total stations. We sat through several information sessions throughout the day pertaining to Forcine and its sister company, Durable Surfaces. Coming from a residential background, I was flabbergasted to hear that they pour over 1,000 yards of concrete per day with a crew of five or six.” Students were permitted to operate equipment – both at headquarters and at a nearby site where a pour had just occurred – and were given an extensive tour of the facility. “Forcine Concrete is very encouraged to finally have found a partner in Penn College that is teaching the next generation work skills that we can utilize in our growing industry,” said Derek Cressman, president of Durable Surfaces, who, given the caliber of students that visited, said company officials look forward to maintaining the relationship with the college. Of the students in attendance, five are enrolled in the concrete science technology major that began during the just-ended Fall 2018 semester (and can be completed in only one year beyond a building construction technology degree). The first cohort of students from the new major will enter their internship experience this summer.
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PCCA lends helping, heartfelt hand

Representing the Penn College Construction Association, School of Construction & Design Technologies students and faculty deliver on a service project. Seated (from left) are Michael J. Deragon, of Fort Washington; Kachine L. Fry, of Butler; and Anthony B. Harris, of Reading. Back row (from left) are Barney A. Kahn IV, building construction technology instructor; Hayden N. Beiter, of Williamsport; Matthew M. Hober, of Basking Ridge, N.J.; and Jared J. Stiefel, of Norristown.

A holiday wish by the Ronald McDonald House in Danville Inc. –  a home away from home for families with ill children – has been granted by the Penn College Construction Association, which purchased the materials, then designed, constructed and donated a picnic table for the facility’s playground. “PCCA did an amazing job and created a picnic table and seating for our families to enjoy during the warm weather. However, the faculty and students’ kindness goes beyond the picnic table,” RMH executive director Michael J. Turlis said. “They donated a place where families can sit and experience time outside away from the hospital and to gather their thoughts. They donated a place where a family can have a meal together, which allows them to keep a sense of normalcy during a very difficult time of their lives.  They donated a place where families will gather to help each other cope. For these reasons, we cannot express our gratitude enough to the Penn College Construction Association!”
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A lion’s share of knowledge

Tape measure at the ready, Andrew R. Hurd, a building construction technology student from Spring Mills, assesses a visitor's block-laying performance.

Luse shares pointers with Julia R. Straub, a Penn State student well-acquainted with construction through her family's experience in the field. "I've been playing with plumbing since I was 8," she said, "but they never let me do the dirty work." Until now, that is!

Highly visible in neon T-shirts, building construction technology majors Ian R. Myers (left), of Morrisdale, and James G. Vile Jr., of Sheffield, supervise several courses of brickwork.

Keith C. Long, of Pitman, leads Penn State students through a longstanding crowd-pleaser: archway construction. Long is enrolled in building construction technology: masonry emphasis.

More than 30 landscape architecture students of David Goldberg and Marc Miller, assistant professors in Penn State’s Stuckeman School, visited the Construction Masonry Building on Thursday. The day’s guests received hands-on instruction in a variety of technique and materials, circulating among work stations and mentored by adept Penn College construction students. Instructors Robert P. Gresko and Glenn R. Luse rotated along with them, sharing encouragement and expertise, and industry supporters aided the cause – including Spec Mix, which is also supplying mortar for the nearby expansion of welding labs. Architecture majors from University Park visit the college’s School of Construction & Design Technologies twice a year, getting practical exposure to the craft involved in bringing their visionary plans into focus.

BE Scholars visit Larson Design Group

Built Environment Scholars tour LDG's Williamsport headquarters ...

... getting a real-world feel for their eventual careers.

The School of Construction & Design Technologies’ second-year cohort of Built Environment Scholars visited Larson Design Group on Tuesday. The 14 students – accompanied by Carol A. Lugg, dean, and Naim N. Jabbour, assistant dean – toured LDG’s newly renovated state-of-the-art office space in Water Tower Square, and had a discussion with project designer (and 2006 architectural technology alumna) Kara Demmien and Vice President Robert Gehr. Topics included the state of architectural practice today, as well as possible future trends, the importance of creating collaborative open environments, and the significance of an interdisciplinary team approach within the construction and design industry. The first-year students have been awarded scholarships through a $1 million National Science Foundation grant that aims to increase retention, graduation and career readiness for enrollees in Penn College’s STEM-focused majors. The 2018-19 class represents architectural technology; building construction technology; civil engineering technology; heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology; and surveying technology.
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Setting the stage

Penn College graduates (from left) Jeffrey T. Feeman, Eric T. Metzler and Franklin N. Carr have found a calling at Sight & Sound Theatres, where audiences are awed by the on-stage results of their behind-the-scenes work.

Three alumni use their skills to craft scenery and on-stage technology for the panoramic stage at Sight & Sound Theatres in Lancaster.

From the Fall 2018 Penn College Magazine: Three graduates’ craftsmanship wows audiences of more than a million a year at Sight & Sound Theatres. Read “Setting the Stage.”


Concrete students stay on task, rain or shine

As Hintz and some of his students provide shelter from the storm, trowel-wielding construction majors smooth the freshly poured and leveled concrete.

Reber (in plaid shirt at left) supervises students running a screed board across the new sidewalk.

Sticking to the game plan in spite of earlier-than-expected showers, Concrete Construction students made “teamwork” their byword on Wednesday morning. With Centre Concrete’s conveyor truck in place south of the Bush Campus Center – and typical hands-on assistance from instructors Franklin H. Reber and Harry W. Hintz Jr. – the classes employed curricular know-how, common sense and a number of tarps to shield the new sidewalks from the elements during and after the pour. Providing opportunities to sharpen classroom skills in practical laboratory settings is a decades-old tradition across Penn College’s many disciplines, and this semester’s addition of a two-year degree in concrete science has only made that institutional hallmark more enduring.

Child’s Dream Matches Penn College’s Mission

A school assignment required 9-year-old Trevin Allen to write about his dream. Rather than being a famous athlete, musician or movie star, the youngster expressed a desire to work as a computer designer in the plastics industry for SEKISUI SPI, which employs his father, Lucas L., a 2001 Penn College graduate in building construction technology. Trevin’s “essay” sparked a visit to main campus, where he experienced CAD, the new makerspace and various plastics labs. Trevin’s wish for applied technology education – offered by the likes of Penn College – matches the needs of the workforce, which is grappling with a shortage of skilled professionals. Many Penn College students, especially plastics majors, have jobs lined up well before graduation. The college has a 96 percent graduate placement rate. Trevin’s word to describe his visit? “Cool!”

Newscast Features Students’ Work on Veterans Memorial

Papa tells the story in front of a group of Penn College students who just completed their work for the morning.

Luse displays plans for the project for WNEP photographer Tom Durant.

WNEP-TV reporter Kristina Papa spent Friday morning with a group of Penn College students whose class project honors the ultimate sacrifice. Approximately 25 masonry, site preparation and concrete students are working three days a week in helping to construct a wall of monuments at Veterans Memorial Park in Williamsport. The memorial will honor those who served in wars prior to World War I. Papa’s story includes interviews with building construction technology students Ian R. Myers, of Morrisdale, and Kurtis J. Klodnicki, of Danville, as well as instructors Harry W. Hintz and Glenn R. Luse.
Photos by Tom Speicher, writer/video editor

Construction Faculty Featured in HELP Grant Video College is included in a National Housing Endowment video that highlights this year’s recipients of Homebuilding Education Leadership Program funding. The college was awarded a $73,838 HELP grant in February after a yearlong effort by Levon A. Whitmyer and Barney A. Kahn IV, building construction technology instructors, and Carol A. Lugg, now dean of construction and design technologies. The seven-minute video, posted to the NHE website, includes interviews with Whitmyer and Kahn (beginning at about the 3:55 mark). The HELP initiative began more than a decade ago, encouraging colleges and universities to create, expand and enhance residential construction management programs.

Member of College’s Construction Faculty Attends D.C. Symposium

Levon A. Whitmyer

An instructor of building construction technology was among the participants at a recent Residential Construction Professors Symposium in the nation’s capital, gaining perspective on relevant industry topics and exemplifying the practicality of a Pennsylvania College of Technology education.

Levon A. Whitmyer joined counterparts from Michigan State, LSU, Kennesaw State, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the University of North Florida – all of which, like Penn College, are recipients of Homebuilding Education Leadership Program grants from the National Association of Home Builders.

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Fourteen Incoming Students Chosen as 2018-19 ‘BE Scholars’

Fourteen of this fall’s first-year students in construction and design majors at Pennsylvania College of Technology have been selected as Built Environment Scholars in a program that rewards academic talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields.

Scholarship funding up to an annual $10,000 per student is awarded through a $1 million National Science Foundation grant that aims to increase retention, graduation and career readiness for students in six of Penn College’s STEM-focused pursuits.

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Penn College Presents Distinguished Teaching Awards

Joanna K. Flynn, associate professor of mathematics, was presented with the highest honor accorded to Penn College faculty – the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award – at Spring 2018 Commencement. She is shown here with Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

Three Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty members were honored during Spring 2018 Commencement ceremonies for their outstanding teaching abilities.

Joanna K. Flynn, associate professor of mathematics, was presented with the highest honor accorded to Penn College faculty: the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award.

Two other faculty members received Excellence in Teaching Award recognition: Edwin G. Owens, associate professor and department head for mathematics, and Thomas J. Mulfinger, associate professor of building construction technology.

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SkillsUSA Competitors Strike Gold; 21 Students Headed to Nationals

SkillsUSA Pennsylvania

Nearly all 27 members of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s SkillsUSA team – 21 of them advancing to the 54th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky – earned medals during recent state competition.

The competitors represent majors across four of Penn College’s academic schools, and the theme for the April 18-20 Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference in Hershey couldn’t have been more fitting for students gaining career-making skills in hands-on fashion: “Champions at Work: Job-Ready, Day One.”

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Rebuilding Nepal

A helicopter lands in a Himalayan village to transport Daniel J. LaSota, ’09, to his next assignment. LaSota is a project manager for Steadfast Nepal, helping to replace homes destroyed by 2015 earthquakes.

From the Spring 2018 Penn College Magazine: Residential construction technology and management graduate Daniel J. LaSota, ’09, builds sustainable, earthquake-resistant homes in remote Himalayan villages. Read “Rebuilding Nepal.”

Today’s Students Mentor Tomorrow’s ‘Women in Construction’

Teamwork in the lab

Girls in ninth through 12 grades visited Pennsylvania College of Technology on Friday for a hands-on exploration of careers in construction and design.

The daylong “Framing Your Future” event introduced 42 participants to the industry’s vast career opportunities; included a networking lunch with guest speaker Angie (Martinozzi) Moore, a May 2015 construction management alumna and an assistant project manager at Wickersham Construction & Engineering Inc. in Lancaster; and provided a dialogue with current college students.

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