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Local Home Builders Boost Support for Student Competitors


On hand for a recent check presentation on behalf of Pennsylvania College of Technology construction students are, from left, Marc E. Bridgens, assistant dean of construction and design technologies%3B Tom F. Gregory, dean of construction and design technologies%3B Ray Venema, owner of Susquehanna Builders Inc.%3B Bernard A. %22Barney%22 Kahn IV, instructor of building construction technology%3B and Walt D. Nyman, the college's director of general services and an executive officer of the West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association.The West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association and a business owned by one of its officers have donated another $620 to two teams of Pennsylvania College of Technology construction students to help defray the costs of competing at the upcoming International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla.

“Susquehanna Builders Inc., in conjunction with the West Branch Susquehanna Builders Association, believes we should invest in Penn College students that are highly motivated and willing to better themselves by accepting the challenge to compete with other fine colleges and universities across America at the International Builders Show,” said Ray Venema, owner of Susquehanna Builders, as well as first vice president of the association and a regional vice president of the Pennsylvania Builders Association.

Venema recently contributed $500 toward the student teams, and an additional $120 was donated by the builders association in response to his personal fund-raising challenge. The latest contribution continuing a tradition of support for the college’s student competitors is in addition to $3,200 donated in December: $2,000 from the association, $1,000 from its Women’s Council, and personal donations from association members Walt D. and Marion Nyman and Tom F. Gregory, the college’s dean of construction and design technologies.

“Over the years, Penn College continues to provide the construction industry with highly qualified management talent that has earned (our) respect,” Venema added. “A need was identified to support funding for students to travel to the International Builders Show, and our group felt we could play a small role in seeing the students have the ability to compete on a national level in Florida by contributing to the construction travel fund.”

At the School of Construction and Design Technologies office, Venema presented the latest check to college representatives on behalf of the Penn College Construction Association. Members of that group, a student chapter of the National Association of Home Builders, will travel to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando to compete in both two- and four-year categories during the Feb. 7-10 event.

On the four-year team are Hilary J. Allegretto, Williamsport; Benjamin W. Copenhaver, Reinholds; Trevor T. Krize, Birdsboro; and Thomas J. Wisse, Hackettstown, N.J. all residential construction management majors Derek J. Rinaldo, civil engineering technology, Minersville; and Matthew Divok, residential construction technology/management, Quakertown.

The two-year team comprises building construction technology majors Seth L. Culbert, Quakake; Joseph P. Hillyard, Gillett; and Brian S. Ferguson, Conneaut Lake; as well as Jason S. Detwiler, architectural technology, Liberty; and Andrew A. DeGregorio, residential construction management, North White Plains, N.Y.

Noncompeting members, representing a variety of majors, are Richard J. Kluck, Cogan Station; Meghann Stasko, Hazleton; Louis A. Rizzo III, Sugarloaf; Bradford E. Ickes, Somerset; Thomas A. Fedor, Whitehall; Nicholas R. Berry, Easton, Conn.; Brian D. Tretter, Bloomsburg; Jonathan G. McAvoy, Brick, N.J.; Wesley R. Hazelett, Lake Ariel; Andrew J. Polski, Chantilly, Va.; Ryan P. McClure, Liverpool; Peter Cecchini, Berlin, N.J.; and Devon E. Warner, Port Matilda.

Copenhaver, Krize and Fedor were members of the two-year team that brought home first-place honors at the 2005 show; Allegretto, Rinaldo and Divok were part of the two-year team that won second prize in last year’s competition. Team advisers are Bernard A. “Barney” Kahn IV, Garret L. Graff and Richard L. Druckenmiller, instructors of building construction technology.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their abilities while networking with potential employers,” Kahn noted. “The local home-builder association’s support creates the financial possibility, as well as the feeling of a worthwhile education.”

Among those on hand for the presentation were Kahn; Gregory; Marc E. Bridgens, assistant dean of construction and design technologies; and Nyman, Penn College’s director of general services and an executive officer of the WBSBA.

This year’s International Builders’ Show is expected to attract more than 1,900 manufacturers introducing their building and construction products and services in 300 industry categories. Former “Nightline” host Ted Koppel will be the keynote speaker for the show’s opening ceremonies.

For more information about academic offerings in the School of Construction and Design Technologies, call (570) 327-4518, send e-mail or visit online.

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