Construction Management students compete in international event

ECU students Leanna Becker, Ben Avolis, Courtney Carter, Dylan Hutchinson, Brantlee Jobe and Alex Littleton (pictured left to right) competed in the international Residential ConstructionManagement Competition. (Contributed photo)

ECU students Leanna Becker, Ben Avolis, Courtney Carter, Dylan Hutchinson, Brantlee Jobe and Alex Littleton (pictured left to right) competed in the international Residential Construction Management Competition. (Contributed photo)

By Erin Acree
ECU Department of Construction Management

Six students from East Carolina University’s Department of Construction Management competed last month in the Residential Construction Management Competition at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas.

The 34 teams that participated from universities and colleges throughout the United States represented the top 2 percent of students in their field across the country.

The competition gave participants the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction project by completing a management proposal to develop a pre-selected plot of land. Proposals were submitted to a group of construction company executives who acted as judges. During the convention, students defended their proposals to the judges in front of an audience.

ECU students placed in the top half of the teams competing and they hope to be selected to compete again next year. Leanna Becker, Ben Avolis, Courtney Carter, Dylan Hutchinson, Brantlee Jobe and Alex Littleton attended. Alternates were Megan Sommer, Logan Hahm and Kacie Wolcott, who will serve on the team in 2015. Dr. Eric Connell served as advisor.

The International Builders’ Show is the premier event for National Association of Home Builders student chapters to network with builders from across the country. The competition, held during the show, gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to solve construction-related problems by working on real-life construction projects. There are three levels of competition: four-year programs, two-year programs and secondary school programs.

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Technology Systems faculty receive awards

ECU technology systems professor Dr. Hamid Fonooni (right) receives an award from Rick Pollock, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers. (Contributed photos)

ECU technology systems professor Dr. Hamid Fonooni (right) receives an award from Rick Pollock, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers. (Contributed photos)

Two faculty members in the East Carolina University Department of Technology Systems in the School of Technology and Computer Science have been honored with professional awards.

Dr. Hamid Fonooni

Dr. Hamid Fonooni received the Dr. William E. Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator Award for exemplary achievements in safety, health and environmental education.

Sponsored by the ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers) and PPG Industries, the award is the highest honor a safety educator can receive. It recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and professional services as part of the ASSE.

As award recipient, Fonooni presented at the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisations in Canada. He was the only invited speaker from the United States representing academia.

Fonooni teaches in ECU’s master’s of occupational safety progam

Dr. Robert Chin

Dr. Robert Chin

Dr. Robert Chin

Dr. Robert Chin received the Orthogonal Medal, honoring outstanding contributions to the advancement of graphic science. The award is recognized nationally as one of the most respected in the field of engineering graphics.

In April, Chin will serve as the 2014 Distinguished Lecturer at the 30th Annual Distinguished Lecture series offered by the technology, engineering and design engineering faculty at North Carolina State University.

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ECU students meet pharmaceutical reps, discuss jobs

ECU students enjoyed an opportunity to meet with pharmaceutical company representatives during an open house on campus. (Photos by Margaret Turner, ECU College of Technology and Computer Science)

ECU students enjoyed the opportunity to meet with pharmaceutical company representatives during an open house on campus. (Photos by Margaret Turner, ECU College of Technology and Computer Science)

A pharmaceutical open house on campus provided assistance to ECU students in networking and securing jobs upon graduation.

The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry and the College of Technology and Computer Science cohosted the pharmaceutical open house Sept. 25 in the Science and Technology Building.

Dr. John C. Sutherland, interim dean of Harriot College, and Dr. David White, dean of the College of Technology and Computer Science, presented introductory remarks at the event, which was attended by more than 87 ECU students and alumni. Both encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunity before them, with the first event of this type being offered.

“There are many great employment opportunities in the pharmaceutical field for our graduates,” White said.  He further encouraged students to “seek out opportunities for internships and co-ops to best prepare for these great jobs.”

Representatives in attendance from pharmaceutical companies across eastern North Carolina included DSM (Greenville); Hospira (Rocky Mount); Metrics (Greenville); PCI: Pharmaceutical Calibrations and Instrumentation, LLC (multiple locations); Purdue Pharma, L.P. (Wilson); Sequence, Inc. (multiple locations); The West Company (Kinston); and Novo Nordisk (Clayton).

Students were able to meet with the various representatives, ask questions, present their resumes and participate in impromptu interviews.

“We want to help students find jobs that will further their careers and also keep them in North Carolina,” said David Harrawood, event organizer. “ECU has a tremendous impact on the economic development of eastern NC. Offering an event such as this displays our commitment to furthering that development across our region.”

Dr. Rickey Hicks, chair of the Department of Chemistry, said, “Overall, the company representatives said they were very happy with the training, experience and professionalism of ECU’s students. They had their resumes, asked good questions and were engaged in the process.”

“The event was a great success. Our students gained valuable experience through the interview process and learned about potential career opportunities in eastern North Carolina.”

An open house on campus helped students meet with potential employers in the pharmaceutical industry.

An open house on campus helped students meet with potential employers in the pharmaceutical industry.

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ECU students take construction management skills to Vegas

CMGT Team

An ECU team from construction management traveled to Las Vegas to participate in the National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters’ Residential Construction Management Competition.

 

Six construction management students from East Carolina University competed this January in the National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters’ Residential Construction Management Competition in Las Vegas.

The event is part of the annual International Builder’s Show.

To participate, each chapter’s team was asked to design a residential development of a piece of land that spanned 118 acres, and included a portion that was zoned for commercial use. They were asked to develop a plan for acquiring financing to purchase the land, prepare a construction budget and schedule, a marketing and risk analysis and a project site and land development plan. Green building initiatives were also to be considered.

The juniors and seniors representing ECU were Brandon Haddock, Brantlee Jobe, Matthew Lorbacher, Chris Pecorino, Collin Silverthorne, and Kaitlyn Umphlet.

The students spent hundreds of hours during the fall semester – including time during their holiday break – meeting the project guidelines and designing a presentation for the competition. They consulted with a local developer and engineers to get feedback on their proposal.

After arriving in Las Vegas, the team presented their design proposal before a panel of five judges who are currently top contractors and developers from across the nation. Every team member had to speak before the panel.

“It was a great real-world learning experience that you can’t always get in a classroom,” said senior Matthew Lorbacher. “It showed me how competitive it is in this business and how important it is to have every detail correct.”

The ECU team placed 13th out of 31 schools. It was first team to compete for ECU in more than two years.

College of Technology and Computer Science’s industry partner Caterpillar Inc. helped pay for the students’ travel costs. Ron Sessoms, team advisor and teaching instructor in the Department of Construction Management accompanied them on the trip.

“The experience is unbelievable for these students” Sessoms said. “In the designing of the project, they extend the knowledge of what they have learned in the classroom.”

“Competitions are great learning experiences for our students,” agreed Dr. David White, dean of the College of Technology and Computer Science. “We are proud that our team carried on the tradition of excellence and leadership that is associated with construction management at ECU. “

The students did enjoy one day of leisure while in the Las Vegas area. They traveled to see the Hoover Dam – a famous example of a massive construction project.

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ECU names department chair for Technology Systems

Mohammed mug

Mohammed

The College of Technology and Computer Science at ECU has named Dr. Tijjani (TJ) Mohammed as the chair for the Department of Technology Systems (formerly the Department of Industrial Technology).

Mohammed has been employed as a faculty member of East Carolina University for 16 years. He most recently served as the interim chair of the department for two and a half years.

He has served in various other capacities, including as graduate advisor for several master’s and PhD students, and as coordinator for the Digital Communications and Computer Networking Management concentrations and the Computer Network Professional Graduate Certificate program.

“I was surprised and humbled that I was one of the faculty’s top picks for the chair position,” Mohammed said. “It is very exciting to work in a department that has houses accessible technology programs in high-demand fields that directly impact regional and statewide economic development.”

Mohammed received his B.S. in Technical Education from the University of Central Missouri, an M.S. in Electronics and Computer Technology from Indiana State University, and holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Education from Texas A&M.  He has a strong history of collaboration on a variety of externally funded projects and on a number of publications in information and computer technology and related areas.

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