Tag Archives: Construction Management

Exploring Dunwoody Electrical Degrees

An in-depth look at two of Dunwoody’s fastest-growing programs: Electrical Construction Design & Management and Electrical Construction & Maintenance

Magic.

That’s how Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor Polly Friendshuh describes electricity to her students on their first day of lecture.

“When you think about it, you are teaching someone something that is basically invisible to the naked eye,” Friendshuh said. “It is something you cannot see. So how do we make sense out of that?”

IMG_2644If a career in magic—or electricity—seems abstract to you, you’re not alone.

“Most of the students who come to talk to us about the Electrical Construction & Maintenance program don’t have an understanding of what the program really is,” said Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor Steve Lee. “They have a picture in their head of wiring a house or doing some kind of small or large commercial project—and that’s it.

“But there’s more than that. It’s troubleshooting, servicing, installation, and repair in any facet that you can think of where there is electricity. It’s more than just the plug-ins and the lights you see in your house.”

Some of those facets include electrical systems like renewable energy, solar power, elevators, batteries, fire alarms, and security.

But finding an interest in electricity is only just the beginning. The next step is determining what career path to take. 

Exploring Dunwoody Electrical Construction Design & Management and Electrical Construction & Maintenance

Dunwoody College offers associate’s degrees in Electrical Construction Design & Management and Electrical Construction & Maintenance.

Dunwoody Electrical Design & Management students presenting final design projects to industry partners

Dunwoody Electrical Design & Management student presenting final design projects to industry partners

Generally speaking, students who pursue a degree in Electrical Construction Design & Management work indoors, using computer software programs like AutoCAD and Revit to design construction documents. They work directly with architects and building owners to determine what kinds of electrical systems are logical and possible in a new or existing structure.

Common job titles for program graduates include Electrical Designers, Electrical Estimators, and Electrical Project Managers. On average, these workers make about $54,300 annually and are typically employed at electrical contracting companies or engineering firms.

Students who graduate from Dunwoody’s Electrical Construction & Maintenance take the proposals put forth by electrical designers and help make it happen. It’s their job to ensure the submitted blueprints are up to code and that the proposed designs will actually work in the given space.

Dunwoody Electrical Construction & Maintenance student practices residential wiring inside Dunwoody's onsite house

Dunwoody Electrical Construction & Maintenance student practices residential wiring inside Dunwoody’s onsite house

Using their main tools of screwdrivers, benders, and wire cutters, these workers spend their days installing and maintaining electrical systems in a wide array of buildings, from residential to commercial to industrial and manufacturing.

Graduates from this program go on to become Apprentice or Maintenance Electricians, which make, on average, $58,810 annually.*

But, no matter the path, both electrical designers and electricians work hand-in-hand.

“We’re really two sides of the same blueprint,” said Electrical Design & Management Senior Instructor Nick Bohl. “It’s just a matter of figuring out whether you want to be the person creating and designing the blue prints or if you want to be the person who brings it to life.”

Choosing the right career path

But, sometimes that decision isn’t always obvious—especially for students right out of high school. That’s why Dunwoody’s electrical department is purposefully set-up so students in both the Electrical Construction Design & Management and Electrical Construction & Maintenance programs take the exact same classes their first year.

Dunwoody Electrical Construction & Maintenance student trains on actual equipment during lab time

This provides a chance for students who are interested in electrical systems—but don’t yet know what path they’d like to take—an opportunity to experience both professions.

“Usually when you go to college, you have to pick a major. And for someone right out of high school or someone relatively young, that’s hard because you’re looking at your future and thinking ‘what do I do?’” Friendshuh said.

“So the opportunity to experience both paths helps tremendously. It’s a huge selling point of the programs for a lot of people, because students can come in, see both careers, and know they won’t be stuck.”

The course schedule also provides students with another major benefit: the ability to complete both programs—and earn both associate’s degrees—in just three years.

“It’s unbelievable what opens up for you when you have got both the hands-on skills and the computer/design skills,” Lee said.

Dunwoody Construction Management student verifying blueprints

Dunwoody Construction Management student verifying blueprints

Another career path available to both program graduates is in project management. Dunwoody’s Construction Management bachelor’s completion degree allows students to transfer their two-year electrical degree directly into a four-year bachelors degree in Construction Management.

Two additional years of schooling allows graduates to quickly move up in their given industries, taking on leadership roles such as Project Manager, Construction Manager, Estimator, or Construction Business Owner.

As managers, graduates can expect to oversee the work of both the designers and the electricians. They develop building schedules and estimates, monitor build progress, and track construction costs to make sure the project gets done on time and within budget.

The average annual salary for employees in these positions is around $90,470.*

Dunwoody graduates in high demand

Graduates from all three programs are in high demand. In fact, Electrical Construction Design & Management, Electrical Construction & Maintenance, and Construction Management each placed 100% of their students last year.**

And, in many cases, those students were hired while they were still in school.

Dunwoody Electrical students touring the new U.S. Bank Stadium

Dunwoody Electrical students touring the new U.S. Bank Stadium

“These students are hirable,” Friendshuh said. “Most electrical students are working by their first year—in their field. If you want a job and you want options, this career path is it.”

Bohl agreed: “Our students hit the ground [running]. They come out of the program knowing not only the job but they have the experience, too,” Bohl said.

And employers know it.

Recent graduates are working at companies like Egan Companies, Hunt Electric Corporation, Black & Veatch, Cal-Tex Electric, Laketown Electric, Kimley-Horn & Associates, Ryan Companies, Mortenson Construction, and with various local unions.

The bottom line? Dunwoody electrical programs provide students access to multiple career paths and the skills and knowledge to tackle any one of them. Whether it’s construction, maintenance, design, low voltage, high voltage, estimating, sales, or project management—Dunwoody’s programs help students find their niche and then succeed in their chosen field.

Learn more

If either electrical program, or construction management, sounds interesting to you, attend our next open house on, Tuesday, June 13. Stop by anytime from 3 – 7 p.m. and meet with faculty, tour lab spaces, and talk curriculum. It’s not too late to enroll for fall semester.

Discover additional highlights of Dunwoody’s Electrical Construction Design & Management and Electrical Construction & Maintenance programs.


*Based on May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for the state of Minnesota published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov. 

**Data reflects placement for AY2015-16 graduates indicating employment in their field of study within 6 months following graduation. Full data calculations are available for review during College open hours Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT at Career Services or contact careerservices@dunwoody.edu.

Construction Management program receives $60,000 grant

Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay and Instructor Jon Hassenfritz hold large $60,000 check at the NAHB 2016 Residential Construction Management Competition

Photo courtesy of NAHB Student Chapter’s Facebook page

Dunwoody College of Technology is thrilled to announce the Construction Management program has received a $60,000 grant from the National Housing Endowment Foundation’s Homebuilding Education Leadership Program (HELP).

The National Housing Endowment is a philanthropic arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which aims to increase education and training opportunities for future leaders in the residential construction industry. HELP awards grants to leading colleges and universities in an effort to create or improve residential construction management programs.

“We applied for the grant because we did not have a strong residential construction focus in the classroom,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management Program Manager. “As a result, students weren’t going into the residential field. There was an interest, but we just didn’t have that knowledge in the classroom. This grant, and our program’s recent faculty hires, will change that.”

Specifically, the $60,000 donation will be used to:

  • Train faculty and students to be Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) and Certified Green Professionals (CGP).
  • Enhance relationships with industry through organized site visits, a lecture series, and various guest speakers/presentations.
  • Increase admissions outreach by targeting high school students in residential construction classes or skilled trades people looking to advance in their career.

Gay said that the outreach plans and any success stories will also be shared with other interested colleges. Gay as well as members of HELP hope that this form of open dialogue will encourage collaboration among all colleges with a residential construction program.

Learn more about Construction Management.

CFMA continues history of Dunwoody-giving, awards Construction Management student with scholarship

Construction Management student and CFMA scholarship winner Justin Brastad The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)—a nonprofit organization devoted to enhancing the education of today’s construction financial professionals—has awarded its fourth Dunwoody scholarship to Construction Management student Justin Brastad.

The CFMA has a long history of giving to the College, awarding Dunwoody with multiple student scholarships and a generous endowed scholarship over the last several years.

CFMA’s support goes beyond financial assistance

“The goal of the scholarship program is to promote accounting, finance and management careers in the construction industry,” CFMA Scholarship Chairperson Michael Michelsen said. “It is our intent to improve the perception of the value and impact that a career in construction can have for both the industry and the individual.”

The giving doesn’t stop there: members of the CFMA Twin Cities have also joined the College’s Program Advisory Committee; participated in student capstone presentations; and have conducted several presentations to Dunwoody classes, focusing on topics like construction risk management and cash flow management.

Scholarship provides tuition relief for Justin

Justin, a Junior this year, says receiving this scholarship means a great deal to him.

“Being a college student and full-time employee is a huge task in itself,” he said. “On top of that, trying to pay for college and books can be overwhelming. I am very grateful for this scholarship and am honored to have been the one selected to receive it.”

The award will be put towards Justin’s remaining tuition at Dunwoody. Upon graduation, Justin hopes to become a Construction Estimator.

“I am on the right path to do so, but have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “I want to continue to grow and see how far I can push myself in industry. Wherever that takes me, I will be happy. I just want to be able to make a difference.”

Construction Management adds faculty as demand for program grads continues

A rise in the number of students enrolled in Construction Management has led to the addition of two new faculty members. The increase in enrollment is both mirrored and fueled by the growth of the Minnesota construction industry.

“We went from graduating 12 students last spring to anticipating graduating 45 this spring,” said Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay. “Construction has really come back…with a vengeance you even might say.”

Student growth brings expert faculty to campus

In an effort to accommodate the high number of interested students and the increase in job openings, Gay–who helped launch the Construction Management Bachelor’s Degree in 2012–hired Jon Hassenfritz and Rick Larrabee to join her team.

Photo of Construction Management Instructor Jon Hassenfritz

Jon Hassenfritz

Hassenfritz graduated from Dunwoody with an associate’s degree in Architectural Drafting & Estimating in 2007. After graduation, Hassenfritz joined several remodeling companies where he worked as a drafter, estimator, project manager, and salesman. Despite being new to teaching, Hassenfritz says that his recent career move into higher education has been “a very positive change.”

“I wanted to share my knowledge and help educate the future of the industry that I love,” said Hassenfritz. “I have always wanted to teach, and Dunwoody and this program are a great fit.”

Larrabee, who founded Master Builders–a general contracting business specializing in residential and light commercial construction, is also enjoying his new position.

“I appreciate the student demographics here at Dunwoody. There is a greater percentage of non-traditional students as well as students who already have construction experience. Both groups are serious about their education and are excited to be in your class, which makes teaching much more enjoyable,” he said.

Photo of Construction Management Instructor Rick Larrabee

Rick Larrabee

Larrabee brings with him many years of teaching experience. He previously taught Construction Management at UW-Stout and carpentry at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Larrabee says he decided to teach at Dunwoody because he knew the College valued “industry experience and hands-on, applied learning.”

New faculty members help improve residential construction curriculum

Both Larrabee and Hassenfritz started earlier this year and are currently full-time Construction Project Management faculty members. Since then, the Construction Management team has made a number of enhancements to the program, including improvements to the residential construction curriculum. The Construction Management team believes that these improvements will allow program graduates to enter the workforce with more career paths and better job opportunities.

“It’s what makes our program so unique,” Gay said. “With a degree in Construction Management, you can be a Project Manager, Field Engineer, Sales Manager, etc. Sometimes degrees can be so specialized you really only have one path–that’s not the case for our graduates.”

Larrabee also suspects the high need for Construction Management graduates will not falter anytime soon. “The Department of Labor projects shortages of qualified Construction Managers and skilled workers for the next several years, making jobs in the construction industry even more appealing to students making career choices,” he said. “It really is a great time for our students to be graduating from our Construction Management programs.”

Learn more about Construction Management

Dunwoody Construction Management is a stackable bachelor’s degree program. Students start by earning a certificate or an associate’s degree from Dunwoody’s two-year Construction Project Management program. Interested applicants—as well as transfer students—can then earn their bachelor’s degree in Construction Management after an additional two years of study.

Graduates of the Construction Management program take on a wide array of professional roles including project managers, construction managers, estimators, drafters, business leaders and entrepreneurs. The average annual salary for Construction Managers in the state of Minnesota is $90,340*.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Construction Project Management and Construction Management programs.

 

 * Based on May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for the state of Minnesota published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov.

 

Dunwoody & Mortenson Construction Win “Best Meal Award” at 2015 CANstruction

Team Donates 6,000 + Canned Goods to Second Harvest Heartland

IMG_2033-smallDunwoody’s Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department teamed up with Mortenson Construction for the 2015 Minneapolis CANstruction fundraiser—an annual event where participating teams build colossal structres made entirely out of cans of food.

The CANstruction team earned the “Best Meal” Award at the event, which was held at the Mall of America last month. The award is given annually to the team that uses the most nourishing, protein-packed food items.

Proceeds from the Minneapolis event were given to Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization.

There are over 150 CANstruction events held throughout the world each year.

Minnesota History Inspires 2015 CANstruction Sculpture Theme

IMG_8751-smallThe 2015 sculpture—designed and built by Interior Design and Construction Management students–was themed “Feast Like a Viking.” Cans of beans, tomatoes, vegetables and coconut milk made up the ship—complete with oars, a mast, sail and dragon head—while cans of tuna were used to represent ocean waves.

The CANstruction team chose the Viking theme because it represents the rich history of Minnesota. The voyage of Leif Erikson—who is often considered to be the first European to discover America—was recreated in 1927, with a final landed in Duluth, Minnesota. Journal entries from that expedition were kept and often detailed the crew’s difficulty in finding fresh fish and ripe vegetables.

This inspired the CANstruction team’s motto, which is “no-one’s ‘voyage through life’ should be limited by hunger”…especially today.

CANstruction Provides Students with Beneficial, Real World Experience

The entire project lasted about five weeks. During that time, Mortenson Construction and Dunwoody students not only designed the sculpture but also collected more than 6,000 cans of food.

Interior Design Principal Instructor and CANstruction Coordinator Cindy Martimo said that although the students were working with canned goods, the project did require students to use skills and best practices they would also perform on a real job.

“It required two very different departments to work together—especially on build day,” said Martimo. “Only five people could build at a time. So those who weren’t building had to provide various levels of support to the builders by unpacking boxes, passing cans, etc. The team had to practice time management, communicate with one another, follow a set of plans, and ultimately create the structure they designed.”

Click below to view a timelapse video of the CANstruction team assembling the sculpture at the event.

This is the fourth year the Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department has participated in a CANstruction event, and, according to Martimo, the students support and dollars raised grow each time.

“The event has really become a great opportunity for our students,” she said. “They get to be creative, design something and raise money for charity. In addition, their creations are judged by the very people who might someday offer them a job. The other teams out on the floor are all architecture and engineering firms. These are people that the students will be working with –or be hired by–one day. To have that kind of industry presence and to be able to add the CANstruction event to their resumes is very beneficial.”

Get Involved in CANstruction 2016

The Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department plans to continue the event next year. The project is open to all students in the Department. 

To get involved in CANstruction 2016, contact Cindy Martimo at cmartimo@dunwoody.edu.

 

A big thank you to this year’s sponsors: Mortenson Construction, Parsons Electric, Custom Drywall, and Ames Construction

Dunwoody-Built Fish House To Be Raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities Fundraiser

Exterior photo of Dunwoody College student-built fish house.Over the last seven months, Dunwoody students and faculty have been building a one-of-a-kind, luxury fish house. The house is part of a fundraising project for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, which makes critical home repairs for Twin Cities’ homeowners in need.

The 128 square-foot house was designed and built by Dunwoody students and faculty from Construction Management, Interior Design, Welding, and HVAC Installation & Residential Service programs.

The fish house will be raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities’ Flannel Fling event on Friday, Oct. 30, at Nicollet Island Pavilion. The fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. and will also include a live and silent auction; local craft beer; dinner; live entertainment; games and much more.

Raffle tickets for the fish house are $20 each with proceeds benefiting Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and Dunwoody College of Technology.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, contact Heather Gay at hgay@dunwoody.edu.

Multiple programs benefit from new fabrication lab

Architecture student Roman Zastavskiy and President Rich Wagner assemble a chair model created using a laser cutter.

Architecture student Roman Zastavskiy and President Rich Wagner assemble a chair model created using a laser cutter.

Students in Architecture, Interior Design, Construction Management and Graphic Design now have access to a new, state-of-the-art fabrication lab located in Red 67.

Rocky Phandanouvong and Tyler Barres.

Rocky Phandanouvong and Tyler Barres.

The “fab lab”—also referred to as “digital fabrication lab” (dLab)—is a hands-on laboratory that provides students with the necessary resources for material testing, prototyping, product design and development, visualization, and digital fabrication at all scales.

“The fab lab fulfills Dunwoody’s mission to provide a hands-on education that serves the industries in need,” said Architecture Program Manager John Dwyer. “Architecture is expanding its role into computational design and digital fabrication to create buildings with greater performance.  This gives students the capacity to gain the skills for these emerging professional tracks.”

Josh Kulus

Josh Kulus

Among the fab lab’s tools relevant to the architecture industry are: model making and prototyping tools (laser cutter/engraver, small sander, small table saw and dremel); full-scale fabrication tools (CNC router); and product design and development tools (3D printer). Future fab lab tools will include a large format laser cutter, vinyl cutter, mini mill and portable 3D printers.

Interior Design students will use the fab lab for prototyping and testing product concepts for improvements and innovations. “The actual making helps to reinforce a true hands-on educational experience unique to our college—and so important to our students learning,” said Interior Design Principal Instructor Colleen Schmaltz.

Construction Management students will focus on collaboration with other disciplines in the fab lab. Program Manager Heather Gay said: “We plan on working with Architecture, Interior Design, and Graphic Design on multidisciplinary projects such as model building, cost and buildability analyses, and full-scale construction.”

The Graphic Design department will use the fab lab to cut larger retail display components than their new Kongsberg V20 table can handle and also to possibly create 3D-printed prototypes to stand in as product samples and enrich the package design process.

“The other programs will be using Graphic Design’s new CAD table as well for their furniture design and model making when they can,” said Graphic Design Principal Instructor Pete Rivard. “Our table has expandable tooling options that extend it beyond paper and corrugated and allow materials such as plastic, vinyl, wood and aluminum to be cut so there are options available to Architecture and Interior Design to share the cost of tools while making the Kongsberg table available to more Dunwoody students.”

Rivard added that the programs all sharing materials will make the procurement of materials more cost effective for the College.

Laser-Cutter-and-ComputerThe fab lab was funded largely by private donations through the Dunwoody community of donors as well as a matching grant from First Technologies.

“We are applying for an annual grant to continue expanding the lab and are hoping to eventually integrate the fab lab with the materials lab, currently on the Green Level, and house all of them on the Red Level,” Dwyer said.

 

Construction Management students create fabric tension structure models

creating-fabric-tension-structures-1Construction Management students in the Construction Materials & Methods 2 course recently created fabric tension structure models, some of which will be constructed on a larger scale later in the semester.

Senior Instructor Jim Strapko says the project mimics what students will experience in industry.

“With each new project, construction professionals are presented with opportunities to use materials and tools in novel ways to improve the construction process,” he said. “One example is a fabric ‘sail’ system used to provide temporary enclosure for a pair of high-rise office towers currently under construction in the Minneapolis Downtown East project. A Dunwoody graduate, who is an assistant superintendent, is working on ways to more efficiently unfurl fabric strips to cover five stories of a building at a time.”

fabric-tension-structure-team

Students used basic structural concepts derived from tents and sailboats to create fabric tension structure models. The initial models were created using basic tools and materials like needle-nose pliers, side-cutters, awls, hammers, hot-melt glue guns, two-way stretch fabric, florist wire, T-pins, push-pins, and wood dowels.

The students exceeded Strapko’s expectations for the model project. “The Construction Management students were adept at model-building and showed a surprising sensitivity to aesthetic design,” he said.

The next phase is to design and build a mobile hard-shell structure with an optional fabric component. After completion of the concept and model phases, some of the designs will proceed to construction at a larger scale.

The multiple-phase project gives students experience taking an idea from concept through completion.

students-with-tension-structure-industry-professional

Students benefitted from the experience and guidance of Bruce N. White, past editor of the international journal Fabric Architecture and American Institute of Architects (AIA) member, who visited the class on multiple occasions to provide insight and feedback on the student’s designs.

Strapko invites more industry professionals to get involved in the project: “Students value the opportunity to interact with industry professionals especially in a lab environment,” he said. “They like learning how to do things and getting feedback from experts.”

Students are currently working on the concept phase of the hard-shell structure. The evaluation of drawings and models is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on campus (room to be determined). Larger scale construction of prototypes will follow during the final 10 weeks of the spring semester.

Industry professionals interested in getting involved during any of the project phases can contact Jim Strapko at jstrapko@dunwoody.edu or 612-381-3383.