A student favorite and probably biggest draw of the event again this year was an area set up where students were allowed to operate and perform certain tasks on heavy equipment.
On March 15 and 16 more than 6,685 total attendees including 4,806 students, 1,879 instructors, 824 parents and administrators, industry guests, volunteers and exhibitors (from more than 206 schools and 311 organizations) attended the 7th Annual Construction Career EXPO, sponsored by the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia (TEFGA), and the Georgia Utility Contractor’s Association (GUCA). The state-wide event, designed to promote careers in construction and give students the opportunity to meet employers, was held at the Georgia International Convention Center drawing record crowds, and in tumultuous economic times, CEFGA Executive Director, Scott Shelar, called it “nothing short of amazing.”
Members of GUCA participated in this exciting event which had two whole areas designated just for utility construction. This year the utility construction industry area stepped forward once again with a hands-on experience for the students. A student favorite and probably biggest draw of the event again this year was an area set up where students were allowed to operate and perform certain tasks on heavy equipment. This event was sponsored by GUCA member companies, Robert M. Anderson Inc.; Richard Harp Excavation Inc.; C. A. Murren & Sons Company Inc.; and Vermeer Southeast Sales & Service,
Students could operate three large excavators, two stand up loaders and a crane. The students tried their skills in picking up balls and placing them in containers with the mini excavator, moving large piles of mulch with the large excavators and operating a crane. GUCA members also had booths set up so students could find out about potential job opportunities for careers in the utility construction industry. Flint Equipment brought a heavy equipment computer simulator to show students how utility contractors install underground utilities, which they found very interesting. Students were lined up to take their turn on the simulator. This is always a popular hands-on tool. Robert M. Anderson, Inc. provided a cotton candy machine, and Brock Built, LLC provided a popcorn machine, both of which were a huge draw for students. Clayton County Water Authority held a “Meter Madness” contest where students reassembled water meters and the students with the best times were awarded a Ferguson Waterworks T-shirt and a Brent Scarbrough & Company Safety First T-shirt.
GUCA’s Education Committee attended the EXPO on March 15 to walk around to see what the EXPO and SkillsUSA Championships have to offer students in construction programs looking to pursue careers in various facets of the industry. They toured the 150,000 sq. ft. convention center and the outdoor Utility Construction area. They learned the reason members dedicated their time and resources to the CEFGA EXPO is to keep these programs alive and give the high school students an opportunity to decide if finding a career in the construction industry is the right route for them with hands-on experience and an opportunity to discuss their options with leaders in the industry.
Committee members who attended the CEFGA EXPO included Matt Chatham, Blount Construction Company Inc.; Jeff Duncan, Cowin Equipment Company; Gary Hooks, Trench Shoring Services; Keith Lamberson, Trench Shoring Services; Charlie Murren, C.A. Murren & Sons Company Inc.; Philip Siegal, Hendrick, Phillips, Salzman & Flatt; and Billy Vondenbosch, Clayton County Water Authority.
On March 16 CEFGA held a VIP Breakfast for all of the students who were participating in the SkillsUSA contests. Industry sponsors and exhibitors also were invited and along with past SkillsUSA contest medal winners, and CEFGA hosts, Ron Jackson, commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia; and Tricia Pridemore, executive director, Governor’s Office of Workforce Development; gave speeches to this year’s Skills contestants, and encouraged hard work, determination and having fun with the opportunity they have been given to compete in the contests. It was a great way to start the morning, and when breakfast was over, it was time for the exhibitors and volunteers to get to work in their respective trade area and for the Skills contestants to start competing. GUCA found a tremendous amount of support from everyone who attended the EXPO and breakfast.
GUCA would like to give special thanks to all of those who attended, donated, and helped make the 2012 CEFGA EXPO the largest and most successful to date.