Sacramento State Construction Management Program - NECA Student Chapter
The Sacramento State Construction Management Program has achieved a great deal since it formed. Since its inception, the team has participated in the ASC competition, winning three national championships. In 2016 the team took 3rd place in the Electrical portion of the competition, marking their fourth year in a row placing in this national championship. In addition, one member earned individual recognition, receiving the award for Most Valuable Presenter.
The NECA/IBEW Annual Drive Fore Charities, a fund raiser hosted by the Sacramento Chapter of NECA and the IBEW Local 340 with the participation of students, was a huge success in 2016. It enabled the team to compete in the National ASC Competition, Green Energy Challenge, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
Many students who completed the program have chosen to return as advisors and coaches for the current students. The team has achieved a 100% employment rate for students who have completed the program since 2011, with 26 students now working for NECA contractors, while those still enrolled in the program have internships with various NECA contractors. The students are given the opportunity to learn the industry and experience real world construction problems while determining how to handle them. Our student chapter provides students with working knowledge, practical experience, and, most importantly, careers.
Check out these testimonials from past and current students!
“This photo was taken at the new King’s Arena in 2015. In the photo is the Sacramento State Electrical team with two of our coaches Fred Callison, and Robert Clark. Also, two of the people that are working on the arena, one of them is the Project Manager and the other in the Assistant Project Manager.
During that trip to the new King’s Arena we were shown how everything begins in a big power and lighting project. The first step shown to us was how the power was brought to the arena from a transformer to the main switch board inside the arena. Also, the Project Manager explained to us the steps that it took to do that, and what coordination needed to be done with SMUD and the city of Sacramento. The Project Manager also told us what problems they encountered and how they solved them. Some of the ways that the problems were solved surprised me because of the ingenui-ty that was put into it. One example was how the main feeder going to the Main Switch Board had to be protected by putting concrete with reinforced steel bar around it. The feeder was close to a high ceiling and it had to go through several rooms. There were a lot of issues happening because the project is a Design-Build project, and during that same day of the trip the Project Manager told us they had more change orders and RFI’s to work on later. We got to see different parts of the electri-cal systems. One system that I was very impressed by the size of and how it was installed was the emergency generator. The main reason one of our coaches got us the chance to see the arena was because he wanted us to see how high power voltage was changed to low voltage.”
- Alberto Villalobos (Current Student)
“I apologize for my delayed check-in. It has probably been about 2 years. The holidays are always a good time to put things in perspective about how grateful I am… and to give updates. I hope all is well with you! I just wanted you to know things are going great here at REG still. We finished the SFO ATCT and now I am currently on a project in Redwood City called Box that is closing out now. Soon I will be on to the next new and exciting project.
“Things are going great with me. Right after I moved to the Bay Area one of my brothers moved to Chicago so I have been able to visit him twice a year. I come to visit Sacramento about once every other month to check in on my family and make sure my other nieces and nephews know how I am. I went on my first missions trip to Coast Rica this year, which was a lot of work but the last day was our fun day and I got to see a Rainforest and a Waterfall for the first time ever. Since then I have decided to make traveling a priority in 2016 and plan on going to Mexico for another mission trip and Europe just for fun. All is well with me.
“Who would have thought my short time on the electrical team would have affect my whole life after college. Thank you Fran! Please tell the other coaches as well. Thank you for investing in me when you did. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!”
- Anna Wilks, Project Engineer, Redwood Electric Group, Inc. (Student Chapter Alumni)
“I began my educational path at California State University Sacramento in the fall of 2009 unsure exactly what my educational goals were or what career I wanted to pursue. My father is an engineer by profession and I have always been exposed to construction and engineering during my childhood however, I had never considered pursuing it as a career. During the first year of college I took a variety of courses ranging from Business to English Literature. In the spring of 2011 I enrolled in the Construction Management program. This was a milestone in my career, and after two semesters I joined the NECA Student Chapter where I met Fran McDermott. This would prove to be a significant turning point in my education and career that has ultimately led to my success today. For the remainder of my college career I had the pleasure of being involved in multiple student competitions including the Associated Schools of Construction Reno Competition in which our team achieved 2nd place in 2013 and 1st place in 2014. Our chapter also competed in the NECA Green Energy Challenge and attended multiple NECA & IBEW fundraisers, conventions and events. Through my involvement in the NECA Student chapter I’ve interned with 4 NECA contractors which excelled my education tremendously. Upon graduation in December 2014 I accepted an offer with Rosendin Electric Inc. as an Assistant Project Manager and was assigned to the new Golden 1 Center project in downtown Sacramento.
“I cannot express my gratitude enough to NECA and especially Fran McDermott for his consistent guidance and encouragement. I am extremely grateful for the large network of support that I have built through him and the local NECA chapter.
“My goal now is to reciprocate my experience by contributing to other upcoming leaders in our industry who can thereby also benefit from the support I have received from NECA and our industry.”
- Robert Clark, Assistant Project Manager, Rosendin Electric (Student Chapter Alumni, Current Student Chapter Coach)
“Although I have only been in the Sac State Construction Management program (and the NECA Student Chapter) for a year, I can honestly say it has changed my life. I started with some limited hands-on electrical experience, and have gained so much more through NECA.
“My first interaction with NECA was during the summer before I started attending Sac State. In late June of 2015, I found out that the Sac State was building a 1000 square foot, modular solar home for the US Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon: a ten-category net-zero home design and building contest for universities across the globe, held every two years in Irvine, CA. I had some experience in residential construction (including electrical work) from remodeling my own house, and was instantly interested. I spent most of the summer, and the first half of the fall semester working on the Solar Nest. Since I had experience with residential electrical work, I took a lead on the electrical systems for the Solar Decathlon house. The Greater Sacramento NECA Chapter was our largest electrical sponsor, and one of the top overall sponsors of the home. Sacramento’s NECA Chapter donated almost all of the wire, and more than half of the light fixtures. Additionally, they paid an electrician from Schetter Electric (a local NECA member contractor) to help finalize the electrical work toward the end of the job. They even paid him to fly down to Irvine with us to finish up the project. Working alongside a licensed electrician was an invaluable experience; it significantly furthered my understanding of electrical systems, and my appreciation for the work electricians do every day.
“As the Solar Decathlon came to a close in late October, I got involved with another NECA sponsored Sac State competition team: The Associated Schools of Construction Region 6/7 Electrical team. The ASC competition helped me understand the tasks and challenges that electrical contractors face every day, and develop the skills to handle them. At the competition, teams from universities across the nation compete to estimate, budget and schedule the supplied electrical project in just one day. Starting in October, we (the students) met with our industry coaches weekly to prepare for the competition. During our weekly meetings, we learned the basics of electrical contracting: understanding electrical systems, reading drawings, doing takeoffs, analyzing quotes, doing estimates in Accubid, contract analysis and scheduling.
“Sacramento’s NECA chapter’s involvement with the team was multifaceted: our industry coaches were from NECA member contractors, and the chapter made a substantial donation towards our competition travel expenses. Additionally, our local NECA chapter paid for food at each of our meetings, which helped encourage attendance and increase productivity. Through our hard work, the coaching from industry professionals, and the support of the Sacramento NECA chapter, we earned third place at the competition, out of the 11 electrical teams that participated.
With my experiences and interactions in preparation for these competitions, and with the help of the Sacramento NECA chapter’s Executive Director, I was able to obtain a summer internship with Schetter Electric this summer, even though I’ve only completed one year of college. I have been working at Schetter for almost a month now, and it has been an outstanding experience. I learned a lot during the 4 months of preparation for the ASC competition, but I’ve learned so much more than that by working at Schetter. Some of the tasks/items I have worked on include: takeoffs, entering estimates in Accubid, writing scope letters, requesting quotes, reviewing submittals, writing purchase orders and releases, pricing change orders, adjusting budgets, and compiling operation/maintenance manuals.
“Looking back on my life these past 12 months, it amazes me what an impact the local NECA chapter has had and continues to have on my life. A year ago, I might have considered working for an electrical contractor someday, but would have had no idea where to start and how to get there; without NECA, I would not be any closer to working for an electrical contractor today as I was a year ago. In fact, I would probably have ended up like most people who go through a construction management program: working for a large general contractor, because that is all they really know about and know how to do. But instead (thanks to NECA), I have my mind set on a different target: working for an electrical contractor during the rest of my time at Sac State, and after I graduate. NECA has given me a vision of where I want to go, what I want to do, and, most importantly, the path to get me there. And for that I am truly grateful.”
- Thomas Johnston (Current Student)
“I first heard about the Construction Management program at Sac State in 2012 after my first year of attending a local community college. I was still unsure of what I wanted to study after graduating high school, but once I heard about the program I thought it would be a good fit for me. I heard many great things about the program’s learning environment and numerous amounts of opportunities the program provided for their students. Once I was admitted into the program in the Fall of 2014, I was not disappointed. I immediately felt right at home being a student in the program and knew I had made the right choice in choosing this to be my career. The program offers great learning experiences and plenty of extra-curricular opportunities for students to get involved. Perhaps my favorite part of the program as a student, is competing in the Associated Schools of Construction student competition. I have had the chance to compete in the competition twice with the electrical team. Participating in the competition has given me an in depth exposure to the electrical side of construction that I would have not received from the program at school alone, as well as a great exposure to the people of the construction industry. The experience has been fun, challenging and rewarding. I cannot thank enough what NECA and our team coaches have done for the members of the electrical team. The knowledge I have gained from our coaches has been invaluable. They do a fantastic job of preparing the electrical team, which allows Sac State to be a top school every year in the ASC Electrical competition. So far I have had the opportunity to intern for two different electrical contractors, and I believe I can directly credit NECA, our coaches, and the ASC competition for those opportunities. These experiences have given me a jump start to my career that I am really grateful for.”
- Eduardo Marin (Current Student)
“Being a part of the program has been extremely beneficial to my career in the electrical contracting industry so far. Every year we take a large portion of our time to prepare for the annual Associated Schools of Construction Electrical Competition held in Sparks, Nevada. During our practice sessions we cover a large amount of information that we do not get taught in the classroom. This is extremely helpful when we get to the competition, as well as applying it to work. The past two years in the competition I have had the pleasure of being a part of the team, and bringing home the third place trophy. It is truly an honor considering the amount of skill these competitions bring in.”
- Evan Albright (Current Student)
“When I Started the NECA student chapter I had no idea what was in store for me. I remember initially hearing the different acronyms and terms that were of common usage including RFI, switch gear, and transformer to mention a few. Although I had an idea of what some of these terms meant, I was unsure of others. Two years later I am able to help explain the confusion to new members. I am continuously amazed and intrigued with the electrical industry because there is always something new to learn.
“The NECA student chapter is preparing me for a career in the electrical contractor industry. Joining the chapter has been one of the best decisions I have made in my undergraduate career. To help improve our interview skills we have participated in workshops that aim at improving speaking skills. These workshops have helped me understand the type of person I am while providing me with the necessary reinforcement and confidence at times of real interviews. We have had group building exercises that have served to create bond among the members and helped me personally with public speaking.
“Joining the student chapter has expanded my knowledge of electrical systems and the electrical industry. Our weekly meetings, going over electrical theory, and reading drawings, has made me comfortable when assisting with estimating. Going over the sequence of installation has prepared me for coordination when assisting project managers. This knowledge has prepared me for my internships and to help new members be comfortable with the electrical industry.”
- Tony Moreno (Current Student)
“It has been a great experience being part of the NECA Student Chapter. It has helped me further my education and jump-start my career in the electrical field. (No pun intended)”
- David Fuerte (Current Student)
“The Construction Management program at CSU Sacramento has helped me to improve myself in many different ways. When I first came to Sacramento State I wanted to be a Civil Engineer, but when my second year came it was very difficult for me to keep up with the classes required by the department. I was putting the time in to study for the tests and joining study groups to do better, but I was getting bad grades and not passing my math classes. I felt lost for a while, since Civil Engineering was what I wanted to do because I like how buildings and different structures are built. In the end I decided to explore a different major, which was Criminal Justice. I took a few classes, but I felt it was not for me because I was not feeling the same passion that I felt for engineering. I had to make a decision soon and look for a major that I really liked and wanted to do for the rest of my life.
“That day came when I was talking to one of my friends. I explained to him what was happening to me during those days, and why they would see me in a bad mood or depressed sometimes. He explained to me that there was a Construction Management program and it was very similar to Civil Engineering. One of the aspects of the program that I liked was that they did not require advanced math and physics classes. The next semester I started taking some Construction Management classes and I started to feel that Construction Management was the major that I was looking for the whole time I was at Sacramento State. One of the classes that helped me explore the different jobs I could do with a Construction Management degree was CM 10 (Introduction to the Construction Industry). In that class, Professor Reginato would bring in speakers or tell us about the different types of construction that there are. Professor Reginato would also talk about the Reno, or ASC, competition, and how Sacramento State is one of the best in the competition. Of course I wanted to take part in the competition, but I had a problem; I was afraid to come out of my comfort zone.
“One day, two alumni from the Construction Management program came to our class and gave a presentation about the Electric Industry. I liked everything they said that day, and at that moment I knew that was the path that I wanted to take in the construction industry. The next semester, when the ASC registration began, I signed up for the Electrical team as my first choice. I was a little scared when I met the coaches and my teammates. I did not know if I was going to make a fool of myself because I didn’t know anything about electricity. However, when our meetings as a team began, I started to feel more confident about it. This was because my coaches were taking the time to explain everything, from the simplest to the most complex ways that electric power works.
“When the competition day came I was feeling a little nervous because I had to be on the team since one of the experienced students had to drop out. One thing that I had not improved yet was being more confident when speaking publicly. It is one of my biggest fears, and to this day I am not a good public speaker. I made it through the competition, but I felt that I did not do a good job. However, our team got 3rd place, not bad for being a new team participating. One of my biggest achievements is competing in the ASC student competition.
“Now I have an internship with Sac Valley Electric thanks to one of my coaches. I am getting the experience that I need, and this time I will do better in the 2017 ASC
student competition. Then I can show everyone that I can compete with anyone and represent Sacramento State. The most important thing to me is to show my coaches that they are really helping me to become a better student in and out of the classroom. This is why I feel very proud to be a Sacramento State Construction Management student.”
- Alberto Villalobos (Current Student)
“The purpose of this testimonial is to convey my appreciation and satisfaction for the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and all of the experience and knowledge that I was exposed to during my college education at California State University Sacramento (CSUS). Throughout my academic career at CSUS, NECA enabled several opportunities that were given to myself and other classmates that
encouraged our exposure to the electrical construction industry.
“The biggest event that CSUS participated in was the ASC Student Competition which was hosted in Reno, Nevada. While at CSUS, I competed for (3) separate years on the electrical team which was a national competition. The participating schools came from around the nation to compete and provided high stakes towards our claim and determination for placing first in the event. This competition required extensive preparation, simulation, and training of the ‘mock’ electrical problem that is hosted every year by Cupertino Electric Inc. The (6) student team (me included) received excellent training and guidance from NECA and the IBEW in how to effectively manage and solve the proposed problem each year in the ASC Competition. We were exposed to things such as but not limited to:
- Electrical Construction Processes
- Cost Estimation & Pricing
- Value Engineering
- Quantity Take-Offs (QTO)
“This experience helped the CSUS electrical team to place 4th in 2012, 2nd in 2013, and finally 1st in 2014. “CSUS also participated in the NECA Green Energy Challenge for (2) years. I was involved on the team for both years. The competition enabled our team to derive energy efficient solutions, designs, and financial analysis to existing structures that were on the CSUS campus. This was an excellent real life application and it really enabled us, as students, to be creative in our approach. Again, extensive guidance and training was received from both NECA and the IBEW in completing this challenge.
“Overall I am very grateful for the knowledge and experience that the IBEW and NECA were able to provide throughout my years at CSUS. I would not have the current understanding and knowledge of the electrical industry without the training and assistance I received from IBEW and NECA.”
- Joshua Sheneman, Project Engineer, Cupertino Electric Inc. (Student Chapter Alumni)