In early November-2013, in Las Vegas, NV, there’s a student competition underway. The ad goes something like this:
ABC’s Construction Management Competition (CMC) is a hallmark competition that promotes careers in construction management. In addition to providing a significant learning opportunity, the competition fosters an environment that will bring out the best in each team; encourage dialogue among the students; and foster the team spirit as students rise to meet this challenge. The CMC is designed to challenge construction knowledge, time management, organizational, and presentation skills. The competition features teams of four (4) college and university students testing their project management, estimating, safety, quality control, and presentation skills. Come prepared to have fun, challenge other students, and demonstrate your ability to think on your feet.
Some of these kids will do well and after the competition and after they’ve graduated some will find jobs and some won’t. All will learn the basics, but the one aspect that will punch each and every one squarely in the jaw, will be the lessons of life. Fairness. Trust. Honesty. Dedication. Team Work.
About 2 years ago, while we were still in the grips of the recession, the University of Southern MS (they’re in the above competition this year) Construction Professor [a bud of mine] asked me to visit with the graduating class [in classroom]. He wanted me to bring any topic I wanted, but since we were in a bit of an economic downturn I might want to offer them a few lessons on “survival”.
My topic was about the curves and bumps all of them will encounter after they’ve graduated and I mentioned the various opportunities available to them as a construction professional. My main topic or point was to never stop thinking “outside the box”. To always be creative and to learn to problem solve.
Yes it’s true that, as students, they’ll have fun with competitions in far away cities like Vegas, where they’ll learn team work and planning, but life very quickly gets personal. It will let you know pretty quickly that the choices you make are yours and yours alone and the risk you take while making those personal choices should be studied and planned.
I didn’t make it to college. I’ve never been exposed to “proper” methods of construction estimating. I learned by taking some hard knocks; I started my journey working in the field with my hands and my back. However, I did learn a few lessons very very early in my career. The one lesson that stuck with me was that I learned that building trust was one of the most important tools that I could carry in my tool bag. That without it, no matter how hard I worked, how much I knew or where I was from, if I couldn’t be trusted to offer a consistent opinion, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to express it.
If you are considering the largest purchase in your life [in other words you are buying or building a home] consider my construction inspection company SafeHome Inspections. After surviving 40 years of recessions, booms and busts, I can wholeheartedly say that my inspection opinions are based on experience and honest conviction, trust me.
UPDATE 11/15/13 :: USM School of Construction
The School of Construction (SoC) strives to provide effective technology, engineering and management education for its graduates to serve needs in the construction, architectural and industrial sectors. To achieve its mission, the School of Construction strives to create a learning environment to nurture the development of critical thinking skills; develop knowledge and technology expertise; and support innovation and technology transfer.
Although the team didn’t place they honed their skills and are ready for next year!