The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) currently has 12 separate student chapters, and the association is hoping those chapter members will make its first Student Chapter Summit a success.

The event will take place in downtown Kansas City, MO, at the Bartle Hall Convention Center on Sept. 20-21.

The Student Chapter Summit is sponsored by MCAA’s Career Development Committee and has been initiated by Ann Mattheis, a member of the committee. According to Mattheis, the idea behind the summit was for students to have more time to talk and network.

Each year, MCAA holds its annual convention and encourages student chapters to participate. This allows chapter members from across the country to compare notes and discuss careers in the trade. But according to Mattheis, some students felt that the convention only allowed for minimal discussion and networking time.

“Our members really felt that they just got started talking,” Mattheis said about the annual convention.

The new student chapter summit is designed to remedy that situation.

“The great advantage of the student chapter concept is that these young people have a chance to network with each other,” said Mattheis. “And this is a further opportunity for networking.”

Scheduled Events

The finishing touches are still being put on the summit, but a few events have been scheduled.

One of the most important sessions will be a forum designed to present industry career opportunities. There will also be time for chapters to share their experiences. For example, Mattheis says that students and instructors will be able to discuss how they keep their chapter up and running. This includes information on fundraisers and chapter activities, such as field trips and guest lectures.

Mattheis also says that the students will get the chance to take part in a small competition. Students will be divided into groups and will then be given a specific mechanical problem to be solved during the summit. Mattheis says this is another way to get students to interact with each other and to encourage interest in the trade.

This team competition will lead up to MCAA’s announcement of another new student opportunity. Mattheis says that details are still being worked out, but that the association would like to hold a yearly trades competition exclusively for the student chapters.

As part of the summit, a tour will be conducted of Bartle Hall. The center takes up approximately eight city blocks in downtown Kansas City. Students will be taken through the inner workings of the hall to see how the mechanical systems operate.

“Students love these tours because they get to see how these systems come together,” said Mattheis.

Mattheis says that some speakers are still being arranged for the meeting, but one speaker that has been definitely scheduled is the president of the Ferris State University chapter, which recently won the first MCAA student chapter of the year award.

A more definitive schedule of events will take shape as the date of the summit gets closer.

For more information on the MCAA Student Chapter Summit, e-mail Mattheis at

Publication date: 08/06/2001