In early Spring 2013, under the guidance of Cary Seabolt and Marcus Bollum of Marek Brothers Systems, the planning began for an American Subcontractors Association - Houston Chapter (ASA-HC) student chapter in the Department of Construction Science within the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. The Construction Science department has an average enrollment of six to seven hundred students, and although there are currently no institutional rankings of collegiate construction management programs, it is commonly regarded as the “best of the best”. Historically, the department primarily focuses on general construction management, and typically does not delve into the specifics of industrial, civil, residential or specialty contracting.
An ASA-HC student chapter will benefit subcontractors, students, and faculty. ASA company members will have a direct impact on the future of the construction industry, as well as access to recruiting opportunities for both internships and full-time employment. Students will have the opportunity to learn in greater detail which specialty trades exist, how they function, and what is actually required to build projects. Students could eventually work for ASA company members and others will likely become future customers. Having an ASA-HC student chapter will also enlighten the faculty by sharing real-life experiences, concerns, and issues in the continually evolving industry as they relate to specialty contracting.
In recognizing that there have been many industry associations that have previously established student chapters only to see attendance and active student participation deteriorate to the point of eventual dissolution, the focus of an ASA-HC student chapter has centered on using the lessons learned so that a more solid foundation is created – one that will offer greater certainty toward the sustainability and prosperity of the student chapter that ASA-HC aims to support. A successful student chapter is driven by the motivation and participation of the students and its student leadership. The efforts put forth in the classroom by members of ASA and the resulting interaction and impact that we impart will secure a more prosperous path for an ASA-HC student chapter. Capitalizing on this exceptional opportunity allows ASA-HC to capture the interest of a young audience as well as identify and solicit students that are motivated and willing to step into a leadership position and take charge of helping to start a student chapter. Additionally, students who participate in the student chapter will get preferential status in qualifying for the ASA-HC Endowed scholarship each spring.
One of the required courses for Construction Science students is a Materials and Methods class, comprised mostly of Freshman and Sophomore level students. This younger student body is often still searching for ways to get involved and active in student life, and ASA-HC's presence in the classroom presents a great opportunity for recruitment. Last month ASA-HC members began serving as guest lecturers presenting various topics. As industry professionals, ASA-HC members offer insight and experiences that uniquely appeal to the students, and ASA-HC members gain the benefit of direct interaction with the students.
With the fall semester coming to a close, ASA-HC is now focusing on finding guest lecturers for the spring semester. Speaking time lasts approximately 40 minutes and the classes are held on the Texas A&M University campus. Individuals interested in speaking to the students about their specialty trade should contact the ASA-HC chapter office.