On Feb. 9th and 11th, Brian Anderson of Associated Constructors, LLC, gave presentations on working with concrete to construction management students at Northern Michigan University. At the beginning of each of the presentations was a 30 minute discussion period, where the students learned about various aspects of working with concrete, including the changing standards of concrete footing in architectural plans and, by extension, on job sites.
Another one of the major stresses was the importance of on-site safety. "It's a real challenge, working with concrete," says Anderson, "and the challenge doesn't let up. It can be dangerous. You go until it's done."
After the discussion period, the presentations moved to the lab for hands-on work as Anderson walked the students through the process of assembling a concrete form. The students were able to work through the entire process except the pouring of the concrete.
"It's great that an outside contractor could come in," says Mike Laitinen, a construction management student at NMU. "We get the benefit of real-life experience from a professional, and a hands-on application of the systems and techniques that we're learning in class. Plus, it's a good networking opportunity."
Associated Constructors, LLC has hired several NMU graduates, including Anderson himself, who graduated from NMU's construction management program in 1995.
"It's a wonderful opportunity that the class might otherwise not have had," says instructor Jesse Ross. "We can't justify the cost of buying the concrete forms for just one or two classes. With Brian coming in to do these presentations, the students are learning the idiosyncrasies of the formwork, as well as the importance of paying attention to detail. They wouldn't have gotten this opportunity otherwise."