Ahmed Seck
What I learned was two things. 1) The worst they can say is "no" and 2) Every "no" leads you closer to a yes.

Students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering share their experiences as members of the UMD student chapter of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) and their opportunity to attend MCAA’s Great Futures Conference last fall in Arizona. This MCAA annual conference is an opportunity to connect future professionals with MCAA members and future internship and full-time employment opportunities.

Ahmed Seck is senior in Mechanical Engineering and pursuing a minor in Project Management, and will be graduating spring 2022.

Can you tell us about your participation in the Mechanical Contractors Association?

I have been a member of the MCAA for two consecutive years and I have participated in two bid proposal competitions hosted by the organization. I was first introduced to the MCAA during the spring of 2019 while in dual enrollment at both UMD and Montgomery College. Before joining the organization I was unaware of what mechanical contracting was and what opportunities the industry had for mechanical engineers. In joining, I was able to not only learn more about what the industry entails but I was also able to network with industry leaders in the field of mechanical contracting. In my first year competing in the bid competition, I aided my team to the final three. I have made lasting relationships both within my chapter and to other nationwide chapters as well.

You had the opportunity to attend MCAA's Great Futures Conference last fall in Arizona. What were some highlights from attending?

Student riding mechanical bull at conference eventAttending this forum really opened my eyes to the opportunities in mechanical contracting that you wouldn't often see when working for a large general contractor. Additionally, the forum hosted a number of motivational speakers whose words really resonated with me and have motivated me beyond comprehension.

One particular speaker that resonated with me was Jiu Jang, a speaker who coined the term "rejection proof." Jiang became a famous YouTube sensation after recording himself for 30 days straight requesting the most obscure of requests with the intent to overcome rejection. Although the purpose of this endeavor was to get rejected, a lot of his obscure requests were honored by the recipients he spoke to.

In short, what I learned was two things. 1) The worst they can say is "no" and 2) Every "no" leads you closer to a yes. This advice is especially important for college students like myself undergoing stressful internships or full time career opportunities.

During our first night, the MCAA hosted a cowboy party at the resort that we were staying in and many chapters began friendly competing in some games such as axe tosses, beanbag tosses, and getting tossed off a mechanical bull (Seck, pictured left, taking on the challenge!)! Overall I enjoyed the event and I am thankful to have been invited.

What are your post-graduation plans?

Upon graduating in the spring, I plan to work full time as a Project Engineer.