Amaya Caggino
I have not only gained technical knowledge and experience, but I have also received so much help with my professional development.

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 annual conference is an opportunity to connect future professionals with MCAA members and future internship and full-time employment opportunities.

Amaya Caggino is a junior in Mechanical Engineering and is working towards a career in project management.

“I am quite new to the mechanical contracting industry but through the Mechanical Contracting Association of Metropolitan Washington, I was given the opportunity to be a project management intern at a mechanical contracting company called Poole and Kent this past summer,” explained Caggino. “Through the internship, I was able to work on a data center in Virginia, and learn about the different aspects and components that contribute to a large-scale project.”

Can you tell us a little about your participation in the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)?

This is my second year participating in the Mechanical Contractors Association. Last year, I was a member of the student team and we produced a proposal that placed 6th in the national student competition. While that was my first year and first time being exposed to the mechanical contracting industry, I worked very closely with the President, Hailey Brennan, to learn and gain technical knowledge and experience. This year I took on the role of Vice President of UMD's student chapter and we are working hard to integrate our new members and create an amazing proposal.

What kind of activities do students engage in with MCAA?

As part of the project team, students work together to create a large-scale bid of a construction project that has been done in real life. As a team, we do takeoffs, create schedules, and calculate man-hours, estimate pricing and much more to create our proposal.

We also create our own company, filing out written portions regarding our company history, values, expertise, etc. to convince the judges that our company and bid is the best choice for the project. As a team, we meet to work on our project about once a week and we meet with our mentors who are professionals from the mechanical contracting industry about once a month.

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

At the MCA's Great Futures Conference in Arizona, there were many key speakers who spoke of bias in the work field, accepting and excelling past rejection, and much more. We were given the opportunity to go on a mechanical tour of SLOAN Park, the Chicago Cubs practice field, and we also attended a job fair where there were numerous mechanical contracting companies. We engaged with a panel of contractors who held a Q&A and gave the students insight on the technical side of the industry.

“Our chapter's Marketing and Outreach Coordinator, Anna Trapane also helped me tremendously to gain exposure to the industry,” adds Caggino. “She helped me edit my resume and reach out to different contractors within the mechanical contracting industry to get my name out into the field and gain potential opportunities. With this experience, I have not only gained technical knowledge and experience, but I have also received so much help with my professional development.”