Mortenson Team Members are “Building Success” through a Twin Cities Student Competition

Mortenson and other local industry organizations provide career direction for high school students as part of the Architects, Contractors and Engineers (ACE) Mentor Program.

Mortenson team members along with professionals from 20 area firms recently completed a 16-week mentor program with students from Como, Edison, Harding, Humboldt, Irondale, Shakopee, St. Louis Park, and Washburn high schools. For the 2016 competition, students were tasked with creating a concept to develop and revitalize either the Minneapolis Armory or the St. Paul Ford Plant.

“I love seeing the growth of students! It’s fun to mentor a student, teaching them about an industry they may not otherwise have been exposed to” said Jon Bonkoski, Mortenson Design Phase Manager and ACE Mentor Director and Secretary.

The students presented their project ideas on Thursday, March 3 at the University of Minnesota. The team from Shakopee High School (pictured above) was selected as the 2016 winner.

"I really enjoy the end of the year competition where we get to see how differently each school interpreted the program, said Jenn Corazzo, Mortenson Integrated Construction Coordinator and ACE Mentor. "By this time the students are very invested and passionate about their designs, it’s great to see it all come together."

The ACE Mentor Program encourages students to pursue careers in architecture, construction and engineering. Participants learn the day-to-day workings of the industry by experiencing it through hands-on education and working with real professionals. At weekly meetings, student teams work with mentors as they design hypothetical projects, tour local construction sites, and visit architectural, engineering and construction offices. The teams learn how to use advanced tools, such as Revit and SketchUp for design and complete special exercises to illustrate the construction estimating and scheduling process. These activities highlight the demand for young people skilled in math, physics, economics, and art.

“Many people in the industry got into the business because of a connection with a family member, neighbor, or friend. I hope by being that connection to the industry and showing students what opportunities exist we will encourage new architects, engineers, and contractors,” said Maria Bumgarner, Mortenson MEP project engineer and ACE Mentor.

A special thanks goes out to the following Mortenson volunteer mentors participating this year: Rachel Bartling, Maria Bumgarner, Lauren Colbeth, Jenn Corazzo, Mike Dickey, Michael Herseth, Sam Kaler, Joe Ngaima, JB Seals, James Theisen, and Winston Williams JR.

Mortenson Construction is a founding partner of the Twin Cities chapter of the ACE Mentor Program. Through the mentor program, Mortenson team members support the communities in which we live and work and positively impact the lives of countless area teens. Jon Bonkoski currently serves as Mentor Director and Secretary and Tom Schmall currently serves as advisory member on the ACE Twin Cities board.