This is the first of back-to-back short weeks. The next two weeks will be fairly relaxed, and then we'll hit it full speed until the end of the semester.
I'm moving the general news to the Blog section of my web page. I hope to update it more frequently with news from the places that interest me (construction + economics + technology).
CM New and Events
Evening with Industry: I hope you have been seeing the e-mails Sean Davis has been sending out. This Wednesday (November 14) is the Evening with Industry. It starts at 5:30 (I think) and is being held at the Boldt Sutter Hospital project in midtown. Since this event is being held at a construction site, dress appropriately (hard hat, boots, vest, eye protection). This is a great chance to tour a cool project and meet some great people from industry. A lot of current students and alumni work on this project, so it will be nice to support them and you will get to experience the craziness of an OSHPD project.
Student Fall Welcome: On the Monday when we get back from Thanksgiving break (November 26), the Fall Student Welcome will be held at The Firehouse Restaurant (1112 2nd Street) from 5:30 to 8:00. Wear nicer clothes (clean ironed dress shirt, nice pair of pants, etc. for the gents, ladies should wear their equivalent to that). Our industry sponsors put this event on and some big industry and academic ballers show up (Sac State's President and Provost are coming). We will be celebrating our becoming a department and will be having two alumni presenting on one of their projects. This is a fun event and this year there is a lot to celebrate.
WCIECA Scholarship: There is a $1,000 scholarship available through the Western Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association. If interested, contact Cyndi Brinkhurst at (530) 272-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This scholarship will likely not draw a lot of interest, so those that put some effort into applying for it will likely have a good chance.
Mike has a couple of internship opportunities that he has cycled around. I don't have any details, so hit him up here for more info.
What's Going On In Classes
CM 10: I will be lecturing this week. Your memos for Bill Hansen are due this week. Next week (week of Thanksgiving), we WILL NOT be having class.
CM 121: THERE WILL BE NO LAB THIS WEEK OR NEXT (***except for the Monday section, which will meet next Monday***). However, we are essentially done with Goodyear, so all outstanding Goodyear lab assignments will be due the week we return from Thanksgiving class. After Thanksgiving, we start our next project, which is McKinley Park Tennis Courts.
In lecture, we will be doing a data dump from the first 5 weeks of Goodyear and then covering subcontracting on Tuesday and discussing overhead and insurance on Thursday.
CM 126: On Wednesday, we will be having a guest speaker from Rosendin Electric coming to class. Please show some respect and show up for class. Introduce yourself--these guys are looking to hire. Even if you're not interested in working in the electrical, it's good to understand that side of the business. Actually, let me restate that: it's incredibly good to understand the electrical business. I promise to try to grade something this week.
"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Get the hell out and vote on Tuesday. Even if you feel that, as a Californian, your vote won't count in the presidential election due to the electoral college process (if what you're reading doesn't make sense, click here), there are several California initiatives on the ballot that you should look into. Pay particular attention to Propositions 30 and 38 because they apply to funding schools (including the CSU system).
Hurricane Sandy creates havoc on a construction site. Check out pix of this damaged tower crane.
Nonresidential building construction spending slumped in August after gaining in July. So the news is mixed, but the market is still tough. Check out which sectors are doing better that others (or less bad than others) here.
CM News and Events
Accreditation: I cannot report anything specific about the accreditation visit other than that it is over and I think we've survived to fight another day.
Evening with Industry: Evening with Industry will be on November 14 (5:30 to 7:30, I believe). We are being hosted by Boldt Construction at their Sutter Hospital project in midtown. Sign up on the list near Margaret's desk.
None this week.
What's Going on In Classes
CM 10: No guest lecture this week, so you're stuck with me. Not sure what I'll discuss, but we will likely talk about some of the things brought up by past guest speakers.
CM 121: We will be discussing finishes and the (very) basics of MEP trades. In lab we will be covering wood framing in the partitions and doors, frames & hardware. Don't be sad, but this will be our last week of labs until after the week of Thanksgiving (except for the Monday section, which will meet on November 19 as a make-up for a previous missed lab date).
CM 126: On Monday, the superintendents from Swinerton (formerly HMH), Rob Stratton and Steve Harless will be giving a guest lecture. This will be cool because we rarely get superintendents to come to campus to talk about what's important to them. Please be on time.
I don't remember exactly what's going on Wednesday (probably because I stupidly forgot to post the presentations schedule like I said I was going to do...). I know Chip Becker will be doing his toolbox on heat exhaustion and Mark Campbell and Doug Shirk will giving their presentation on project controls. I think there is another presentation or toolbox, but I cannot remember off the top of my head. If you think it's you and want me to confirm, send me an e-mail.
The faculty of the CM Department spent this morning giving tours of the facilities to the ACCE accreditation team. Students may not appreciate them, but we actually have some great facilities at Sac State. Our CM 9, 40 and 135 labs are among the best in the CM universe. Mike asked all the faculty to show up to walk the team through the labs in which we operate. We didn't need to be there, but it looked really good that we all showed up. But the best part of the morning was when Henry Meier showed up. Most of you know Henry, but if you don't, he's the President of SCMEF and is serving as the Member of the CM Department Industrial Advisory Board's representative to meet with the accreditation team. He also basically serves as the "athletic director" of all our Reno teams and is a CM alumni. So stating the obvious, he gives a lot to the Department. Henry certainly didn't need to be there today, but he was. And he stayed all day and is having dinner with the accreditation team as well. I should also say that Henry is a PX for Swinerton and has a family. In other words, he's a busy guy. But he didn't hesitate to volunteer a full Sunday to serve as the the Department's industry bridge to the accreditation team. We all owe Henry a huge "thanks", so when you see him (and at some point, you will all meet him), tell him you appreciate his efforts.
Quotes of the Week
Based on Henry's service...
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth." -- Muhammad Ali
"Your life and mine should be valued not by what we take, but by what we give." -- Edgar Allen, founder of Easter Seals
I found two articles on-line that I thought were pretty interesting.
First, there is this article (click here) regarding billing rates for architects. Billing rates are considered a forecast for the construction industry because the more architects are billing, the more buildings will ultimately be constructed.
Second, I just read this article on the historical mission and funding sources for the University of California and California State University systems (click here). It's from a left-leaning publication, so it's definitely trying to make a point. But that aside, it does a pretty good job of telling how the public university system in California has gone from a taxpayer subsidized institutions to tuition driven institutions (and hence why your tuition has gone up dramatically) and how Governor Reagan and Proposition 13 were at the genesis of this change. It's a worthy read if you have 10 minutes and care about higher education in California.
CM News and Events
The Q&A session with the accreditation team is tomorrow afternoon in 4003 Riverside. If you have time, stop by and participate.
None this week
What's Going On In Classes
CM 10: This week's guest lecture will be your classmate Nick Hansen's dad, Bill. Bill is a superintendent with R.M. Harris. This could be the best Show-and-Tell session ever because it's rare for superintendents to come to Sac State. Be sure to pay attention and ask a lot of questions. Some of you may ultimately choose to pursue the superintendent route.
CM 121: My goal is to grade the exam tonight and tomorrow so we can have a recap on Tuesday. Thursday's lecture will continue on rough carpentry/wood framing, focusing on partitions. Lab this week will be the rough framing on the roof and possibly some roofing. I'm going to try to get some Goodyear labs graded this week so you get some feedback.
CM 126: It's a big week for Joe Perez-Windmiller. He will be giving his toolbox presentation on Monday (fire emergency) and he and Chip will giving their team presentation on Wednesday (pick plan and crane coordination). Wednesday will also have two toolbox presentations (DougyFresh Shirk on shoring systems and Marky Mark Campbell on unconscious person first aid), so it will be a busy day. I hope to get a homework assignment or two graded this week as well.
I'm in a great mood as I write this. Awesome Halloween party Saturday night. First pheasant hunt of the season Sunday morning and I had to clear out my sewer line Sunday afternoon. "What, you're happy about having had to clean your sewer line?" you're likely asking yourself. Well, not really. But I'm stoked that I didn't have to call a plumber. Instead I called Stan. You see, my buddy Stan is the MacGuyver of my crew. He has every tool known to mankind and can fix anything. So when I was bummed about having to buy a 50' snake, I stopped off at Stan's house to see if he had one. Not only did he have one, but it was one of the industrial-sized motorized ones (his aunt and uncle used to own hotels. I had to ask). So he set me up big time. But that was just the half of it. Later, he stopped by to see if I needed help. And yes, I really did. The contractor I hired to put in a clean out in my sewer line put in a 90 degree bend that was hard to get the snake into. With an extra set of hands and Stan's ingenuity, we figured it out. It still took awhile to get the clog out, but it finally did and I will be forever shocked to see the garbage my wife and kids flush. Seriously, I'm amazed and completely grossed out.
Anyway, I am so stoked about Stan's overly cool act of kindness, that, despite not getting my Sunday-day-after-going-hard-recovery-nap, I'm in a fantastic mood. If you're in CM 10 or CM 121, you had better hope this feeling lasts. And if it lasts until I write your exams, you all owe Stan a beer (He's a Pliny guy, if you're wondering. I'll make sure he gets it).
Quote of the Week
"I've come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen." -- Former major league player and manager Bob Lemon
This quote is appropriate for two reasons. Obviously because of the MLB playoffs, but also because of the story up above. Take care of your friends.
CM News and Events
There are no student events this week that I know of. However, this is the week the CM Department goes through its evaluation for accreditation. I have a ton of stuff to pull together to prove that I actually teach you something (yeah, I'm still figuring out how I'm going to pull that rabbit out of a hat...), so if I'm more absent-minded that usual, you have my apologies. Also, be cool to Mike this week and try not to burden him with unnecessary issues. He's likely developing a minivan-sized ulcer right now.
Nothing this week. But if you haven't heard, it's job huntin' season for you graduating seniors. Other students, the internship hiring season typically come later. If you haven't done so yet, polish your resume. And a word to the wise: unless you're looking for a job as a PX (and you're not), keep your resume to one page. No one in our department, including faculty, can justify a resume longer than one page. If you cannot say it in one page, you will lose your audience.
What's Going On In Classes
CM 10: Exam this week. It will cover all of the classes and guest speakers we have had (Nick Parker (Turner Construction), Heman Chand (Whiting-Turner), Tim Murchison (URS), Ruzaw Cooper & Bill Schmazel (Cooper Oates Air Conditioning), and John Nunan & Scott Maxwell (Unger Construction), as well as my lecture on the Reno teams. Test will be true/false.
CM 121: Exam on Tuesday. True/false, multiple choice, and one or two problems to be solved (as we discussed in class). Thursday we will start discussing timber construction. We will start the timber estimate for Goodyear this week and will spend two weeks on it.
CM 126: I'll be honest--I don't have the list of speakers on me, so I'm going to wing this. Please confirm with me tomorrow morning if there is some confusion.
Two toolbox presentations on Tuesday: Maria Gutierrez (safety awareness/red tape) and Tom Salazar (lock-out/tag out). I'm hoping for a "what not to do" demonstration from one of those presentations, but I won't say which...
I'll present something on quality control. Ironically I'm guessing it will be low quality given that I haven't started it yet and I have a two hour Department meeting tomorrow. And unlike some of you, I don't use my laptop when others are speaking. It's rude. And yes, I just passive-aggressively nagged you just like m
On Thursday, Sean Davis will cover crane safety in his toolbox. Then Cliff Allison and Dan Mello will give their team presentation on managing labor. Assignment 6 is due on Wednesday. I hope to have it graded by Thanksgiving. 2013.
Last Friday, ten CM students visited the San Francisco Transbay Terminal project (where Justin Burke, CM '10 and Stacy Wilson, CM '12 work for Turner Construction, which is the agency CM on the project). Involving six blocks in a heavily congested city, it's needless to say that this project is unbelievably complex. The terminal portion is just over $1 billion, with the excavation (just the excavation!) being $200 million (and trending more).
If you ever get a chance to visit this project, make the effort to go. If you're going to San Francisco anytime soon, just walk in the vicinity of the project so that you can get a feeling for the magnitude of the project. One other thing: if you walk any construction site, be sure to wear pants and sturdy shoes. Which means definitely don't wear shorts and mountain biking shoes.
On Saturday, the Sac State Construction Alumni Chapter held it's 3rd annual Sporting Clays Shoot at Camanche Hills. It was a fantastic event*. THANK YOU to all the CM students that gave up a beautiful Saturday to volunteer. If you're on a Reno team and did not volunteer, thank your teammates that did. The proceeds go to the Reno effort. Every dollar made from the event means a dollar you don't have to raise. You should be grateful that the alumni like you.
I don't know the final dollar amount raised, but I'm sure it was a good chunk of change. Combine that with the $20k raised at the Tricorp Hearn/TMCS golf tournament (and THANK YOU for the students that volunteered at that event as well), and the CM program is getting a lot of love from the construction industry. I wish I could have stayed for the raffle and the peach cobbler.
*My only gripe about the event was that my team was callously robbed of first place. We didn't have five shooters, but we were able to get the best score, in a perfectly reasonable way, with only four shooters. Not that I'm bitter. I'm not. Well maybe a little. OK, a lot. But hey, it's for charity, right?
Quote of the Week
"If you're not in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?" -- T.S. Eliot
I love that quote--it's possibly my favorite. This is the time of year when things start getting busy (really busy in some cases). Just remember, everything you're going through is a test of your character. The more work you're juggling, the more character you're building.
CM News and Events
October 12: The American Society for Professional Estimators is hosting Dr. Jim Adrian of Bradley University to Sac State. ASPE has graciously covered the cost ($100) for 22 students! It's all filled, but if you want to be added to the wait list, shoot me an e-mail.
October 12-14: CMSA Camping Trip. I'm not sure what happens at the camping trip (not sure I want to know), but I hear it's fun. Just don't let Tommy feed chili and hot dogs to random dogs.
Gilbane Building Company: Gilbane will be on campus for an info session on October 16 and ill be conducting interview on October 17. They are looking for interns. Several Sac State CM students have interned for them and have great things to say.
What's Going On in Classes
CM 10: NO CLASS THIS WEEK! I think we have a guest speaker the next week (John and Scott of Unger). If not, we will have the first exam. I will clarify this in next week's update.
CM 121: More on Goodyear. Monday's lab section will be working on footings, while Tuesday and Thursday will be working on the slab(Monday will work on the slab next week). If I get my act together, we will also have Homework #2 assigned this week.
Remember in the first lab session I said that I'm pretty relaxed about lab but I expect everyone to make an strong effort to complete as much of each weekly lab assignment in lab? Well, that lasted about a week. Already people show up for lab and leave 30 minutes later. There will be some labs that you will be left up to you own devices, but for now, I want people to work in lab. So this week, your labs will be due at the end of lab. Plan on putting in a full lab session. REMEMBER: name your files "Week 6 <last name>.xlsx
CM 126: I cannot recall off the top of my head who is responsible for the Tool Box presentation(s) on Monday, but hopefully they remember. We will have a presentation after the Tool Box(es). On Wednesday, CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELED! The presentations for that day will be rescheduled. I'll try to e-mail you the revised schedule.
By the way, a homework assignment was posted on Wednesday that is due this Wednesday to SacCT. I was going to make you ask me how many people could work together, but I'm not sure I want to get 20 e-mails, so I'll just tell you that you can work in pairs (that means no more than 2 per group. If you cannot find a partner, you can easily finish the assignment by yourself. In fact, the only reason I'm allowing people to work in pairs is because I'm behind in grading and don't want to create more work that I can handle. Even though that's the case, don't try to convince me that it's smart to allow groups of 10 because it will reduce my work load even more. I'm cool with groups of two).
Also, remember to put you name(s) in the files you upload.
I hope you had fun this weekend. The CMSA BBQ was a big success in two ways: 1) there were a ton of students there and the faculty showing was strong. I think this is the first time since I started at Sac State CM that Mike, Bish and myself were all in attendance. 2) I consumed an ample amount of food and beer that I did nothing to procure. Victory on both fronts!
The semester still seems to be in chill mode, but don't become complacent. It won't be long before the overwhelming crush of midterms is among us.
Quote of the Week
"An ounce of performance is worth a pound of promises" -- Mae West, American Actress
More career advice: Another post in my "Advice for Students" section. Thanks to Tommy for the great question and to Kim for the great advice.
Sac State wins again! Think about that--it's been a long time since those words have been typed in that order.
World Trade Center construction progress: more cool pix from an awesome project.
Hard commodity prices will collapse by 2015: this article is a bit wonky, but it predicts that hard commodity (basic metals such as gold, but also steel, concrete, timber) prices will fall because of economic tensions in China. This could be a big deal in the construction industry.
CM News and Events
September 17: Reno applications *may* be available (DO NOT E-MAIL ME IF YOU DON'T GET A MESSAGE--YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED WHEN THE APPLICATIONS GO LIVE). The application will be entirely online (through Survey Monkey). I'll post a link as soon as it goes live. Until then, start thinking about which teams you want to compete on. If you want to return to the team you were on last year, touch base with your coaches to make sure they know (and are ok) that you want to return.
October 1: TMCS Golf Tournament. Volunteers are needed. Since our department is the beneficiary, make the effort to volunteer if you can. It's also a great way to network with industry.
October 6: Sac State CM Sporting Clays Shoot. This is a fundraiser for the Reno teams. It's also a great place to network and enjoy the great outdoors. Volunteer to help out. Contact a CMSA Officer or e-mail the Reno Supreme Leader, Henry Meier for more details. It's an all day event, but you will get fed. You will likely get face time with your Reno coaches.
October 12: The American Society for Professional Estimators is welcoming Dr. Jim Adrian of Bradley University back to Sacramento for a full day seminar in the University Union. We have a total of 20 seats for students who will have their fee ($100!) covered by ASPE (only six have been claimed thus far). This is a great opportunity to network and learn a lot about estimating and productivity (don't worry, it's not a boring estimating lecture--it's great info that's highly applicable and well presented). If you're waffling because you typically work on Fridays, try to get you employer to pay for your time while you're at the presentation. It's a great investment for your employer. If interested, send me and e-mail.
October 12-14: CMSA Camping Trip. After an awesome day of learning from Jim Adrian (see directly above), treat yourself to some fun with your fellow CM classmates. Word on the street is that Mike will be taking his boat up.
October 17: Sacramento Builders' Exchange CIEF Golf Tournament. Another chance to volunteer and meet industry executives and PMs. This tournament raises money for scholarships, so some of you may ultimately end up as beneficiaries of this event. VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED.
Boldt: I sent out an e-mail last week regarding an internship position for a junior-level CM student. Sean Davis received seven resumes quickly and submitted the best to his manager. If you're a really high quality candidate, you better send your resume to Sean quickly (as in last week). You can e-mail Sean here.
Turner: Apparently, there's a career fair on campus on September 26th. Turner will be there, so if you're interested in working for them, polish your resume now. Find out more about Turner here.
Gilbane Building Company: Gilbane will be on campus for an info session on October 16 and ill be conducting interview on October 17. They are looking for interns. Several Sac State CM students have interned for them and have great things to say. Find out more info about their info session here and more about the company here.
What's Going On in Classes
CM 10: This week's speaker is Tim Murchison of URS. You can see his unique professional background here.
Remember to bring a FINAL version of your write-up for Nick Parker. If you haven't proofread your partner's paper yet, do so quickly (in other words, be a good partner). This system only works if you help each other out. I'll be honest with you, if I do all the proofreading, you won't be happy. I was raised my an incredibly anal-retentive mother whose pet peeve is poor English. Her tendencies rubbed off on me.
Also, bring your rough draft of your Heman Chand write-up to class and repeat the cycle of exchanging papers with a classmate.
CM 121: MAKE SURE YOU BRING YOUR GOODYEAR PLANS TO LECTURE AND LAB THIS WEEK! We will start estimating Goodyear this week in labs (so be ready). This week is all about site work and we will actually start estimating. QTO + productivity + labor cost + equipment cost + material cost = total cost. HW 1 may also be assigned (it's a game-time decision).
CM 126: First-things-first: the presentations (Toolbox and Team) have been pretty good thus far. Without giving specific feedback to bias the rest of the presentations, Mark and Kim did a pretty good job of breaking a complex subject into a hand full of "things you need to know," and Eric and Nate did a good job of boiling their Toolboxes into takeaways (I really liked Nate's "5 keys to saw safety"). But as the Navy SEALs say, "the only easy day was yesterday," so I expect the quality to maintain or increase throughout the term (there are benefits to going first...).
For this week, Forest Fire Podva will (appropriately) be talking about fire safety on Tuesday and Richie Orlando will be covering issues with equipment around power lines (which is a common safety issue in construction) on Thursday. Thursday's team presentation will be Phil Bremerman and Jack "T Slammer" Warner on RFIs.
Rounding out Monday's lecture will be a discussion/lecture on partnering programs and issues with managing projects employing alternative delivery models. Wednesday will be a discussion on Assignment 2 and the kick-off of Assignment 3.
With respect to Assignment 2, be sure to include (as an addendum if necessary), the tool or method for how you chose your team. Be methodical about how you complete the assignment.
I teach people who will be building our country's infrastructure.