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Pitt State Construction Prof Trades Knowledge with P1 Group

P1 Group and Pittsburg State

P1 Group had the chance to serve as a classroom this summer for a Pittsburg State University construction science professor who wanted to learn more about current trends and techniques in the industry.

Associate Professor Shannon Nicklaus also had some advice for P1 on tactics for recruiting the best students from construction and engineering programs.

Shannon, who leads Pittsburg State’s Mechanical Contractors of America Chapter, met Kollin Knox, P1 Group President, at an MCA event a few years ago. Kollin invited him to utilize P1 Group as a learning lab anytime.

Almost immediately, Nicklaus took a trip to P1’s Fabrication Shop in Lawrence, with video camera in hand. He found that the short video he made about plumbing fabrication was a highly successful teaching tool.

“Instead of taking the time during the plumbing class to explain things in detail – that eats up 30 or more minutes of lab time – the students watched the  video before class so when they got there they were ready to do the assignment,” said Shannon.

This summer, Kollin invited Shannon to be at P1 as much as he wanted and together they worked out a schedule so Shannon could learn more about facets of the industry that would most benefit his students.

He spent part of that time out in the field, visiting job sites. In the office, he spent time with Sarah Garcia, P1's Corporate Trainer, the VDC (Virtual Design Construction) team, estimating and service departments. He also shadowed Brady Kyle, a P1 Group Project Engineer who is a relatively recent Pittsburg State graduate. 

“It was very valuable to spend time with Brady and have the chance to pick his brain,” Shannon said. “He is young enough that he understands where we’re at in school and I was able to talk with him about what students need to know when they first come out.”

P1 Group’s college recruitment team members had the chance, in turn, to talk with Shannon about the best ways to encourage students to think about careers at P1.

He advised P1 to play up the innovative aspects of the company and, also, the fact that interns or new graduates at P1 will be directly involved in challenging projects; they will be fully immersed almost immediately.

“Let them know that they aren’t going to get here and push a broom,” he said. “They are going to jump right in on projects. Show them the projects, talk about the challenges and rewards of the projects and  emphasize they do not need to be a mechanical engineer to be highly successful as a project manager for a mechanical contractor.”

Kollin said it was truly a pleasure to have Shannon spend time at P1 Group this summer.

"Through this partnership, we gained a better understanding of construction from an academic perspective while Shannon had the opportunity to participate in the daily activities of a specialty contractor," he said. "I'm confident Shannon will take his findings back to the classroom which will only help improve the students' experience while preparing them for a career in construction."

"Shannon is great advocate for the mechanical and electrical industry and we're continually impressed with the quality of students from Pittsburg State University."

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