Seven Local Projects Win ESD’s 2013 Construction & Design Awards

Awards Given at ESD’s Annual Dinner Event                                                           Thursday, June 27, 2013-5:30 p.m.                                                                             The Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. —After careful and tedious evaluation, The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) has chosen seven local projects to receive the 2013 Prestigious Construction & Design Award.  The winners will be recognized during ESD’s Annual Awards Dinner on June 27, 2013 at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

In its 39th year, the ESD Construction and Design Awards are among the premier recognitions awarded to members of the construction industry and their projects. These awards are unique in that they honor the three primary members of the building team: owners, designers and constructors—and recognize outstanding team achievement and innovative use of technology.

The 2013 winners are:

1- Cranbrook Art Museum Renovation and Collections Building (Bloomfield Hills)

Contractor:      Frank Rewold & Son                                                                                Designer:         SmithGroupJJR                                                                               Owner:            Cranbrook Educational Community and Cranbook Academy of  Art and Art Museum

2-      NSO Bell Building (Detroit)

Contractor:      O’Brien Edwards Construction Company                                      Designer:         Fusco, Shaffer & Pappas                                                                        Owner:            Neighborhood Service Organization

3-      Michigan State University Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum  (East Lansing)

Contractor:      Barton Malow Company                                                               Designer:         Zaha Hadid Architects                                                                            Owner:            Michigan State University

4-      Thumb Wind Parks (Minden, McKinley and Sigel Townships in Huron and Sanilac Counties, Michigan)

Contractor:      Barton Malow Company                                                          Designer:         Black & Veatch, MJ Electric                                                                       Owner:            DTE Energy


5-      Community Health and Social Services (HASS) Southwest Center (Detroit)

Contractor:      Turner Construction Company                                                  Designer:         Harley Ellis Devereaux                                                                              Owner:            Community Health and Social Services Center, Inc. (CHASS)

6-      Eastern Michigan University Mark Jefferson Science Complex (Ypsilanti)

Contractor:      Christman/Dumas, A Joint Venture                                      Designer:         Peter Basso Associates                                                                             Owner:            Eastern Michigan University

7-      Wells Hall Addition at Michigan State University (Lansing)

Contractor:      Barton Malow Company                                                                       Designer:         Hamilton Anderson Associates                                                    Owner:            Michigan State University

Submittals are judged on a strict set of criteria, including: Effective teaming between the owner, designer & constructor; safety; quality of overall design and construction; unique or innovative engineering solutions; sustainable design; sustainable design for the future; environmental consciousness; sensitive land use; as well as social and economic significance.

Awardees will be recognized at ESD’s Annual Dinner Event on Thursday, June 27, 2013—starting at 5:30 p.m. at The Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn.

For more information, visit or call Della Cassia at 248-353-0735, ext. 112 or

Founded in 1895, ESD is a multi-disciplinary society uniting engineering, scientific and allied professions to enhance professional development and foster excitement in math and science to produce our next generation of leaders. Serving this generation of engineers and fostering the next. For more information, visit

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A Skilled Job Fair for Skilled Labor

These days, employers want to hire applicants who are highly motivated, skilled and experienced.  The question is then why try to find the top level talent at a slapdash “job fair?”

Not to sound elitist but you don’t dig for gold in a coal mine.  Email and social media allows us to get the message out to potential employers or employees about exactly what we are looking for and what we have to offer.  Whether you’re looking for general laborers or employees with the set of particular skills possessed by Liam Neeson in “Taken,” you can tailor your message to attract that talent pool that will help advance your organization. So, the question we always ponder is: Why do professionals who have earned college degrees, certifications and paid their dues, go to a job fair where the available opportunities don’t match their “special skills?”

Not to toot our own horn (much), but on Monday, April 22, 2013, The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) hosted a Spring Engineering and Technology Job Fair.  The event featured some of the top engineering, architecture and technology firms in the region, as well as HR reps–all looking for the best professionals that Michigan has to offer.

The disturbing trend of having “job fairs” just to set up a table and tell people looking for a career or a career change to take a pen and “apply online” is not going to address the engineering shortage we have in Michigan.  Thus, job fairs that feature endless lines, no direction, few employers and no distinction between skilled or unskilled labor can be very discouraging–more so than being unemployed. The practice of targeted job fairs is not exclusionary; it’s the natural evolution of a job market with more clearly defined roles for employees and the needs of employers.

So, we ask you: Do you think niche job fairs are important?  What stance should lawmakers take in stimulating job growth in the job market? Are the practices of job fairs in general outdated and a waste of time?  What ideas to you have to take job fairs from “Fair” to “Excellent”?

STEM Symposium attendees begin workgroup sessions

[1:30 p.m.]: Attendees of The Engineering Society of Detroit Institute (ESDI) STEM Symposium have now split into groups to tackle various questions related to STEM and drafting a collaborative STEM plan.

Day 1 of the symposium will conclude at 5:00 p.m. today and resume tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.


[8:08] Chris Webb kicks off Day 2 of the STEM symposium. Cites the State of MA as an example of a STEM initiative. Top 3 recommendations from the State of MA: 1-Build public support; 2-motive MA students; 3-Improve K-12 STEM teaching. HOW: 1-Create & disseminate a STEM plan; 2-appoint a single STEM person in administration; 3- Launch a campaign; 4- Provide role models.

“The opportunity you have here today is to move needle to another place,” Chris Webb. “STEM is not a building; but you have a chance to create today a ‘virtual STEM building,’ that have the same brick and mortar as a real building.”


1- WORKGROUP 1: Brainstorming Outcomes: 1-State of MI portal of all STEM programs; 2-Communicate Clearly between stakeholders; 3-Start young to get influence; 4-Reading deficiencies and integrate math and reading; 5-get community involvement; 6-project-based curriculum. “Everyone needs to know who’s accountable.”

WORKGROUP 2: Brainstorming include: Collaborate with all stakeholers; teaching kids releval and applicable material in math & science; Expand out of Michigan; leverage resources that have already been paid for; Project Based Learning; work in teams; turn homework into practice–not graded; align pre-existing networks; parents need to be proactive about teaching their children the basics.

WORKGROUP 3: Main recommendation: Focus on paradigm shift through a PR campaign; robust & flexible collaborative (pull) system. “The time is right educationally.” Require internships & job shadowing.

[8:49 a.m.] STUDENT PANEL CONVENES in a “talking circle” using restorative practices with 3 guidelines: Speak with respect; listen with respect; wait your turn to talk.  Q to students: What are problems in schools not having foundational skills or interest to go in STEM careers?

R: Not knowing what’s available or what it is–lack of communication or lack of understanding or opportunities;

We don’t do a good enough job of telling students or asking students what they want to do when they graduate! Lots of time spending not thinking about STEM;

Awareness of STEM fields are and people who work in STEM fields do.

Lack of interest cause by distractions, such as phone; getting awareness & opportunities to underserved constituency in high schools or middle schools; appeal to students–you can’t just go out there and talk about STEM–you have to bring it with whole new initiative–direct it to young people; most engineers go into STEM because they like it, getting more students interested in it, is how does it apply to their lives & more cool & fun things; turn it into something they want to do instead of have to do; lots of people don’t realize importance of STEM fields; some students feel they don’t do very well in math–promoted as something for everyone.

Q: What about students who don’t have STEM skills–how can they be engaged to go into STEM-related careers?

1- Adding pizazz to it; get young people to promote it to each other.

2- Is STEM for just some people or for everybody?

3- Essential to involve parents & community from a younger age through field trips and hands-on applications.

4- More programs at younger grade levels–even kindergarten.

5- Start exposing kids at an early age to STEM jobs and STEM opportunities.

6- Re-educate parents & teachers about STEM. It’s parents who spur kids. Problem-solving is hard to teach, unless you start early and incorporate into all your subjects.

7- Starts with parents.

8- Need to give them a good foundation–did kitchen math.
9- Promoting STEM as for everyone.
Q: What is your dream?
R: Be successful in life–better relationship with my family.
Have the opportunities be available to young people.
See the class of 2015 graduate;
My dream is to become a better individual & contribute.
My dream is to become something good.
My dream is associated with my students–
The ability to be stress-free when making decisions. To begin to build idea it’s cool to be in a “STEM club.”
Community where kids want to learn and better themselves; not being forced to learn.
Even the plainfield with resources; provide same opportunities for everyone.

University & College Panelists Share Thoughts on STEM’s Future

10:40 a.m. [UNIVERSITY & COLLEGE PANEL]–Dave Duggar, Director of Early College Alliance, EMU & Director of Educational Options for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District; Doug Oppliger, Professional Engineer & Lecturer in Engineering Fundamentals Department at MTU; Janene Erne, Apprentice Coordinator & Program Manager, Oakland Community College; Filza Walters, Director of combined, five-year, bachelors and masters degree pogram at LTU.

DAVE DUGGAR: Every student is at-risk; non-sensical educational structure based on an 80-year old model that makes no sense; the current k-12 system designed to graduate students, as opposed to educate students; time is the constant, learning is the variable: the rate of college success is “horrendous” in Michigan and across the nation. We are time an graduation centric. There is a lack of continuity, as well as “outrageously” poor metrics.

Need to think differently about school; Change the actual structure of the day and eliminate time from the equation; focus on skills and not credits–”Let the fastest runner, run.”  

FILZA WALTERS: At Lawrence Tech, we say STEAM–not STEM–(There is a lot of ‘Art’ in the core subjects). There are different brain styles. Entrepreneurship is critical–all about design & creativity. In addition, management goes hand-in-hand with the STEM subjects. It all starts at the middle school level. Foster women’s interest in STEAM.

JANENE ERNE: “Once upon a time we used to learn by doing; we need to get back to it.” Seeing resurgent in requests for apprenticeship. Showing video: Math2 SQUARED-Michigan Advanced Technician Training: In-class training at community colleges; hands-on learning; apply knowledge in lab experience at employer’s location. Participants are paid salary and tuition by employer. Oakland Community College & Henry Ford Community College are involved in this program. In high school, technical education is frowned upon because it is not a four-year college degree. “We have to change this attitude.”

DOUG OPPLIGER: What does MI need? Need to work together to CREATE AWARENESS; ENGAGE STUDENTS. Implement engaging initiatives that are: Exciting & Motivating to students; Sustainable & Inclusive–rural & urban schools, parents, teachers & the community.

High School Enterprise Program: STEM Learning: Discovery, project, and team-based; Goals: To develop workforce and STEM skills; motivate to pursue STEM education & careers; teacher-coaches educated in STEM & Project-based learning. Create a self-sustaining partnership among high school teams ad their teacher/coaches, college mentors, industry, and parents and community.

Overarching goals of the program is to increase the numbers entering STEM studies & careers; focus on inclusion of underrepresented groups such as minorities and women,and educate STEM teacher and coaches in leading teams.

11:29 a.m.: QUESTIONS OF PANEL: How to solve the problem? It takes collaboration and it’s expensive. It will cost state an extra $9 billion for Washtenaw County alone; need well-prepared teachers; have to be specific about expectations & rigor.

Q: What’s been missing in Michigan? Taking responsibility & taking ownership & being brave enough to sit together & figure out how to leverage all of these. MA spends twice as much per student as we do. Difficult for school district to think long-term.

Q: With increased emphasis on standardized tests, teachers are not allowed to be creative? Creating a team environment with teachable moments dring a school year or longer. Learning from failure is very important–creating an environment where that is possible is critical.

Most of the conversation is centered around the top of “three,” versus the roots of the STEM problem. The need is to stop the poison flowing from the root.

Kids are sponges–they start learning as early as six months.

Q: Mary Kovari, Principal, Detroit Institute of Technology College Prep High School at Cody: There is a gap in what we know works in high school & capacity to do the work. Ask the panel: What does a high school like Cody where almost all students come in reading at 3rd grade level and math at 4th grade level. What can we do to prepare these students for middle college?

Panelists agree it’s a “massively complicated job.” Go to a year-round school–four-and-a-half hour school day where all homework is done in school. Shorten school day and allow them to see school as a job–it doesn’t go away from their lives & structuring time and creating a different paradigm.


ESD Institute Presenters Expose STEM realities

The morning presentations at the ESD Institute STEM symposium are underway:

9:36 a.m.: Michael Khoury, President, Detroit Cristo Rey:  Our progress slow. Michigan Merit Exam measures proficiency: In Math: 6 percent of students proficient–compared to 25% across the state; second year: 8% improvement. The first year 65% showed no proficiency; the second year only 30% showed no proficiency. Math scores are worse than reading scores.

Average ACT scores is 17.7–goal is 22. Consistently showing improvements. Test scores are comparable. Students from Cristo Rey go to college and stay in college because of the school’s makeup and what they do. Cristo Rey is for those who cannot afford to attend a private school. All students go out there and get jobs. Most Cristo Rey families make $25,000 a year. Students go out and work in law firms; hospitals; private companies, etc., thus kids are working real jobs. Students say “I am being treated like an adult.” They begin to see what their future hold if they go to college. Companies/employees start doing more than just supervising; they start caring and acting like teachers. Cristo Rey students are exposed to dangerous situations, yet they are incredibly optimistic about their futures.

Cristo Rey  students learn life skills as well as core subjects. Various things implemented at the school: Summer Bridge Program–added 10% to school year; double dose math in 9th and 10th grade; Teching techniques: paired sharing, bell ringer, etc., students have even taken Latin, because studies show that those who take Latin do better on tests.

Test scores are not where they are supposed to be, but trending in the right direction. Students are capable of a lot; and believe the same. Behavior problems are addressed by setting certain standards and encouraging better work ethics.


[SYMPOSIUM RESUMES 10:03 AM]: Al Lecs, Director, Employer Strategies, Workforce Intelligence Network: 2012 Job Demand in SE MI: 13.5% Manufacturing; 15% IT; 10% Healthcare; They were appx 27,900 engineering postings in 2012; the demand for mechanical engineers is 3 times that of the next highest advanced career. CAD (Computer-Aided Design) is high in demand. Challenge: How to inform & make aware some of students, especially in high school about skills needed? Optimized statewide STEM Initative-What would it look like?: 1-Move to project-based learning; 2-Teach to skill modules, competency testing; 3-Computer 3-D modeling and “how to make it” workshops; 4- Emphasis on skills required, real-time job demand analysis, three-year projections; 5- Support faster learning students; 6- Support slower learning students; more laboratories, experiments, first robotics-type projects for 11-12 grade level; 7- More summer internships for 11-12 grade level students;8-More Mechatronics learning; 9-More teacher development.

How would it work?

1- More outside class reading & problems; 2-In-class application learning–”integrate desire to be social in the classroom by making use of their computer drive”; 3-student tests for competencies; 4-Study groups help slower learning students; 5-more parental involvement in student projects, career forums; 6-continuous promotion/awareness of STEM careers and opportunities to students and teachers; 7-Renewed alternative pathway into CTE (Skilled Technician-trades); 8-make CTE a valued educational pathway using job deman and wage data; 9-more “real work” internships & job shadowing in industries; special insurance liability policiesto protect companies; 10-State or Federal sponsored cash reimbursements; 11-monthly caree forums for students; 12-tours of company facilities.

The field of study of the future: Integrated mechanical/electrical engineering(MECHATRONICS).

Al Lecs: Solid mathematics education is key to a solid workforce.

10:25 AM: Julie VanPortfliet, Program Manager, TRAC (Transportation & Civil Engineering): TRAC is a national program: Hands-on education program; science, math, and social science classes; engages students in solving real-world problems; connects middle/high school kids to the working world of transportation; inspires them to consider careers in transportation and civil engineering; transportation professionals visit classrooms.

TRAC program: Over 300 schools involved and 700-plus teachers trained. Program also involves countless students. There are eight different modules offered to schools & to train teachers. If bring TRAC to school, students are eligible to intern with the program (Michigan Bridge Building Challenge). This program is free; students are given money for transportation & don’t have to pay for software.

Check out our latest STEM video