During the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, MCL Construction rapidly implemented measures to protect its employees and reassure its partners that projects would continue. Now, one of MCL’s superintendents is taking a page from the same playbook.
Trevor Bruegman is a graduate of Metropolitan Community College, where he obtained his construction degree by taking night classes while he balanced working full-time during the day. Today, he splits his time between managing large active job sites as a superintendent for MCL and teaching a group of MCC students as an adjunct instructor of print reading.
Bruegman says he’s a testament to how valuable MCC’s program proved to be.
“It’s an accelerated program,” he explained. “There are a lot of adjunct teachers there from all over the construction industry who provided great insight and knowledge and like to give back. The program was great for that reason. A lot of hands-on experience and real-world knowledge. Not just professors lecturing who haven’t been in the field for 20 years; these guys were in it everyday evolving with all the changes.”
Evolving with the changes has been a theme for Bruegman, particularly over the past month as the world halted in response to COVID-19. Although MCL’s construction projects continue, MCC students transitioned into an online learning format, where they’re now using Zoom to learn to read complex, detailed blueprints.
“Details are your best friend. They’re what really matter,” he tells his students. “If you don’t look at all the details, you’ll miss something and that’s what’s most important -- finding those details so everything is done as it’s supposed to be.”
Normally, these classes are hands-on learning experiences, but Bruegman is finding ways to be agile. Currently, his students are learning how to read architectural scales, and are proving their knowledge by submitting pictures of their drawings.
“But I can’t tell if they’ve followed their scale when they take a picture and send it to me,” he said. “So we’ve definitely had to adapt and overcome in a lot of areas, especially with students who don’t have access to this technology. I can’t walk around and check on everyone.”
Despite the challenges, Bruegman noted a silver lining.
“Students may be nervous to ask questions in front of the class, which is a benefit of e-learning because you don’t always know who’s asking the question, or they feel more comfortable behind a computer screen rather than raising their hand in class and everyone looking at them. The questions they ask are very good, and they pertain to what we’re learning about, so they’re understanding it pretty well.”
Although he’s both a superintendent and an instructor, he still finds opportunities to learn new things.
“The day you tell me you’re not learning anything anymore, you’re not doing your job,” Bruegman says. “You’re never going to stop learning. There are products that are evolving, new methods and ways to do things, better ways. You’re going to learn something on every project you’re on.”
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