Construction expo a chance for students to star

Last week’s construction industry expo was held at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Upper Macungie Township. - (Photo / Brian Pedersen)

Youthful exuberance was on display at a local construction industry product show last week, reflecting the budding spark of innovation shown by the next generation of professionals.

Youthful exuberance was on display at a local construction industry product show last week, reflecting the budding spark of innovation shown by the next generation of professionals.

The 38th annual CSI Allentown Chapter Product and Design Show attracted nearly 80 manufacturers and suppliers who showed their latest products and designs but also the projects that two local high school groups are undertaking. CSI is a national association of specifiers, architects and engineers, contractors and facility managers, manufacturers and other related industry professionals.

The event, hosted at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Upper Macungie Township, featured a baseball theme in recognition of Babe Ruth Day and included four seminars and a visit from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs minor league team mascot.

At the event on April 27, students from architectural and construction groups at Emmaus High School and William Allen High School in Allentown displayed their projects, which included a design for an observatory and a refurbished baseball field.

“It’s great exposure for the kids looking to get into architecture or construction,” said LeeAnn Slattery, sales and marketing leader for ATAS International in Upper Macungie Township and president of CSI Allentown Chapter.

It also could help in leading more students into construction, which is expected to see a worker shortage as more baby boomers retire.

For the students at Emmaus, the idea for designing and building projects for their school started with a tour of the ATAS manufacturing facility, said Scott Didra, a drafting and architecture teacher at Emmaus High School.

“I wanted the students to experience building something; we’ve been doing that the last six years,” Didra said. “It has been a dream that has come true with help from so many businesses. It started with a single Manufacturing Day tour at ATAS.”

For the new observatory project, which the students are finishing, ATAS donated all materials for the roofing and siding, Didra said.

Mike Siemons, an Emmaus student, said the idea for the project started with the 2011-12 school year, when students designed a playhouse for preschoolers.

Brian Pedersen
Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108.

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