CCC a triple play for construction student

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Not only has CCC helped Lucas Giannetti with his educational goals, but the college also has helped him with landing an internship and starting his own business.

 

 

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Lucas Giannetti wanted to continue to learn and to grow in the construction trades. He also wanted to land an internship with a local contractor. He also wanted to start his own business doing finishing work on homes.

 

He found all three at Coconino Community College.

 

Giannetti learned many construction skills from his father.

 

“Throughout my childhood, we worked together on home improvement projects on our home,” Giannetti said, adding that although he had basic skills, he didn’t see construction as a viable option due to pressures from school counselors and his parents to pursue a four-year degree. He found a program in Environmental Science in North Carolina – primarily because he loves the outdoors - but while in the program and looking at jobs in the field, Giannetti realized he wouldn’t be able to afford to pay back the debt of a four-year degree.

 

So, he left university and began traveling the country and getting jobs in the trades.

 

"I felt like my learning was slowing down," Giannetti said. “I wanted to expand my opportunities for learning.”

 

He did his research and found that CCC had a strong Construction Technology Management program and enrolled. His love of the outdoors – rock climbing, backcountry snowboarding – and his desire to help construct homes that were environmentally sound and energy saving made CCC a good fit. Besides, his girlfriend had been accepted to the NAU Forestry program as a graduate student, and he wanted to trail along.

 

“It’s definitely been worth it,” he said, adding that he’s availed himself of a variety of classes that not only included Building Methods, but also Blueprint Reading, Estimating, Business Communication, Concrete, Plumbing and Building the Human Environment.

 

JOB TRAINING

Last spring, Giannetti’s Building Methods II class helped build panels for a “starter home” proposed by Habitat for Humanity. The students would gain valuable construction experience, and the community would receive an affordable home. He was made one of two student leaders on the project.

 

“It was great to get some experience managing while also learning myself,” Giannetti said, adding that he felt like he learned more than he had in the past by being on a job site. He discovered that his instructor, Ken Myers, cared about his students’ learning. That experience taught him so much about being a supervisor – from delegation of duties to ensuring jobs were sufficiently supplied and completed on time, and more. And the build had a focus of “sustainability,” which is important to him, as well as the home is going to help somebody in need of affordable housing.

 

“That’s the best part,” he said, smiling. “We’re learning through a process that’s going to help people. It’ll give a family a launching point for the prospect of a bright future.”

 

Also, it was cool seeing something he helped build become a real, standing building that will be around for years.

 

“Seeing it go from foundation finished space – that’s my favorite part,” he said.

 

His work philosophy is: “I work hard so I can play hard.” He added that he hates monotony, always wants to be learning and makes the most of what comes his way. Giannetti said he wants his work to align with his environmental values. He enjoys the beauty of the outdoors and wants to do his part to make sure that beauty is still there when he gets around to having children.

 

“Anything I can do to help preserve it, I’ll do it,” he said, smiling.

 

INTERN TIME

Giannetti also is interning as a superintendent/estimator for Buzzard Construction, which is the same contractor helping to construct the starter home for Habitat for Humanity. He’s receiving three credit hours in Construction Supervision and Scheduling, which will apply toward his associate degree. Giannetti said it has been his most valuable learning experience so far. For the internship, he has to put in 120 hours of work during the semester, and 15 hours to write up his experiences for the credit at the college. But, because it's a paid position that’s teaching him so much, he works upward of 35 hours a week.

 

The internship consists of him assisting the superintendent, facilitating the lead carpenters with new building layouts, and completing material estimates based off plans. He provides much of the logistics to help crews stay ahead of what they’ll need at each of the building sites.

 

Myers said, “I feel it is super important for students to experience the field of construction and project management first-hand. In construction, things change daily because of supply-chain issues, weather conditions, or the lack of qualified labor, and students need to think on their feet to get the job done on time and under budget. The real-world experience they get from an internship provides them with that skill set.”

 

Myers added that each internship is customized for the individual student based on what they want to learn and which degree pathway they are in. To that end, he is in constant contact with community partners at the Northern Arizona Builders Association and other contractors trying to find that perfect match for the student.

 

BUSINESS IDEA

While at CCC, Giannetti learned about the Small Business Development Center at the Fourth Street campus from a fellow remodel contractor because he’d been interested in starting his own business.

 

“There’s only so much money you can make working for someone else,” Giannetti said, adding that his goal was to start his own business, get it established and have time to enjoy his life.

 

He’d become proficient as a “finish” carpenter – a carpenter who puts the finishing touches on homes, like building cabinets, putting in trim, installing flooring and other final wood items. He came to enjoy it more than other aspects of carpentry. Therefore, he wanted to see if he could start a business offering “finish” carpentry services. The SBDC at CCC helped him to write down a comprehensive business plan, come up with financial projections, identify funding sources to get the business up and running, and hash out his goals in what he wanted the business to achieve. He filed for his LLC in December, and it was approved in January.

 

Now, using his mother’s maiden name, Brauer Construction, LLC, is now a reality.

 

“And I’ve referred a few of my friends as well because the course was so beneficial to me,” he said.

 

As his business has developed, he’s discovered that his business model is modifying from the original idea. He’s noticing a desire to involve himself more in “home performance” and how to improve homes to maximize their energy savings, with the goal of becoming “net zero” in terms of their energy use, and in some cases, becoming energy positive, which means they create more energy than they use.

 

For more information about the construction trades at CCC, visit https://www.coconino.edu/paths/construction-trades. For more information about the Small Business Development Center at CCC, visit https://www.coconino.edu/SBDC.

 

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Category
Spotlight
Date
Wednesday, 12th October 2022
 
 

All Dates

  • Wednesday, 12th October 2022