- Birmingham, Alabama-based general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie partnered with the University of Alabama’s (UA) Culverhouse College of Commerce to give students hands-on experience with 3D printing, modeling software and modular manufacturing methods in construction.
- The contractor, which ranked 29th on Engineering News-Record’s 2017 Top 400 Contractors list, selected prefabrication and modularization as the focus for the project. Brasfield & Gorrie personnel mentored UA students as they researched ways to optimize offsite construction, visited a modular manufacturing plant and tested their design concepts.
- Students assembled two 3D printers provided by Brasfield & Gorrie and tested the feasibility of their designs by printing scale models, according to a company news release. The contractor says the annual program exposes students to cutting-edge technologies and real-world business challenges.
The millennial generation may be labeled as lazy and entitled, but students enrolled in construction science and management programs across the country don’t seem to fit this profile. Instead, professors are finding a hardworking and entrepreneurial group that enjoys hands-on work and isn’t shying away from real-world business challenges.
Russ Gibbs, director of innovation and operational technology at Brasfield & Gorrie, said this generation will be at the helm of the industry’s digitization. “It’s rewarding for me to see students get excited about some of the emerging technologies and innovative solutions we are currently identifying and using,” he said in the news release. “As the next generation workforce, they will be the ones to take those concepts to the next level and drive future progress.”
The industry is often perceived as low-tech despite considerable advances being made, such as DroneDeploy's reported 239 percent year-over-year increase in drone usage for construction.
To recruit and retain millennial talent, contractors are showcasing high-tech tools in an effort to break down the stereotype. “Not many people coming out of school understand there’s this much tech in construction,” Garrett Harley, vice president of business development for Fieldwire, told Construction Dive last year. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of it.