Thursday, February 1, 2018

Penn College Racks Up Successes at Home Builders’ Show

Penn College was one of five recipients of a National Housing Endowment grant, which was formally awarded during the 2018 National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. Accepting the check are (from left) instructor Levon A. Whitmyer; students Hayden N. Beiter, of Williamsport; Michael J. Deragon, of Fort Washington; Caleb M. Burk, of Sunbury; Nathaniel M. Barbolish, of Nicholson; Aaron F. White, of Westover; Ryan Z. Zwickle, of Slatington; Justin W. Bates, of Hawley; Casey L. Grim, of Red Lion; Henry A. Rainey, of Jersey Shore; Katherine L. Mertes, of Williamsport; and Hanna J. Williams, of Marion, N.Y.; and instructor Barney A. Kahn IV.
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Orlando, Florida, was fertile ground for Pennsylvania College of Technology this season: Students, alumni and faculty all returned in triumph from an international builders’ show held at the Orange County Convention Center.

For starters, the college was presented with a $73,838 Homebuilding Education Leadership Program grant – the culmination of a yearlong effort led by building construction technology instructor Levon A. Whitmyer, with support from instructor Barney A. Kahn IV and Carol A. Lugg, now dean of construction and design technologies.

"The financial support from the National Housing Endowment recognizes Penn College's ability to produce graduates that are leaders in the residential home building industry," Lugg said. “This grant funding presents additional opportunities for building construction faculty to strengthen their portfolios of industry-valued credentials, which will, in turn, strengthen our programs. The funding will also provide needed resources to launch a secondary outreach program that will be designed to broaden students’ understanding of the multitude of career pathways within the residential home industry.”

Faculty and students attending the 2018 National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders Show from Jan. 9-11 were called to the stage to accept the money during an awards ceremony for student competitors.

Penn College fielded two teams in the Residential Construction Management Competition; members of the two-year squad placed third overall while their bachelor-degree colleagues finished 19th out of 34 schools.

Kahn’s associate-degree team comprised Nathaniel M. Barbolish, of Nicholson; Hayden N. Beiter and Katherine L. Mertes, both of Williamsport; Caleb M. Burk, of Sunbury; and Michael J. Deragon, of Fort Washington.

Represented on Whitmyer’s four-year team were Justin W. Bates, of Hawley; Casey L. Grim, of Red Lion; Henry A. Rainey, of Jersey Shore; Aaron F. White, of Westover; Hanna J. Williams, of Marion, New York; and Ryan Z. Zwickle, of Slatington.

Students participating on Penn College’s competition teams are enrolled in the associate-degree building construction technology major or seeking bachelor’s degrees in residential construction technology and management – with the exception of Williams, an industrial design student, and Bates, majoring in civil engineering technology.

The competition gives students the opportunity to apply their classroom skills to an actual project, defending their proposal before a panel of industry judges and a live audience.

The contest for four-year students, won by Penn State, involved potential acquisition and development of a 72-acre site in Okemos, Michigan. The two-year students' problem – in a category won by SUNY’s Delhi campus – was to develop working drawings, a materials estimate and a construction schedule for a home in Amherst, Washington.

The strong showing continued as Grim, representing the Penn College Construction Association, was honored as an Outstanding Student Chapter member.

“She was deserving of the award for her continued support of the college club, as well as her dedication to the NAHB student chapter competition,” Whitmyer said. “Casey has been a five-year participant in the (competition), starting with her senior year of high school and in all four years of her college career.”

Also bringing honor to the college was 2014 alumnus Ronald W. Campbell, who holds a bachelor’s degree in residential construction technology and management and an associate degree in building construction technology. He was chosen as the inaugural recipient of NAHB’s “Up and Comer Award” for having a significant impact in the residential construction industry within his first five years of postgraduate employment.

“Ron has progressed from an entry-level project manager to a senior project manager with PulteGroup Inc.,” Whitmyer said. “His boss, Dave Abbate, exclaimed that Ron is a ‘shooting star’ … working extremely well with customers, as well as with the local builders association.”

Adding to the eventful evening in the national spotlight was Donald J. McTarnaghan, a 1966 construction graduate of Williamsport Area Community College (and Florida resident) who attended the awards ceremony.

“He was extremely pleased to see his alma mater being represented by a great bunch of students,” Whitmyer said.

As the competition and awards ceremonies came to a close, the students were afforded the opportunity to network with peers and industry leaders at the 1-million-square-foot trade show, and Whitmyer and Kahn, committee members within NAHB's Student Chapter Advisory Board, engaged in meetings with fellow professionals and attended various recognition events to introduce the 2018 HELP grant recipients to industry donors.

The Penn College contingent was treated to a three-hour tour of PulteGroup’s Ruby Lake Development, which Whitmyer said “made a difference in the lives of our 12 students” by providing a real-world look at land development and construction of single-family homes.

On a lighter note, the group shared an afternoon with Zachary A. Green, a 2015 building construction technology graduate employed by Whiting-Turner as a project manager in the Orlando market. The reunion was held during “The PCCA Orlando Open,” won by Burk, who Whitmyer said shot “a sizzling 39” on the Par-42 miniature golf course.

For more about the School of Construction & Design Technologies, visit or call 570-327-4518.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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