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The Value of Mentorship: A Q&A with PROCON’s Brian Knox

| March 14, 2019

ACE NH mentors and Oyster River High School pilot program students group photo taken on March 6

The ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc. (ACE) is a free after-school program for high school students interested in careers in the architecture, engineering, building, design, and construction industries.

High-Profile: How did the organization start?

Brian Knox: ACE was founded in 1995 with the ACE Mentor Program of NYC, and today is active in over 200 cities and towns in the U.S. We are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. In the program, students engage with industry professionals (mentors) once a week throughout the school calendar year developing a program project related to the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. The program encourages industry firms to volunteer (provide mentors) and share professional knowledge to help high school students be introduced to a wide range of construction industries.

In 2002, ACE Mentor Program of America was formed as a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization, and the ACE Mentor Program of New Hampshire (ACE NH) is the 38th to become an affiliate. The New Hampshire pilot program launched on March 6, 2019 at Oyster River High School in Durham, N.H. The Oyster River High School students have embarked on a two-month project where they will learn hands-on, real-life skills associated with ACE fields as they relate to the Moharimet Elementary School renovation project. At the end of this pilot program, there will be student presentations and a scholarship awarded to one deserving senior enrolled in the program.

While Oyster River is the first school in New Hampshire to be involved, it is not the only school interested. There are currently six additional schools in the Granite State awaiting approval for similar partnerships on projects with ACE NH.

HP: How did you become involved?

ACE students are shown how to properly fold a construction drawing.

BK: I met with a family friend at a function in 2017, and we were discussing the construction industrys’ workforce shortages. This young adult mentioned her involvement in the ACE Mentor Program of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. It was such an interesting concept to engage a younger workforce, I followed up by contacting the ACE National & Regional Directors. We set up a conference call to overview ACE, and shortly thereafter, both ACE directors attended a meeting in New Hampshire with the CEO of PROCON Inc., where I work. We then prepared to take the next steps to get the ACE NH affiliate up and running. In March 2019, ACE NH held its first pilot program at Oyster River High School, with several other New Hampshire communities slated to launch additional programs within the year.

Civil & Structural Engineer Mentor Steve Haight of Haight Engineering/Civilworks NE overviews the site existing conditions plan in preparing for early design considerations.

HP: What’s the mission of the organization?

BK: The mission of ACE is “To engage, excite, and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, construction, and engineering through mentoring and to support their continued advancement in the industry.” Mentors guide the students as they work towards a final project, introducing them to the careers, industry vocabulary, and various roles companies play in the construction industry. Students have an opportunity to compete and interact with other local, regional, and national programs. ACE offers scholarship awards on an annual basis for students going on to further their education in the design and construction industries. Many students remain active alumni of the program through the scholarships they receive, relationships they develop with their mentors, and future employment opportunities — such as internships and post-college jobs.

HP: Can you share a success story of someone who has been positively impacted by the organization/program?

BK: There are so many! As an example, ACE New Haven student Emily Ruggeri participated in the program when she was a senior in high school. Her mentor was Jennifer Lin of Turner Construction. Ruggeri ended up getting a job with Turner Construction while paying it forward, assisting other high school students and becoming an ACE mentor herself.

During the site visit of the Moharimet Elementary School (this year’s program project), students learned from ORCSD’s Facilities Director Jim Rozycki.

HP: How can others become involved?

BK: Become a mentor. Be a sponsor. Visit the ACE website (www.acementor.org). Contact ACE New Hampshire (newhampshire@acementor.org) (603-518-2179). Visit us at https://www.acementor.org/about-us. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please join ABC NH/VT, Bauen Corp., Denron Plumbing & HVAC LLC, Harvey Building Products, Pilot Construction Inc., PROCON Inc., Read & Assoc. CPA’s, Turnstone Corp. in making a positive impact in the future workforce.

 

 

 

 

Brian R. Knox

Brian R. Knox is the senior project manager for PROCON, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACE NH Board of Directors (2018-2019) Co-Chairs: Stacy J. Clark; Turnstone Corporation, Brian R. Knox; PROCON, Inc., Co-Vice Chairs:  Annette Carroll; A. Carroll Consulting, Robert W. Holden; Denron Plumbing & HVAC, LLC, Co-Treasurers:  Lyndon B. Johnson; Harvey Building Products, Bob Read; Read & Associates, CPAs, PLLC, Secretary:  Leslie Del Sesto; PROCON, Inc., Co-Attorneys: Kim Cochran; PROCON, Inc., Corey N. Giroux; Strang, Scott, Giroux & Young, LLP, Accountant:  Linda Moquin; PROCON, Inc., Administrator:  Drew Carter: Pilot Construction, Inc.

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Category: All, Education

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