Developing the Next Rising Stars of the Greater Construction Industry
David Hutchinson is the leader of Tremco’s Deep Energy Retrofit Development and director of Rising Stars.
Like the construction industry at-large, Tremco is undergoing a transformation. The company has steadily broadened its product offerings beyond sealants and now, as Tremco Commercial Products Group, it’s expanding its mission as well.
The graduating class of Boston's 2022 Rising Stars program.
Born during a leadership discussion in the summer of 2020, Tremco’s Rising Stars program was developed to offer students and young adults interested in construction a wholistic view of the industry. Currently operating in Boston, Brooklyn, and Newark, Rising Stars has seen increasing interest, both from students and new industry partners.
Among those new partners, in furtherance of its own mission to educate workers and professionals across the industry about modular construction, is the Modular Building Institute. As part of MBI’s initial involvement, as well as to learn more about the program and Tremco’s goals for it, I corresponded with David Hutchinson, leader of Tremco’s Deep Energy Retrofit Development and director of Rising Stars.
John McMullen (JM): Tell me about yourself, David. What’s your background?
David Hutchinson (DH): I had a circuitous path to the construction industry, as I had no one in family that was in this field. I came from a business communications background (Penn State) but fell in love with the idea of being able to see the and show the end product of my work. It began in Pittsburgh while my wife was completing school and really began to flourish in NYC, where we still reside. My day-to-day role is in Tremco’s Deep Energy Retrofit Development where I’m busy updating our energy inefficient building stock.
JM: And tell me about Tremco. How has it evolved over the years?
DH: Tremco has been around for nearly 100 years as a building products manufacturer, with a focus in roofing products. Over the last 3-5 years the company has transformed into a complete building envelope company. With products and services ranging from roof to ICF and every ancillary product in between, the company has embraced prefabrication and changing construction methodology. This wholistic view at not only building but the way we build has been a critical part of how this program came to be.
JM: How did the Rising Stars program get started?
DH: The original concept was born in the summer of 2020 during a conversation with my company executives. I felt strongly that we as a company should be better stewards in the communities in which we operate. As a leadership team, it was agreed that we could have an impact, so I started the process to bring this idea to life. A key factor was the growing concern in the lack of young people joining our industry and the imminent “brain drain.”
JM: As director, what’s your current goal for the program? How do you hope the program will grow?
DH: We focus on knowledge and opportunity, so the current goal is to provide an internship/job for any graduate who meets our criteria. It’s a very small goal but we want to avoid the “summer camp” feel and focus more on development. The ultimate goal is to grow to a new city a year; but, more than that, we want to have enough industry partners so that our graduates can choose the path that best fits their skillset.
JM: Who’s eligible to benefit from the program? How do they enroll?
DH: The program is open to 16–24-year-olds that show interest in our industry. The enrollment is currently based on our host locations (Brooklyn, Newark, Boston) and their recruitment strategies/capacity. Enrollment is twice a year (Fall -Spring cohorts).
JM: Tell me about the curriculum. How was it developed and what goals do you have for expanding it?
DH: The current curriculum is two-fold. We bring in presenters from every sector of the construction process (architect through subcontractor) and show not only the nuance to each field, but the career opportunities tied to them. What differentiates our program is the focus on sustainability, construction, and thinking to the future. A lot of our residents come from communities where the built environment is, for lack of a better term, poor. We want them to think about being capable and knowledgeable to change their neighborhoods. The next step has always been to integrate green, clean, and innovative construction into the course.
JM: Tell me about the experience of a student in the program. What can prospective enrollees look forward to?
DH: The students get a good mix of training on skills, construction knowledge, and, most importantly, learning career pathways. The enrollees will get to use their hands to build and create but there is also a big focus on exposure. The markets we have targeted don’t always get to see what is beyond the city limits and we try and break that trend to show how expansive and interesting the industry can be. And we have some exciting new items coming to our Boston program this year from solar, wind, and green tech companies as well.
JM: What do you hope students will walk away with after completing the program?
DH: The goal has always been to instill confidence in their abilities as well as given them knowledge that may separate them from the pack as they start their construction journey. To create that carrot of knowing and hopefully striving to learn more. You want well-rounded individuals to be in the workforce, and our hope is that the graduates from this program understand how to communicate up and down the construction order of operations.
JM: Where do you see Rising Stars in the next 3-5 years?
DH: I want this to grow a city per year starting in 2023. We have had a lot of interest on the East Coast—particularly in Baltimore and Atlanta—from various companies that want to partner with us. The biggest goal and plan for the program is to have enough industry partners that we can effectively place our graduates in fields that best suit their talents and goals. The program has done a great job of connecting with existing non-profits as industry advocate groups through the first two years, I would like to see a more formal structure to really be able to scale this and support as many individuals as possible.
To learn more about Tremco’s Rising Stars program, its students and graduates, and to see its growing list of partners, visit https://info.tremcosealants.com/rising-stars-program.
More from Modular Advantage
This modular QSR project seemed like any another modular building on the surface. Inside, it was anything but. The rhythm, the desire to iterate and repeat, and the constant communication between all parties made it stand out.
At a time when modular buildings were still seen as less than by many in the architecture and construction world, Sara.Ann Logan took the plunge and partnered to launch a design-build firm that designed, built, and constructed modular high-end single-family homes. But even though she could see the value of this kind of construction, it wasn’t universally accepted.
City, county, and state government bodies are reaching out to Fading West Development, a modular manufacturer and developer in Buena Vista, CO, to learn more about how they are using modular construction to solve the affordable housing crisis in Colorado. Governments are eager to learn how they’ve made modular development successful and profitable while meeting the growing need for affordable housing.
While most people think of construction as a gradually layered process, MEP assemblies—such as the modular ones—tend to provide all-in-one installs, like a car factory. A modular MEP product helps developers, architects, and fellow modular manufacturers reach their goals through early integration and planning. MEP assemblies address all the unseen things like electrical, heating, and plumbing when looking at a finalized building. The very nature of MEP assemblies are crucial to any initial prospectus.
Offsite modular construction lags far behind other industries in embracing and adopting automation. Some people believe it will decrease jobs. Others feel they’ve done okay without it, so why change? In reality, conventional construction methods simply cannot keep up. Cooper Lane of Brave Control Solutions points to the labor shortage and the housing crisis that’s rampant in Canada, the U.S., and globally.
The CSA Public Policy Centre’s new report, Seizing the Modular Construction Opportunity, highlights how innovative modular methods can help to bring various building forms—from single unit housing to complex high-rises—online more quickly. Owing to efficient manufacturing practices and controlled factory environments, modular can achieve completion rates that are 25% to 50% faster than conventional construction approaches.
A new set of considerations have induced leaders of major global manufacturing enterprises to reconsider their site selection decisions. Among these are: 1) a desire for simpler logistics emphasizing shorter transit distances and times; 2) a need to better protect intellectual property; 3) more reliable court systems; 4) incentives offered by the USMCA, America’s trade deal with Canada and Mexico; and 5) a recent set of subsidies offered under packages like the Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Air casters mean flexibility, not just in terms of movement but also in terms of change. For example, one structure might be 56-feet-long and another 76-feet-long. Air casters allow manufacturers to easily accommodate a variety of shapes and sizes of boxes and then make changes on the fly.
In his “Moonshot” speech in 1962, President Kennedy challenged his fellow citizens to land a man on the moon and bring him safely back to earth before 1970. He showed leadership, reimagining human potential and progress, and this famous speech has been an inspiration for many to get things done. Likewise, a “Home-shot” speech that challenges citizens to remove lengthy procedures and “carefully” remove some of the mountain of red tape required for permitting before 2030 would certainly make a huge difference.
Born in Jordan forty years ago, Nesheiwat is something of an outsider to the modular housing world. His entrepreneurial spirit led him from a childhood growing up in Yonkers, New York, to the more provincial location of Poughkeepsie where he delved into many unique business ventures. Not one to shy away from a challenge, he took on projects that seemed impossible, often in the housing sector. His innate sense of the fundamentals in finance, corporate branding, and business expansion have led him to where he is today.