October 26, 2015 3:00PM
Pittsburg State School of Construction students are getting a hands-on introduction to the business world as they work to raise enough money to attend an international conference.
Five students – Dominique Bertoncino, Reid Hugo, Dylan Male, Paul Rickie and Travis Solander – are working together to create and sell a variety of concrete products. The proceeds from the sales will help the students pay to attend the World of Concrete exhibition in Las Vegas. The event is the concrete industry’s only annual international event dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry industries.
Using the knowledge and skills they’ve gained at Pitt State, the students are creating decorative concrete gorillas, blocks adorned with the university’s split-face logo and large concrete tables. The items are sold primarily at Pitt State home football games, but some orders have arrived through word-of-mouth.
“It’s actually been quite the learning experience in terms of the business side of things,” Rickie said. “The concrete part is something we understand, but the business side is something that has been good for us to learn and understand.”
Assistant Professor Seth O’Brien said the students have impressed him with their quality of work and dedication to the project.
“They are doing this on their own time,” he said. “They’re in the lab two to three hours every evening when they could be home or out doing something else. They are committed to the products and to their goal of attending the World of Concrete event.”
O’Brien said the students are working with other programs within the College of Technology to make the project a success.
“We’re working together with plastics and wood technology to make more molds for our Gorillas, because demand has been so high,” he said. “I don’t think the students expected to sell so many so quickly, but they’ve adjusted and are working hard to fill every order.”
For information about purchasing a concrete Gorilla product, contact O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.