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Engineering Alumnus Involved in UHart Library Renovation Ignites Students' Interest in the Construction Industry


Posted 09/16/2016
Posted by Rose Brodeur


Electrical engineering student Merlene Buchanan '19 gets career advice from Jim Alibrandi '84.

Electrical engineering student Merlene Buchanan '19 gets career advice from Jim Alibrandi '84.

“Be excited, and stay excited.”

That’s one piece of advice Jim Alibrandi ’84 shared with engineering and architectural students during a visit to campus this month. Alibrandi, who is president of Interstate Electrical Services, a Massachusetts company founded by his father, shed some light on how to create a successful career path in the field of construction.

Alibrandi’s company is designing and constructing electrical systems for the expansion of the University’s Mortensen Library, which is underway. The highly anticipated completion is expected by May 2017. (Read more about the library renovation project.) His excitement and passion for doing a project at his alma mater was evident as he emphasized to today’s students how they can apply their UHart education to “create, design, and build in the industry.”

“There is a growing demand for and shortage of a younger workforce within the construction industry, which is translating into exciting career opportunities for students majoring in engineering and architecture,” Alibrandi explained. “Positions in project management, project engineering, designing, building information modeling (BIM) detailing, and all aspects of build and design, can offer students the satisfaction of taking a design all the way from drawing table to completion.”

Marquis Williams ‘17, who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and who plans to graduate with both a BS in Architecture and a BS in Civil Engineering agrees. Marquis interned at Shelton, Conn.-based Turner Construction over the summer, and found it to be a “lucrative and worthwhile learning opportunity.” Marquis said, “I have seen many drawings and plans in class, but I had not seen cement poured before.” After talking one-on-one with Alibrandi, he now realizes his internship experience has given him an edge.

For Denise Prussen ’19, a civil engineering major from Long Island, N.Y., the opportunity to speak with an engineer in the construction field was insightful and motivating. “Mr. Alibrandi’s success as an electrical engineer and his passion for construction has made me even more excited about my initial plans to work in construction project management.”

Both Denise and electrical engineering major Merlene Buchanan ’19, were glad to learn their early exposure in the classroom to engineering-specific software technology like AutoCAD and 3D modeling will pay off in future internship opportunities. Alibrandi says that technology has helped change the way the construction profession operates.

Electrical engineering student Merlene Buchanan '19 gets career advice from Jim Alibrandi '84.

Electrical engineering student Merlene Buchanan '19 gets career advice from Jim Alibrandi '84.