SARASOTA, Fla. – Several students have been hired within the construction community after the recent Construction Rodeo, an inaugural event that showcased information on careers in construction hosted by the Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange, a not-for-profit trade organization.
Steve Panagiotakis, the vice president of operations for Bright Future Electric, hired an impressive 18 students as interns from the event. Once the students finish their various programs, the four-office company plans to hire them all as full-time employees.
Chuck Jacobson, chair of the subcontractor’s council for Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and a board member, has a number of applicants for Sarasota-based Aqua Plumbing, and Mike Corbett from Piper Fire Protection, with offices in Sarasota, Clearwater and Tampa, also confirmed their company is in the hiring process.
“This is an extremely encouraging success, and our plan is to make this an annual event, alternating between the Manatee Technical College and the Suncoast Technical College,” said Mary Dougherty, the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. “I would highly encourage the construction community, trades and business leaders to attend, volunteer, purchase a booth and recruit these students, who we can hopefully keep in the Sarasota and Manatee region. We look to leaders like those at Bright Futures Electric to ensure bright futures for career-ready students right here in Sarasota.”
More than 350 high school students attended the Construction Rodeo, an event that showcased information on careers in construction. Students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties interested in jobs in the various trade industries were bused to the event at the Manatee Technical College. They learned from more than 35 local businesses, with speakers and hands-on activities to help unveil the different construction-related career opportunities.
“The industry needs more participants, and the amount of students that showed up to the Construction Rodeo truly demonstrates the need for young people – in need of direction and choices – to find gainful employment,” said Panagiotakis.
Over 50 Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members participated, volunteering their time and showcasing their businesses and giving students an opportunity to interact directly with employers.
Corbett was also pleasantly surprised by the number that attended and the interest of the students, many of whom didn’t even know there were other industries besides air conditioning, plumbing and electric.
“Over the years, this event will really open up the student’s eyes to all of the trades available, including fire sprinklers,” said Corbett.
About The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange
The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. The not-for-profit organization represents a broad cross section of the building industry, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others from affiliated industries.
The GCBX membership is comprised of close to 400 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction‑affiliated industries. GCBX’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the building industry are conducted in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. For more information, visit www.GCBX.org.