One of the great things about being part of the local architecture and engineering industry is giving back to the students in our community who have an interest in the same field. For the last three years I have been a volunteer with The Academy of Design and Construction at Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Union High School. The program is based on teaching high school students about the construction industry.

The students have a lot of fun in the program, but more importantly, we are investing in their future by giving them real life opportunities to work side-by-side a design professional, so they can explore opportunities in their potential field. Students still have standard core classes but also learn about architecture, engineering and design through group mentoring with professionals in the design field. The program includes participation in Habitat for Humanity events, many field trips, and much more. I love working with the students because it gives them something else to focus on besides everyday academics. They get to work on “real life” stuff – like participating in Habitat for Humanity for example. A lot of these students need that extra “boost” or a reason to come to school each day, and that is exactly what the Academy provides.

So here’s the pitch: we need more design professionals to pay it forward! That means you should check it out. For more information about The Academy of Design and Construction visit their website.

Brian Atkinson

Brian Atkinson is the Client Development Manager, stationed in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You'll work with him to get your projects started, figure out a scope of work, and answer general questions. Brian has spent the last 20 years at the crossroads of people and digital communications, working as a Communications Director, Director of Digital Media, and Web Communications Director. In his spare time Brian is a standup comic, voice artist, singer, MC, and actor.

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