By Mia Alfonsi and Chelsea Mistretta

The second annual DCP Industry Expo was held February 10-11 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. This two-day event was designed to bring together students in the design and construction disciplines with potential employers and recruiters looking to fill full time positions and internships. Although DCP students represented about 90 percent of the attendees, there were also students from Engineering as well as students from other institutions.

This year, event organizers Rene Clayton and Kjerstin Terry added a new twist to the Expo, successfully launching the CareerFair+ app.  The app gave students easy access to all of the employers in attendance including booth locations, company websites and positions available within each company.

CareerFair + “was a program that we had used for career fairs where I went to college,” Clayton said. “I saw the benefits when I was going to my career fairs as a student and we wanted to give our students access to it. It has proven to be a great addition and we will be using it in future career fairs.”

The two-day event kicked off with the Construction Management Career Fair, which hosted 94 companies affording them the opportunity to meet with over 350 construction management students. DCP Construction Management students are in such high demand that the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management consistently boasts a 100 percent job placement rate.

The Expo After Hours, DCP’s signature networking event, gave 300+ recruiters and students an opportunity to mingle and discuss their work in a less formal environment, with the added bonus of amazing food.

The second day brought firms from the design disciplines, including Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Urban & Regional Planning as well as Sustainability and Historic Preservation to the Design & Planning Career Fair.  The event attracted 288 students with 64 companies in attendance including the two sponsors, RLF Architects from Orlando and Walker Architects of Gainesville.

RLF’s Director of Interior Design Miriam Ganesh (BDES ’04, MID ’05) was asked why she thought the Industry Expo was important. She explained that, “This is big for us. To be able to be in one location with all of the DCP students, it just really helps us out a lot. To have this opportunity for recruiters to come and to get the whole college in one event and to be able to interview candidates for either internships or new positions, it’s great.”

RLF’s presence at DCP’s Industry Expo for the last three years has been motivated by a push to seek UF’s best talent, but it also gives the company an opportunity to connect with its former college. “Because we have so many alumni (working at RLF Architects), it’s a way to support the college that gave us our careers and the reason we are so successful,” Ganesh said.

New to DCP’s Industry Expo was Walker Architects of Gainesville. Like RLF, Walker’s relationship with DCP was formed through a strong alumni base, and the firm yearns to foster this relationship however it can, said Walker’s Principle-In-Charge Joe Walker.

Not only does working with DCP grant Walker a platform to promote its work, it also exposes the firm to a talented student population. “We draw inspiration from the fresh perspective that UF DCP and its students bring to our craft, and we feel that exchanging and sharing ideas leads to better design and architecture,” Walker said.

Angie Castrillon, a fourth-year sustainability in the built environment major, used the expo as an opportunity to explore companies that peaked her interest and find an experience in the commercial sector after having interned at Gainesville’s Community Weatherization Coalition, a residential nonprofit organization.

“There are some companies I am really interested in here, and I have my eye on other companies, but I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket,” Castrillon said. “I really want to put myself out there and see what’s the best I can do.”

The 2020 DCP Industry Expo was highly praised by students and recruiters alike and we are looking forward to 2021!

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