Global Construction - He Lives It!

Viet Nam - home - now Australia and all in a month! Mousa Gargari, interim department head of Construction Science, exemplifies and lives the global construction orientation being taught at UC's College of Applied Science.

Imagine 21 hours of flying in a day and a half to then be sitting in a traffic jam! Motor scooters to the front, the back, and every side... Some with a single rider others with a family of 4 and their possessions. "When you look at it from a distance, the traffic resembles a stream (or river) of scooters and the miracle is that other streams cross and join without stopping. Larger vehicles like cars and trucks are like islands in the stream and don't move too quickly," states Mousa.

Such was his introduction to Hanoi, Viet Nam, a country he describes as really beautiful with the best fruit that he's tasted. "It is really fresh. You have the feeling that it fully ripened on the tree, was picked in the morning and delivered to you later that day. Vietnamese enjoy soup and serve it and green tea at every meal."

Mousa, Hazem Elzarka, and Ben Uwakweh were in Hanoi to conduct a five day workshop in construction management. The workshop is offered twice a year and is jointly funded by UC's Applied Science and Hanoi Civil Engineering University. The course is an outgrowth of an initiative launched five years ago by Dean Richard Newrock of Applied Science to foster collaboration between the two institutions.

Construction management is an area of vital interest and concern for the Vietnamese. "They have a large pool of well educated engineers but limited knowledge of how to manage projects to completion - particularly on time and within budget," comments Mousa. Workshop topics included critical principles, delivery systems, contracting and scheduling, "green" construction for more efficient energy usage and material selection, safety management, and lean construction with an emphasis on using available materials while reducing waste.

Classes ran from 8 to 5 each day and were fully attended. Also, sitting in on the workshop were the Minister of Construction for Viet Nam, officials of ADB, the Asia Development Bank, the president of the Viet Nam Society of Civil Engineers, and the president (or rector) of Hanoi Civil Engineering University.

Response to the sessions was universally high with many asking for additional services and means to register for the next workshop in April. Attendance at these workshops has grown from 40 in the initial workshop to more than 300 in the one just concluded and more may be coming.

Following the workshop, officials from the ADB suggested that Applied Science and HCEU submit a joint proposal for grant funds to expand the workshop into a full course series leading to a professional certificate and possible college course credit or a joint degree. Faculty and student exchanges could also stem from a program expansion.

Applied Science Construction Science faculty and student learning in international settings is nothing new. The department has been addressing global construction with international experiences for pre-juniors and juniors over the last 6 to 7 years with excursions to Australia, Germany, Spain, China, Europe, and Brazil. This academic year the international experience will be in Ireland and the ABC Construction team will be defending their 1st Place title at the annual ABC Building Construction competition in Puerto Rico in March.

Meanwhile, Mousa is on his way to a conference in Melbourne, Australia to present a paper jointly with Laura Caldwell, Applied Science Mechanical Engineering Technology Department, on the use of e-portfolios in building student resumes, portfolios of accomplished work, and a compendium of assigned project results. Laura and Mousa are representing an eight person Applied Science development team. Construction Science is leading the use of e-portfolios and requires e-portfolios of students in the Construction Seminar I classes.

Reaching out from Cincinnati to cities around the world, Mousa Gargari is our ambassador for applied construction management and one living a global experience.

E-Portfolio Team:
Laura Caldwell, Mechanical Engineering Technology; Mousa Gargari, Construction Science; Eric Inglert, Construction Science; Kathy Ossman, Electrical Engineering Technology; Annu Prabhakar, Information Technology; Rajiv Soman, Chemical Technology; George Sucharieh, Construction Science; Jo Ann Thompson, Humanities