Kraft Meadows Students Visit JDH Custom Home’s Fall Parade Home

IMG_8941Today I was invited to join Josh Hankamp, the owner of JDH Custom Homes to his Fall Parade of Homes house where he was hosting more than 20 students and their teachers.  These students were from the 8th Grade at Kraft Meadows Middle School in Caledonia.  They were given the opportunity to spend the day on a field trip learning about possible careers in the construction industry.

They spent the morning at Erhardt Construction where they were given the chance to get some real hands on experience with building a wall and learning more about what goes into construction. IMG_8939 (1)

They then came to JDH Custom Homes Parade House in the afternoon.  Josh had reached out to some of his contractors who might be willing and able to take some time to speak with the students.  Josh was joined by Deb from Carter Lumber Kitchen Design, Mark from Green Edge of Michigan and myself from TruMedia.  This eclectic mix of contractors were able to speak to the students about many different facets of residential construction.

IMG_8949Josh was of course able to speak to them from a builder’s perspective, but he was also able to share about his earlier life experience as starting out in the framing sector of the construction industry.  Deb was able to speak the the students about design, specifically as it pertains to cabinetry in the kitchen.  IMG_8952She spoke about design choices and how she is able to determine the best layout of the space to allow for functionality.  Mark spoke to the students about home efficiency and how they are able to perform energy audits on houses to then provide builders and homeowners with a rating for the home’s efficiency. IMG_8950

I was able to speak to the students about the importance of setting up a strong and reliable network infrastructure to assure that all of the devices that need an internet connection are able to have the strongest feed.  We spoke about when we should try to hard wire a device to the internet and what devices might be better on a wireless network.  IMG_8944 We also spoke about how we can make the wireless network in a home stronger and more reliable.  We discussed the various types of wire that they might see on a construction site and what they would be used for.  I also talked to them about how we set up speakers. What is the difference between stand alone products like Sonos freestanding speakers and having in-ceiling speakers; how they all work and connect to your music source.  Finally we spoke about the Internet of Things (IoT); how these devices work and how we can make them work together as a system within the home.

I was SUPER impressed with the students’ questions about the technology that I presented!  IMG_8954They asked questions like “How does the internet get to my house?”, “How come my Bluetooth speaker stops working if I move away?”, “How can I make sure that I don’t have LAG when I’m playing my video games with my friends?”, “How can you update older homes for some of these things?” and many more! It’s really wonderful that the schools recognize the importance of getting these students out where they have the opportunity to ask these questions and to get some hands on experience.  Field trips like this always make me optimistic about the next generation coming up and when I see students like these, I think our future is looking pretty bright!

downloadOpportunities for students like this were provided ABCIncLogoby the Home Builders’ Association and ABC Western Michigan.  If you are interested in setting up an opportunity with either of these organizations, please check out their websites at or at  If you are interested in teaching your students more about opportunities from a Technology Designer, please feel free to send me a message.

Job Corps Students Visit Miles Builders’ Custom Home

IMG_3248 (2)Yesterday I had the opportunity to host 11 students and their teacher from the Gerald R Ford Job Corps center HBI program at the Miles Builders’ custom home.  I invited them out for this field trip for them to learn about all of the skilled trades that are needed in order to be able to build a home like this.



The Gerald R Ford Job Corps works to teach eligible young people (ages 16-24) the skills they need to become employable and independent and place them in meaningful jobs or further education.  Students have a variety of course plans that they are able to choose from and these students have chosen the HBI or Home Builders’ Institute program.  The HBI program works to advance and provide education, career development, training and placement of men and women serving the building industry.  They do this through in class training, field trips and even work shadow programs.

I was introduced to this program approximately 1 year ago and in that time, TruMedia, IMG_1953my company has been able to host over a dozen students out on a three week job shadow to introduce them to the custom integration channel.  When students shadow with us they are able to work on both new construction and retro fit residential and commercial job sites.  We teach the students the basics about pre-wiring, trim finish out and even equipment installation and programming.

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During this most recent field trip we were able to show the students what a finished custom home looked like and were able to answer questions that the students had about things that we do like designing for a clients’ current and future technology needs.  We were able to speak to them about the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the importance of planning for and setting up a solid network infrastructure for these systems in the house to work with.

We were joined on this field trip by Rachel, a Landscape Designer from R&A Landscaping and Courtney, the Interior Designer from Miles Builders.  They were able to speak to the students about additional skilled trades that are needed to be able to accomplish a gorgeous looking house like this.  The reoccurring theme that was expressed by all of us was the importance of communication between the trades and the need for individuals to have a strong desire to work hard and to take pride in their work.


Meeting these students and working with them during the job shadow program has made me incredibly optimistic about the future generation and their desire to learn and work hard in a skilled trade.  I really enjoy opening these students’ eyes to the possibilities that they have for the future.

job-corps-logoTo learn more about the Job Corps program feel Yujh2Y1m_400x400free to visit their website at .  To learn more about the HBI program, visit  To learn more about my experience working with these students or to schedule a time for me to visit or speak to your students, feel free to send me a message.