BUFFALO, NY – John W. Danforth Company, one of the largest mechanical contractors in the northeast, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) recently announced the recipient of the 2023 Reilly Family Memorial Scholarship. The national scholarship, worth $5,000, was established by Danforth and the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation in tribute to the memory of members of the Reilly family, who have led Danforth for more than 40 years.
The 2023 scholarship recipient is Brock Schulz, who graduated from the University of Nebraska in May with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. The announcement was made at the MCAA23 annual conference in Phoenix.
MCAA is a nationwide industry association serving the needs of approximately 2,600 firms involved in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, piping, and mechanical service. The organization provides its members high-quality education programs and materials to help them attain the highest level of managerial and technical expertise. Danforth is a founding member of MCAA.
Advancing the Industry
“The scholarship reflects the ongoing commitments of Danforth and the Reilly family to advancing our industry,” said Kevin “Duke” Reilly, Danforth Chairman. “It’s exciting and fulfilling to support the next generation of industry leaders, like Brock and other young professionals, as they begin their careers.”
After graduating, Schulz, a native of Omaha, is beginning his career as a Project Engineer at MMC Contractors, an MCAA member company, where he served as an intern since 2021. He is a member of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Omaha, a professional organization representing mechanical contractors of all sizes, and served as the chapter’s fundraising chair.
The Reilly Family Memorial Scholarship celebrates the family’s dedication, passion and contributions to the mechanical contracting industry. Duke Reilly’s father, Wayne, joined Danforth in 1955 and became President in 1978 and later CEO in 1993. Duke and his brother, Patrick, joined the company in 1982, followed by their brother, Emmett, the following year. Like their father, Emmett and Patrick went on to serve as company President before their deaths in 2011 and 2015, respectively. Duke Reilly was named the company’s CEO in 2002, a position he held until 2018, and he remains the company’s Chairman. Together, the members of the Reilly family served a combined 130 years at Danforth.
To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must be a junior in a four-year program or a senior in a five-year program and majoring in construction management, mechanical engineering, architectural engineering or a discipline related to mechanical construction, mechanical service, or plumbing contracting. The student must also have demonstrated exceptional scholastic achievement and leadership skills; interest in developing a career in the mechanical, mechanical service, or plumbing industry by working part time or as an intern for an MCAA member for at least one summer or one term; and characteristics or achievements that distinguish them as a nominee worthy of the scholarship.
Founded in Buffalo in 1884, Danforth has more than 1,000 employees across a geographic footprint that includes operations in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany, New York, Columbus, Ohio, and Burlington, Vermont. The company works collaboratively with its union labor partners including the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers, and several other labor partners across many local union jurisdictions throughout the northeast and beyond. Danforth operates an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, giving the company’s workforce an ownership stake in the company.
[Editor's Note: in 2021 the John W. Danforth Co. was named CONTRACTOR's Contractor of the Year.]