Ed Hamel, Hamel Builders
“The Hamel’s have spent 40 to 50 years helping kids, whether in education, athletics or other causes. Through the way that Mr. Hamel lives, he has instilled in us our number one core value which is to do the right thing. And, Mrs. Hamel is a remarkable woman who has been a participant in the community forever. She is strong, smart and has an incredible north arrow. We decided it was important for us to show our appreciation to them as pillars in the community by recognizing their contributions to a cause they care deeply about,” explains Philip Gibbs, Hamel Builders president. In 2015 Hamel Builders named a space in HCC’s new Science, Engineering and Technology building in honor of J. Edward Hamel, chairman of Hamel Builders, as well as, a space in the college’s Health Sciences building in honor of Fern Hamel.
Founded in 1988 and based in Elkridge, Hamel Builders is a premier multifamily renovation and new construction firm in the mid-Atlantic region. Hamel has been donating to Howard Community College for over 20 years. “As a construction company, naturally, it made sense for us to name the big build room after Mr. Hamel. In addition, since Mrs. Hamel is a graduate of the first nursing class at HCC, we wanted to recognize her with a space in the Health Sciences Building. We chose the nursing simulation debriefing room because it represented her talents and effort she gives to explaining things in terms everyone can understand,” shares Gibbs. “We hope that this recognition will encourage the local business community and others who know the Hamels to consider supporting HCC, as it gives local students a clear foundation for their future.”
“Being from the depression era, Mr. Hamel looks for the greatest value. The community college is certainly the greatest value in education.” Gibbs explains that both he and Mr. Hamel agree that there is a place for 4-year schools in education, and both include select universities in their annual giving. However they see a more immediate impact when giving to HCC. “Not only is the college preparing students for careers in construction management, but it is providing clear career paths across multiple disciplines, which is vital to maintaining a strong workforce and economy in Howard County.”
Gibbs remarks, “I don’t think the four year schools prepare people to come into the construction industry [or many other industries] like the community colleges can. In many ways community colleges are a better choice for kids than the four year schools. I think we can leverage our money in a much better way at the community college level. You can touch more kids’ lives and assist them with getting through their education with frankly less money than it costs at the four year schools,” adds Gibbs. “I think once the kids get through the community college, if they’re mature enough to pursue more education, that’s great, but I think that there should be an option for people to enter the workforce right out of the community college.”
“As donors we like hearing success stories and seeing students gain practical experience while they are in school. That's why we look for ways to help students beyond just financial support, and urge our friends in the local business community to do the same,” adds Gibbs. Each summer they host interns and hope to attract more construction management and engineering students for internships. They also invite students who are interested in construction to talk to them, ask questions, or set up an interview – even if just to practice their interviewing skills. Gibbs challenges other companies to get involved with HCC and see what a great place the college is for finding future employees and helping to grow our local workforce.
“We’ve got to educate our kids. One of the problems is the cost of education today. People need help. It’s almost impossible for a working family to send a kid through school, and where do you invest your money better than a college at the community level?” says J. Edward Hamel, Chairman.