Students from the civil engineering technology program at RIT placed first at the recent Associated Schools of Construction Region I collegiate construction management competition. More than 200 students from 16 collegiate teams from the Northeast participated in the annual competition and job fair that took place Nov. 15–16 in Morristown, N.J.
Undergraduates from the civil engineering technology program in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology took first place in two of the three competition categories—heavy-civil and design-build. The top finishers in each category receive a cash award of $2,000.
Collegiate teams consist of architecture, construction management or civil engineering technology students. RIT’s first place finish was notable for the experiences the team brought to the competition this year including several students who had completed co-op experiences, says Jack Susman, a fifth-year student in the program and design-build team captain.
“Most teams bring back students from previous years to keep a consistent presence of past experience,” he says. “But our heavy-civil team had all new members this year. I really give my hat off to them considering they had to start from scratch. To be able to still place first is a huge accomplishment.”
Heavy-civil designates a project that might involve highway, bridge or marine construction; design-build emphasizes justification of design decisions and the ability to communicate how the project company distinguishes itself for the prospective customer.
For the competition, teams are given a design challenge, contract documents and project parameters. They have about 16 hours to prepare bids, develop schedules, consider value-engineering options and develop safety, quality and cost control procedures—simulating tasks required of firms in their development of construction management proposals. Once completed, teams prepare for the next day’s oral presentations before a panel of construction professionals.
“Once students get the drawings and materials, they are on their own,” says Todd Dunn, associate professor and department chair of the civil engineering technology/environmental management and safety program. Dunn and faculty from the college have been taking students in the program to the competition since the mid-1990s, and teams have had top placements over the past several years. “It’s such a wonderful experience for them. They get an education beyond the classroom experience.”
Susman agreed: “It helps in many ways. It ties everything we have learned in classes and co-ops into one and helps us greatly develop these skills more. This is also the closest we can get to putting a real bid together and on a limited time frame.
“It also greatly improves our public speaking and teamwork skills, not to mention stress management,” he adds with a laugh.
Note: Students on the heavy-civil team were: Joseph Aloian, Joshua Schmidt, Timothy Reed, Doyle Guyatte, Brian Laurer, Marcus Uhmann and faculty coach: Professor Abdullah Farugue. Design-build teams members are: Susman, Josh Lawrence, Tyler Panting, Himanshu Dhungana, Philip Sutter, Jenna Abato and faculty coach Holly Holvinski. The third RIT team participating included Shane Madden, Thomas Bogart, Kurt Melvin, Nicholas Haywood, Jeffry Korber, Godfrey Adiges and faculty coach: Todd Dunn.