RIT civil engineering technology students top construction management competition for second year

Three undergraduate teams compete in regional event with all placing in top-3 among 36 teams

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Undergraduate students from CAST’s civil engineering technology program had top placements, including a first place finish, at the recent Associated Schools of Construction—Northeast Regional construction management competition.

Undergraduate students from Rochester Institute of Technology took first place at the Associated Schools of Construction—Northeast Regional competition, held Oct. 27-29 in Albany, N.Y., for their comprehensive plan for a bridge replacement project. It was the second straight year an RIT team won its division at the competition.

Three teams from the civil engineering technology program in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology competed, one each in the commercial building, design-build and heavy highway categories of the overall competition. Jason Kuberka led the winning heavy highway team of Andrew Walker, Nick Castronovo, Klint Brown, Melissa Zender and Tyler Becker. Classmates in the commercial building and design-build categories each placed third, respectively.

The competition is a challenge of management and timing, said Kuberka, a fifth-year civil engineering technology major from Penfield, N.Y. Where construction companies might have several weeks to prepare a request-for-proposal, student-competitors have one day to coordinate a project plan—from project scope and customer requirements to determining labor, equipment and material needs.

“All the teams in the heavy highway division receive the same challenging project. We take some time to prepare through simulations, collecting background data about the different areas, in this case the design of a new railroad bridge, and calling upon coursework and co-op experiences we’ve had,” he said. His team’s project would include plans for demolition of the current bridge structure, details of the excavation and concrete construction needs as well as the actual bridge construction re-build. One of the key challenges was factoring in down-time due to weather or other factors that could impact actual construction, he explained.

The competition is part of the annual Associated Schools of Construction conference and job fair. Universities with four-year construction engineering and management degree programs in the Northeast—from Maine to Virginia—participate in events to advance construction education. This year 36 teams competed in four categories of construction management. Winners in each category receive monetary prizes for the team members and university.

“We have been very successful in this competition over the years. Our students are motivated and prepare months in advance. Their determination, our curriculum, and the co-op experience positions RIT to do well in this competition.” said Todd Dunn, associate professor and department chair of the civil engineering technology/environmental management and safety department.

“Each of our teams had a great team dynamic. They put in the work and were prepared,” said David Collins, a fourth-year civil engineering technology student from Pittsford, N.Y., and project manager for the design-build team.

Student participants in the other two competition categories were—Commercial Build: Devin Vickery, Joe Cutugno, AJ Calabrese, Joanna McIntyre (team captain), Rob Schubert and Sabarish Vish.

Design-Build: Sarah Plitnick, Ian Crell, David Collins (team captain), Megan Few, Mike Doremus and Becca Kohlman.