Clarkson University Student Construction Teams Take Top Regional Honors

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POTSDAM, NY (11/16/2018) Continuing a trend over the last three years, the Clarkson Construction Engineering Management (CEM) Student Projects in Engineering Experience and Design (SPEED) teams placed in the top tier regionally. Clarkson competed in three divisions: Design Build, Pre-Construction, and Heavy Civil, placing in the top half in each category in the Region 1, Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) student competition.

The Design-Build team leveraged their BIM and Virtual Construction capabilities to stand head and shoulders above the competition, winning the Design-Build category. Project Manager Zach Gordon (CE '18), who was part of the 2017 second place team, lead Brandon E. Baker (E&M '19), Cory Schneid (E&M '19), Justin Brinkmann (CE '19) and Zach Roegiers (CE '19) in beating out six other teams in the design, estimating, and construction planning effort for an academic building on a very challenging site.

The Pre-Construction team also grabbed attention as Project Manager Francis Whaley (CE '19) with team-mates Andrew Yoviene (CE '19), Austin Gentile (CE '19), Devon Switser (CE '19), Thomas Gitlin (E&M '19) and Zach Hewke (Mech E '19), took second place among eight teams in the category. The project focused on the development of new dining facility at a regional college sponsored by Shawmut Design and Construction.

The Heavy Civil team was just barely edged out of the top three, as a team consisting of Andrew Plunkett (CE '19), Cassie Mondello (CE '20), Collin Parsons (CE '20), Mathew Trau (CE '19), and Rob Matousek (CE '19) worked under the direction of Mallory Keough (E&M '19) on the estimate and construction planning for a highway bridge in downtown Boston, Mass. Sponsored by Walsh Construction.

The ASC ( Region 1 competition challenges construction students from across the North Eastern US, Ontario and Quebec, to compete against other four year colleges and universities in a pressure cooker of scheduling, estimating, constructability analysis and knowledge of the construction industry. Teams compete in several categories: Heavy Civil, Commercial Construction, Design Build, and Pre-Construction Services. Students are given an IFB or an RFP at 8 in the morning on Friday and are required to produce a full Construction Bid or Proposal by 10 to 11 pm that night. The following day they have to explain their efforts in an oral presentation. Each category is sponsored by a firm in the construction industry who also double as the judging panel for the student teams.

Clarkson's CEM program prepares undergraduates for the rigors of the Construction Industry by providing first in class engineering education, unique curricular and co-curricular experiential learning opportunities, partnering with industry and the utilization of a cross disciplinary approach. This award winning program is housed within the University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering which also has strength in the areas of Environmental Engineering, Water Resource Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Geotechnical and Materials Engineering. Success in the competition can be attributed to faculty coaches as well as mentors which are a part of the CEM program in various ways. Representatives from such firms as Pike Companies, Slate Hill Construction, Structural Associates, PC Construction and Gilbane all took part in the several weeks long preparation for the competition.

When the awards were announced at the awards banquet on Saturday night, the students let out a thunderous roar of excitement for both the Design-Build and the Pre-Construction teams. Faculty from other schools were generous in their praise, with one from RIT being surprised at the fact that the Clarkson Design-Build team didn't have any architects. "They did an amazing job, we went to the presentation and the VR piece was really great," she indicated. Kristen Brown, one of the judges from Consigli Construction who oversaw the Design-Build division, said, "they did a great job, really impressive, and made great strides over last year." Winning first place yields a $2000 prize for the winning school and a chance to go to the much larger national competition in Sparks, Nevada in early February. Second place also receives a monetary reward that aids the team for the competition next year.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, science, and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations, and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.