Student Team Wins First Place in Construction Management Competition

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A NewSchool of Architecture & Design student team has won first place in the Region 7 Design/Build competition of the 28th Annual Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Student Competition event that took place in Sparks, NV Feb. 4-7. This is the second time in three years that a NewSchool team has taken first place. In 2013, they won the Virtual Design and Construction portion of the competition.

More than 1,300 college students participated in this year’s annual competition for college students studying construction management. George Welch, NewSchool Construction Management Department Chair and team coach for the ASC competition, credits NewSchool’s success to the collaborative spirit between the Architecture and Construction Management departments.

“We are one of the few truly collaborative schools, in that most other universities have Architecture and Construction Management programs but the students don’t work as closely together,” said Welch. NewSchool participants included students from both the Architecture and the Construction Management departments, including construction management majors Obhi Dewan (’15), Chris Lerma (’15), Victor Maple (’15), Jaime Mello (’15) and Brian Zenz (’15), as well as architecture majors Ruben Bravo (’16), Athena Dadiz (’15), Jose Ponce (’16), Beatrice Soto (’16), and Luis Valdovinos (’15).

At the beginning of the competition students are tasked with writing a proposal to address a certain construction management problem. This year’s Design/Build competition task was to design and build an addition of an infirmary and medical center onto an existing detention facility. The students were then given 36 hours to put together a proposal for the build, taking into account the special parameters of the problem at hand.

“It is not uncommon for a company to get a notice of proposal due in under a week, so the timeline of this competition simulates a real-world scenario students might face in the industry,” said Welch. “As faculty, our goal is to develop NewSchool students to become leaders — people who can manage a team and use their skills to build upon that team.”

After working closely together for over two months the NewSchool students had learned how to work well as a team and how to apply their unique skills toward a common goal. The team often gave up their Saturdays to do mock proposals, added Welch, and that preparation paid off later with recognition by the ASC judges.

The Annual Design/Build ASC Competition is also widely regarded as one of the largest recruiting events in the construction management industry. More than 70 of the largest construction management companies attended the conference this year, including Balfour Beatty, Swinerton Builders and Turner Construction. In previous years NewSchool participants have received excellent networking opportunities during the event. This year’s NewSchool attendees also had multiple job interviews and after their win, were treated to a dinner by one of the largest construction management companies in the U.S.

“Our student team was excited to participate in the competition and have the opportunity to present to industry professionals,” said NewSchool student team leader, Chris Lerma.

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