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Construction students participate in ASC Student Competitions

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On October 17, two construction management teams participated in the 2019 Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Region 3 Student Competitions in Downers Grove. The projects the students worked on were actual projects their competition sponsor completed.

Construction management students Thomas Bennett, Courtney Linn, Brady Messman, Kate Messenbring, Zach Swanson, and Joseph Williams, along with faculty advisor Euysup Shim, Ph.D., competed in the Annual Region 3 ASC Project Solution Student Competition. This competition is an ASC National Open Competition. The competition sponsors were the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) and Procore. This year’s project, which was based on a real-world project, entailed the procurement, installation, and site restoration of a Precast Concrete Storm Water Pump Station along New Jersey Route 35.

The team was selected at the end of last spring semester and began meeting for practice every Tuesday once the fall semester began. Some of the workshops the students worked on included training with RSmeans, Revu Bluebeam, and a site tour of a local precast concrete supplier in preparation for the competition. A culminating dry run of the competition was conducted prior to the event to simulate some of the project problems that could arise and to grow together as a team.

From Swanson:

“For starters I enjoyed getting to represent ISU with the team that we had. I feel like we all worked together and did the best we could with the knowledge that we have learned here at ISU so far in our classes. Dr. Shim prepared us as best he could and gave us guidance before the competition, which I thought really played a key role in helping us take third place. That was definitely a team effort and took almost 14 hours of work to get to that result. Just by being able to sit down and bounce ideas off of each other and get problems solved I would say was the best part of the competition. Also getting to work with NPCA (National Precast Concrete Association) was a fun learning experience as well for all of us. We have never really been exposed to Precast Concrete projects that much in our classes, so it was fun to learn more about different aspects within the construction industry that we could see in our future jobs upon graduation. The company really helped us grasp the concept and benefits associated with precast concrete construction projects which I really enjoyed getting to learn about.”

Overall, the Project Solutions team finished third, making it the first time Illinois State had placed in this event. The team learned a lot about the cost and schedule benefits of using precast concrete opposed to using cast in place. Along with the benefits, each member had to overcome interesting challenges when working with precast concrete to include logistical and safety challenges of transporting and installing large sections of concrete. In closing, each member was challenged over the course of the competition and came away with a better understanding of the construction industry.

The commercial team, sponsored by Walsh Construction, consisted of Rocco Cosentino, Kevin O’Riley, Jason Love, Ben Strobel, Michael Boffa, and Charles Mahay. They were tasked with putting together a construction proposal for the Clark-Estes apartment building located in Chicago. The team was given all day to put together the proposal and presented their plan the following day. The commercial team earned second place out of eight schools.

The proposal was to include the team’s company history, broken out estimates of work, project schedule, site logistics, safety plan, quality control plan, value engineering, and green communities report. The team worked from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. to craft its proposal for submission, but this was not the team’s first rodeo. Illinois State’s commercial team had won this competition four of the past five years, so under guidance of Shim, the team knew the keys to success: preparation and team dynamics.

Starting all the way back in April of last semester, the commercial team began thinking about this year’s competition. Walsh had put out the competition rules and regulations stating that the project would be a multi-family, affordable residential construction project. With this information, Shim assigned the team members roles which would fit everyone’s strengths. When the fall semester began, the team met every Monday night to learn to work as a team and organize a template that could be taken to Downers Grove for the competition.

From O’Riley:

“Overall, the commercial team was very successful this year, not only in the final competition standings, but also in the amount of skills they learned along the way. From time management and team working skills to newfound knowledge of construction scheduling, estimating, and logistics, each team member left the 2019 ASC Student Competition with valuable new experiences. They will be able to look back on what was learned, and the real-life challenges, while finishing their degree here at ISU. This will be of great value as each participant moves into future careers within the industry.”

In addition, three underclassmen construction management students participated in the ASC Region 3 Sophomore Summit. The summit is held every year during the fall semester. Nico DiVito, Tyler Race, and Caleb Jacob attended this years’ summit, and it was a great experience. While there, the students were able to gain a better understanding of the different aspects of construction along with different routes that one could take in the construction industry.

“This event allowed me to see firsthand the advantages and disadvantages of a large general contractor and a smaller subcontractor while building connections with industry professionals in both fields. Overall, I would highly recommend attending this summit to expand your knowledge of the construction industry and to expand your professional network,” Jacob said.

The underclassmen students were invited to two site visits and two small bidding challenges to test how to apply what they have learned.

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