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On February 6, 2020, construction management students Thomas Bennett, Michael Boffa, Kevin O’Riley, Charles Mahay, Zach Swanson, and Joseph Williams joined faculty advisor Dr. Euysup Shim to compete in the Associated Schools of Construction Annual Region 6 and 7 Project Management Student Competition in Reno, Nevada. During this year’s competition, the Illinois State University students acted as team members of DPR Construction and tasked with determining if the company should ultimately pursue a project. This process entailed assessing the overall contract; establishing the project budget, schedule, and site logistics; and conducting an in-depth review of key heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

The team was selected during the fall semester of 2019 and began meeting for practice sessions on Thursday mornings. The students conducted workshops to build on previous skills and to get a better understanding of the problem statement provided by DPR Construction. A 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.

“The ASC Project Management competition was very exciting and intimidating for our team, due to the fact that it was our first time competing in this competition and region,” Boffa said. “I am very proud of our ability to be flexible and work as a cohesive team. The day of the competition was very stressful, but we all made it out smiling and ready to knock our presentation out of the park the next day, and we did. The sponsor company (DPR) for our competition and many other companies present for the convention were very impressed with our composure and execution. I am very grateful to have this excellent learning and networking opportunity.”

The team did not place but gained valuable experience and knowledge for future competitions. They learned a lot about the value of assessing contracts to get a better view of planning for a project and what risks to assess. Each member was challenged over the course of the competition and came away with a better understanding of the construction industry.