Two teams of students from the Drexel University Construction Management Program traveled to Albany, NY on October 27-29th to participate in the Region 1 Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) competition. They returned with a first place finish in the Commercial Building competition out of 12 teams and a second place finish in Heavy/Civil competition out of 10 teams, continuing the era of Drexel dominance at the competition.
Region 1 encompasses schools from Maine to Northern Virginia and 19 colleges and universities from across the region competed in three categories: Design-Build, Heavy/Civil and Commercial Building. Drexel fielded teams in the Heavy/Civil and Commercial Building categories. The ASC competition problems are sponsored by construction companies who serve as the judges of the work the students complete. J.F. White of Framingham, Massachusetts, led the Heavy/Civil problem and Lecesse Construction of West Henrietta, NY, the Commercial Building problem.
Each team consisted of six students, ranging from pre-juniors to seniors, who began preparing for the competition in early August, prior to the start of the term. The Heavy/Civil team, captained by Samuel Masters, included team members Joseph Giorgio, Anthony Williams, Joshua Hrynda, Matthew Jacobson and Austin DiFabio. This team scored perfectly on their team presentation and impressed the J.F. White judges, but fell short to Rochester Institute of Technology by a narrow margin. The Commercial Building team, captained by David Senko, included team members William Harris, Matthew Franzen, Mark Graefe, Emerson Dolby and Michael Watkins. They were defending their first place finish in 2015 and they did so in grand style, eclipsing the competition with their presentation that included a Sketchup Model animation of the jobsite. Team member William Harris was recognized by the judges as an outstanding student performer from the field of over 70 students competing.
The competition occurs over two grueling days of work. Teams received their problem statements at 8:00am on Friday morning with a 10:30pm deadline to complete the work required by the sponsor. The commercial project was the construction of a new student housing campus consisting of eight four story buildings accommodating up to 640 beds and a common club house in Buffalo, New York, while the heavy civil team faced a bridge demolition and replacement project for the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line in Concord, Massachusetts. The teams have the day to digest the plans and specs and complete the work required to meet the demands of the judges. Standard components of the submissions include an estimate, a schedule, an analysis of means and methods, logistics and analysis of specialized construction operations such as support of excavations and facility tie-ins.
Upon completion of the written portion of the problem, the students shift their focus to the development of an oral presentation in which they present their solutions to a panel of industry judges who actually worked on or are currently working on the project. The students must submit their presentation materials at 6:00am on Saturday morning and then the order of the presentations is determined. The Commercial Building team presented their solution second in a field of 12 competitors and set the bar for the rest of the competition. The Heavy/Civil team presented sixth in their field of ten competitors and fielded a grueling round of questions from the judges like seasoned veterans.
The hard work and dedication of the students led them to their placing, but they did not get there on their own. Each team was mentored by industry professionals who volunteered their time and resources to assist the teams. Skanska and Allen Myers supported the teams by providing sets of plans and specifications for the many practice sessions conducted. The Heavy/Civil team was mentored by Gordon Bryan and Matt Crawford of Allan Myers. The Commercial Building team was mentored by Prof. Doug Carney and Bob Ochs. The team also completed a site visit to the Houston Hall renovation site on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus as the guests of Intech. Additionally, the teams were supported by many software companies who helped them organize and build their materials, specifically the team at Procore and BlueBeam Revu were tremendous assets. A special thanks goes out to our expert panel of judges who served as a mock panel and helped the teams polish their presentations. These include Jeremy Samet, Nathan Dennis and Kyle McKim from Target Construction, Mike Delaney from LF Driscoll and Greg Turner from Turner Construction. The commercial team was coached by Dr. Kenneth Sands and Dr. Christine Fiori coached the Heavy/Civil team.
The Construction Management Program is extremely proud of the students and thanks all the individuals who helped support these teams.
Pictured left: Heavy Civil team from left to right (2nd place out of 10)Coach- Dr. Christine Fiori, Anthony Williams, Austin DiFabio, Joshua Hrynda, Samuel Masters, Joseph Giorgio, Matthew Jacobson, Coach – Dr. Kenneth Sands.
Pictured right: Commercial Team from left to right (1st place out of 12) Coach – Dr. Christine Fiori, Matthew Franzen, William Harris, Mark Graefe, David Senko, Emerson Dolby, Michael Watkins, Coach – Dr. Kenneth Sands.