CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct 30, 2014 – Six students in the Construction Management Organization (CMo) at Southeast Missouri State University took third place at the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Competition in Nebraska City, Nebraska, Oct. 22-25.
Southeast competed in ASC’s Region 4, which comprises 15 member schools in seven states from Missouri north through the Dakotas. Competition took place in four divisions: Commercial Building, Design-Build, Heavy-Civil and Residential. The competition showcases some of the country’s top students.
The six students are a part of the commercial division team of CMo and are: Justin Breig of St. Mary, Missouri; Jared Bush-Howe of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri; Tyler Johnson of Perryville, Missouri; Jeff Krus of Arnold, Missouri; Blake Pobst of Sikeston, Missouri; and Josh Schindele of Cape Girardeau.
“Placing in a competition like this is an outstanding achievement” considering that Southeast is one of the smaller schools at the competition and one of the schools that has been there for the shortest amount of time, said Breig, a senior double majoring in construction management and design, and facilities management and sustainability.
ASC is an association of colleges and universities that have a construction education program, typically construction management or construction engineering, according to Kevin McMeel, instructor of industrial and engineering technology at Southeast and coach of CMo.
“The competition is ‘real world’ experience for the students, and basically replicates a typical four-week construction project bidding cycle, but compresses it into 16 hours,” said McMeel.
Approximately one month before the competition, ASC releases a problem statement to the team, giving the members a general idea of what they will be working on at the competition. In preparation for the competition, the team spends the first part of the fall semester going over the problem statement, practicing presentation skills, and getting to know each team member.
“You can’t throw six guys into a room together and expect them to perform quality work without having proper time to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and build on them,” said Pobst, a senior construction management and design major “That’s what, I feel, set us apart.”
According to McMeel, students competing do not receive the actual problem until 6 a.m. the morning of the competition, and they have to submit their bid, or solution, to the judges by midnight the same day.
“During this time, the six-person team is sequestered in their rooms without any contact from the outside, especially faculty and coaches, and can only use the resources that they have brought,” said McMeel.
The following day, the students give a 20-minute oral presentation to a panel of judges, followed by a 10-minute session for questions and answers.
“Each team member has to be knowledgeable on different aspects of the construction industry to have a well-rounded team like we had,” said Krus, a senior construction management and design major from Arnold, Missouri.
Out of 500 points possible, the Southeast team placed third with 421.10 points, Iowa State University placed second with 430.50 points, and Missouri State University took first place with 445.80 points.
“Placing in the competition may not mean that we have ‘arrived,’ but I think it shows that our program can stand up against most any other construction management program around,” said McMeel.
The ASC competition allowed the CMo students to practice their skills they’ve acquired on campus and in the classroom to a real-world situation.
Bush-Howe, a junior construction management and design major, said, “We are proud to have represented the University” and let other larger universities know that Southeast’s construction management program is a major contender.
“The competition was as close to the real thing in the construction management industry as a student can experience,” he said.
Along with the commercial division team, students making up the design-build division team at Southeast competed at the ASC competition as well.
Bryan Bowers, instructor of industrial and engineering technology at Southeast and coach for CMo, has high hopes for next year’s competition.
“For next year, I would love it if both teams could place, but just having two teams compete is a great accomplishment,” said Bowers.