1st UC-Hosted CM Competition Underway

UPDATE: UC placed first in the Interiors and Heavy Highway Competitions, and second in the Commercial Competition! Congratulations, Bearcats!


By: Ashley Duvelius

Friday, March 7, 2014, the University of Cincinnati is hosting its first construction management competition—the New Builders Competition.

CM- NewB Comp

The University of Cincinnati is hosting its first construction management competition on Friday, March 7, 2014. The New Builders Competition—or NewB for short—is designed “to advance the next group of young construction professionals in their growth of becoming the leaders of tomorrow in the construction industry.” The event will be held at the Kingsgate Marriott, located on East Campus at the corner of Jefferson and Martin Luther King, from 8 am to 4 pm.

The competition is modeled similarly to most existing construction management competitions which require teams of up to four students to act as contractors and prepare a proposal for a construction project. This “Request for Proposal” (RFP) asks students to formulate an estimate, budget, schedule, logistics, project management, safety, and quality plans in response to a supplied set of building plans. The students then present their proposals in a “sales pitch” to a panel of judges—industry professionals acting as the project owners—during the competition’s morning session.

The afternoon session consists of a “Construction Connections” event where students have the rare opportunity to meet up to fourteen different employers for six to seven minutes to learn more about the company and to allow the companies the chance to better get to know the students. This is a significant networking event for the students and it’s a good opportunity for them to line up cooperative education jobs.

Unlike other construction management competitions that focus strictly on junior and senior participants, this competition is designed solely for underclassmen as it allows them to gain competition experience while also preparing them to represent UC at future national and regional construction management competitions.

The competition is comprised of three separate tracks: 1) an interior fit-out (sponsored by Messer Construction and Kroger Co.); 2) a new commercial structure (sponsored by Turner Construction and CURT); and 3) a heavy highway project (sponsored by John R. Jurgensen Companies).  Each of the tracks has no more than five teams competing. UC is competing against teams from Bowling Green State University, Cincinnati State, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, Ohio Northern, The Ohio State University, Kent State University and Purdue University.

Ryan Clemens, construction management senior, conceptualized the NewB competition and pitched the idea to the Construction Student Association (CSA) who agreed that such a competition should be created and implemented.

Clemens explains, “Organizing this event has been a lot of work but it will definitely be worth it to see the students compete and to see them grow through the experience. I took on this event because I wanted to leave the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) construction management program with an educational gem. I set out to pave a pathway for the students who are just starting out in their studies to become successful in their careers.”

Amanda Albrecht (JD and assistant professor in the UC CEAS Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management) serves as a CSA advisor and has been assisting Clemens and his team in planning the event. Albrecht reflects, “I really enjoy advising the CSA because it is filled with students like Ryan who are truly great leaders and organizers, and it’s amazing to see what they are capable of.”

Additionally, Greg Sizemore (CEAS adjunct assistant professor in the UC CEAS Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management and UC’s Adjunct Professor of the Year for 2012-13) will be emceeing the competition awards at the conclusion of the event.

Clemens adds, “I could not have put the NewB Competition together without the help of Professor Albrecht, Mike Saylor, Peter Strawman, Keith Schlater, Jesse Garrett, Matt Morgann, Tyler Becker and Dustin Kaine, all of whom have helped with various parts of the event.”

UC CEAS students have built a strong reputation for success at such construction management competitions. The Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) Estimating Competition, a two-day event which was held in Columbus, OH on February 14th and 15th of this year, added to this reputation as the Construction Management UC Bearcat Team seized second place.  

The Construction Management UC Bearcat Team makes their sales pitch at the 2014 OCA Estimating Competition.

The Construction Management UC Bearcat Team makes their sales pitch at the 2014 OCA Estimating Competition.

The Construction Management UC Bearcat Team included Jesse Deane, Dan Droesch, Robert Lichter, Seth Roberts, Steve Salyers, and Michael Saylor. Both Lichter and Saylor were returning for their second year of competition. Daniel Frondorf, Certified Professional Estimator and CEAS adjunct assistant professor in the UC CEAS Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management, served as the team’s advisor. The team also received guidance from their industry advisor, Chris Kunz of the John R. Jurgensen Companies.

On day one of the competition, teams (comprised of junior and senior students) were given a heavy highway construction project in which they had to submit a bid.  Unlike years past, students were required to bid the entire project.  They were also required to put together a project schedule. The competition resembled a real-life bidding situation that incorporated every aspect of estimating a real project including takeoffs, crew/equipment makeup, pricing and scheduling.  The following day, teams gave an oral presentation of their bid to a panel of judges who were industry professionals.

Saylor, explains, “Usually, the winning project contains a unique aspect that makes the project stand out from others.  This year the main components of the project were excavation, paving, and a bridge.  We relied heavily on our co-op experiences and coursework during the competition.  Our co-op work plays a huge role in comprehending the means and methods of a project. Being out in the field and understanding how projects are constructed is the best knowledge for these competitions.”

Frondorf also comments, “I’d like to express my gratitude to the OCA for their considerable effort and expense in administering this excellent, well-planned, and well-executed event. The confidence they instill in all of the student teams is tremendously valuable and indeed a rare opportunity for these students to get ahead of the game with respect to their impending professional careers. The scrutiny these students face in the competition accurately depicts what estimators face in their everyday careers—estimators must always be able to explain the conclusions and decisions they make to their management teams or to owners, so this competition is very representative of the real world for estimators.”

Congratulations to the Heavy Highway Construction Management UC Bearcat Team for their great accomplishment at the OCA Competition! Please join us at the NewB Competition this Friday to cheer on their counterparts!

For more information about the OCA Competition, please visit:



Select for more information about the NewB Competition.

For more information about the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science, please visit: http://ceas.uc.edu