CEAS Construction Students Continue Triumphant Tradition

By: Ashley Duvelius
Date: June 3, 2016

From fall to spring, UC CEAS Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management students continued to build onto their winning tradition at both regional and national-level Construction Management competitions.

In the realm of collegiate competitions, the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Construction Management (CM) program in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management (CAECM)  still reigns supreme. The 2015-16 academic year has proven to be quite the successful journey for CAECM students: from fall to spring, teams competed in both regional and national-level construction management competitions—and emerged as champions.

All UC CAECM students who competed in ASC Chicago.

All UC CAECM students who competed in ASC Chicago.

In October 2015, four CEAS CM teams kicked off the Fall Semester by travelling to Chicago, IL to compete in the Regional/National Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Region 3 Competition. During the weekend-long tournament, students competed in various tracks depending on their aptitude and individual interest, including: Commercial Construction (Regional), Heavy Civil Construction (Regional), Preconstruction (National) and Electrical (National).

 At ASC, students were given problem statements in the morning and had eighteen hours to complete their written proposals. The following morning, teams presented their project.

The following students competed in ASC Region 3 and placed:

  • 1st Place at Regional Commercial Construction: Brian Beiting, Alexander Buchholz, Ryan Hoying, Matt Morgann, Dan Reichlin, and Todd Schroeder
  • 1st Place at Regional Heavy Civil Construction: Alex Altstaetter, Blake Cauldwell, David Griffith, Joe Kaufman, Josh Nichols and Seth Roberts
  • 3rd Place at National Preconstruction: Austin Erney, Elliott Ice, Trey Hemmer, Kevin Mullins, Christian Sexton and Trey Simon
  • 3rd Place at National Electrical: Matt Baker, Shane Fagan, Andy McCalla, Julian Mueller, Rob Mullen and Marc Werner

In November 2015, CEAS CAECM students journeyed to San Diego, CA and Denver, CO for the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) and the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) competitions, respectively.

The national-level ABC Competition requires the most preparation and work by far—students prep for about 2 months and 30 hours/week! But all that preparation, in addition to their co-op and classroom experience, proved to have paid off: UC won 1st place, making this their fourth first-place win in the past six years!

In addition to taking gold, based in part on students’ strong competition performance, ABC named the UC Construction Student Association the “Student Chapter of the Year” for 2015-16.

The following students competed in ABC:

  • Shane Fagan
  • Mitch Hudepohl
  • Andy McCalla
  • Julian Mueller
  • Austin Prosek
  • Christian Sexton
ABC Team:  Andy McCalla, Austin Prosek, Christian Sexton, Julian Mueller, Shane Fagan, Mitch Hudepohl

ABC Team: Andy McCalla, Austin Prosek, Christian Sexton, Julian Mueller, Shane Fagan, Mitch Hudepohl

Also in November, UC competed for the first time at the national DBIA Competition. This national design and construction competition is not just for construction management students as it requires a multidisciplinary team effort of architectural engineering, construction management and civil engineering students. For DBIA, teams must take an owner's program through schematic design with an estimate, schedule, and proposal to construct.  While many other programs must partner with other schools in order to assemble a team from the necessary disciplines, CEAS has the advantage of having CM, CE, and AE students all located in one department (CAECM).

The DBIA  competition proceeded in 2 phases, a regional phase and a national phase, and required significant on-campus preparation.  Teams only progress to nationals if they secure first place at regionals. The egional win comes with a $1500 prize to offset travel costs to national. UC took 1st place at regional and 6th place at national—quite the accomplishment for UC’s inaugural entry in DBIA!

The following students competed in DBIA:

  • Bridget Crowley
  • Andrew Fraser
  • David Griffith
  • Trey Hemmer
  • Britton Maynard

With the New Year came fresh chances for CAECM students to secure competitions wins. In February, teams travelled to Columbus, OH and Reno, NV for the Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) and the National ASC Region 6 & 7 Competition, respectively.

The OCA was a Heavy Highway estimating competition, similar in structure to the ASC competitions. Each team is given a complete set of plans and specifications, a partially completed bid, a worksheet and labor and equipment rates. With this information, students must calculate take-off and pricing of individual items of work, the scheduling of specific activities and work-method descriptions. They also must answer contract questions drawn from the documents. Teams have eight hours to complete and submit their final project/bid. UC took 2nd place in this competition!

The following students competed in OCA:

  • Alex Altstaetter
  • Blake Cauldwell
  • Joe Kaufman
  • Josh Nichols
  • Seth Roberts
  • Travis Warner

The ASC Region 6 & 7 national competition is by far the largest with more than twenty different tracks and about 1,300 students competing.  These west-coast ASC regions are known for being home to some rather outstanding CM programs—but based on our students’ strengths acquired through their co-op experiences with electrical contractors, UC competed in the electrical track and placed in 2nd!

The following students competed in ASC Region 6&7:

  • Matt Baker
  • Shane Fagan
  • Andy McCalla
  • Julian Mueller
  • Nick Smith
  • Marc Werner
OCA Highway Team: Seth Roberts, Blake Cauldwell, Josh Nichols, Joe Kaufman, Alex Altstaetter, Travis Warner

OCA Highway Team: Seth Roberts, Blake Cauldwell, Josh Nichols, Joe Kaufman, Alex Altstaetter, Travis Warner

Also in February, UC hosted its third annual New Builder’s Competition (NewB). This competition is for freshmen and sophomores only, allowing them to gain experience before going “on the road” as upperclassmen.  The younger students are coached by upperclassmen who have competition experience. 

This year’s NewB brought in student teams from The Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, Cincinnati State, Kent State, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to compete on campus in two tracks—one in commercial construction and one in Heavy Highway Construction.  And the UC teams took 1st place in both tracks!

Professor Amanda Albrecht, who serves as a faculty advisor to the CAECM teams, believes that winning the competition shows the strength of UC’s Construction Management program and gives students the chance to showcase their skills to potential future employers. She explains, “I attribute much of our strong performance in these competitions to the strength of our co-op program.  These competitions are designed to simulate ‘real-life’ situations, which many of our students have already lived through, to some degree, in their co-op experiences.”

Additionally, Professor Albrecht was the recipient of the ASC Region 3’s “Excellence in Teaching” award in April. Her recognition combined with our students’ outstanding success serve as evidence of the world-renowned, high-caliber curriculum and cooperative education offered by CEAS.

CEAS congratulates its students on their well-deserved victories!