UC Team Defends National Title

April 10 through 14, the Associated Builders and Constructors  (ABC) UC team will be competing to defend their championship title at the ABC EdCon & Expo.

Date: March 30, 2011

By: Kelley Ujvary

The Team:

Team members John Budde, Erik Carlson, Greg Christensen, Kevin Daubenmire, Kyle Pagel are all 4th and 5th year construction management students and will be traveling to San Antonio, Texas, April 10-15 to compete in the annual student competition.  UC won the overall title last year.

Pagel, the team captain and ABC student chapter president, hopes to lead the team to another victory this year.  “I know our team will do well.  It’s more excitement than it is pressure,” says Pagel. 

Each year, the competition team consists of three seniors and one underclassman who is trained to learn the ropes and lead the team the following year.  Last year Pagel was the underclassman, and this year Budde has earned that spot.  Underclassmen are a large component to this team; last year the team had six working on contributing research and this year there are fifteen. 


Carlson and Christensen working on the team's proposal.

“We are excited to have the underclassmen with us so we can teach them.  It has grown to a networking opportunity for all of us as we prepare and work with industry professionals and the companies of our local Ohio Valley ABC Chapter,” says Daubenmire. 

This team was handpicked by Pagel and Professors within the school based on those who have best exhibited success and enthusiasm for the construction industry.  Pagel said that, “We chose a balanced team that can complete tasks.  We have worked together before in classes and other competitions so I know we will work great together.”

The Competition:

This year, the competition challenge is to build a parking structure.  Each year, there are three phases of the competition.  The first phase takes place before the teams even arrive in Texas; that is the research phase.  They are currently completing their research and putting together their project proposal which they will turn in when they arrive at the competition.  Throughout the winter quarter, team members did individual research and then came together as a team to syndicate their findings and work on their proposal. 

In developing phase one, each member has their own specialty area of the proposal.  Kevin is in charge of the project management plan (PMP), John handles the safety plan, Greg schedules all the individual activities within the PMP and Erik developed the estimate, a critical role.  Erik knows the plan better than anyone, “I have to know everything, such as the quantities for each line item, so I can put a number on it and have a correct estimation for the entire effort,” says Carlson.     

Phase two begins on April 11th.  The teams arrive at the competition and learn that there have been changes to the site that they originally planned ,estimated and proposed.  For example, last year they planned for a rural area with lots of land, and the change was that it was now to be built in a city with less space, more traffic and several other factors to consider.  “We have six hours to alter the design in accordance with the new guidelines.  This includes things such as safety, budget and scheduling,” says Christensen.  From the judging of phase two, the top eight teams are elected to continue to phase three.


Daubenmire and Pagel working on the team's proposal.

The final phase consists of the top eight teams giving a five minute presentation to the judges, and going through a twenty-five minute rigorous interview process.  At this time, the teams find out who the judges are, that the project was actually conducted in real life and what the outcome of the project was.        

Awards are given in each of three subcategories in the competition; 1) Project Management Plan, 2) Safety Plan and 3) Estimating.  After those have been awarded, the overall places, 1st through 5th are awarded.  Teams are judged on several items such as meeting their deliverables in each of the subcategories, how the team and it’s project differ from other teams involved in the competition and what value the team added to the project. 

In 2009, the team was successful placing 2nd overall in the competition.  Last year in San Diego, the team from UC surpassed their previous ranking and beat out 23 other schools from all over the country to earn the 1st place overall award. 

“Thinking on our feet, quick decision making while working under pressure and team building are our strengths.  We take what we have learned in other competitions and bring it into this one,” says Daubenmire.  “We have a great diversity of work experience through co-op and strong leadership.” 

At the competition, only four team members compete - so  Christensen will travel as an alternate. 

The Chapter:

ABC is more than a team attending a competition; they are also a UC student group.  The chapter consists of undergraduate students who are majoring in Construction Management and are looking to get involved and gain experience in their future field. 

The chapter’s executive board is responsible for educating those students who are beginning their educational paths in the field in hopes to inspire and grow their passion for the work. 

The chapter’s executive board is responsible for educating those students who are beginning their educational paths in the field in hopes to inspire and grow their passion for the work. 

Most recently, the student chapter  established YPF (Young Professionals Forum), a program for young professionals to network with industry leaders to help these students see different sites around the tri-state.  They have partnered with the Ohio Valley Chapter  in their efforts to help students find co-op positions and to assist seniors move into top jobs upon graduation. 

Related Stories:

2010 ABC Team Claims Top Award

Student Achievements

Christensen and Pagel win National Award


ABC 2011 Team mebers: Greg Christensen, John Budde, Kyle Pagel, Erik Carlson and Kevin Daubenmire