Construction management students reign at regional contest

Construction management students at Pennsylvania College of Technology brought home first- and second-place honors from the 32nd annual Associated Schools of Construction Region 1 Student Competition, held Nov. 11-13 in Albany, New York.

The college’s Pre-Construction Team, tasked with construction and renovation of a public school building in New England, placed first. Its Heavy Highway/Civil Team, assigned a New Jersey sewer project, placed second in the competition.

“I am amazed every year at what the student teams are able to accomplish in such a short time,” said Wayne R. Sheppard, assistant professor and department head for construction management. “The Penn College teams are composed of volunteers who compete extracurricularly on top of already busy schedules that include classes, employment, and other clubs and activities. How they come together and develop as a group and then work through these challenges is fun to watch.

“Winning trophies is great, but the learning and the great memories will last forever.”

Members of the Pre-Construction Team, captained by Tom A. Grates VI, of Tarentum, were Noah M. Lacarte, of Charleroi; Danielle E. Malesky, of Biglerville; Rudy C. Shadle, of Mechanicsburg; Nathan I. Tabon, of Allison Park; and Jacob C. Wells, of Mountain Top.

The Heavy Highway/Civil Team, led by Nathan G. Kress, of Sciota, consisted of Mason E. Blethen, of Colora, Maryland; Anthony M. Glotfelty, of Broomall; Conor B. Laraia, of Chambersburg; Mike R. Miller, of Montgomery; and Cody J. Smith, of Honesdale.

A number of the students are not new to the ASC competition. Grates and Kress also competed in 2019 and 2020; and Laraia, Malesky and Tabon took part in the 2020 competition.

In the Pre-Construction Competition, Consigli Commercial Properties requested proposals for the Lincoln Public Middle School in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

“The task was made complicated due to the fact it was selective demolition and remodeling, as well as new construction on an active school,” Grates explained. “On the day of the event, we were responsible for putting together a detailed estimate, schedule, logistics and utilization plan, constructability review, risk assessment review and several other complementary documents in just under 15 hours.”

The team received no information on the project leading up to the competition, Grates said, but rather was provided with the plans at Friday’s 8 a.m. kickoff meeting in Albany. Members had until 10:30 p.m. to have everything completed and turned in … and then had to prepare (and practice for) their presentation at 11:30 Saturday morning.

“I cannot thank my team enough or give enough credit for all the hard work they put in,” he said. “They worked through all the adversity the day of the event, and everyone pulled more than their own weight during the competition. Every single student that competed, on both teams, should be proud of the work that they completed and turned in.

“It was a pleasure to go up to Albany and represent Penn College and the construction management program in this competition. We competed against the best construction management schools in the region; for both teams to place is a testament to everything we learn here at Penn College.”

Going into the competitions, Grates said, both teams knew they had to use all of their knowledge — from classrooms and internships alike — to help them succeed.

“Being able to not only win but to compete in these competitions will be one of the greatest memories of my college career,” he said. “I am hopeful that the underclassmen are able to keep competing, and I am excited to see what the underclassmen will accomplish in next year’s competition with the experience they have received.”

In the Heavy Highway/Civil competition, hosted by Weeks Marine, Kress and his teammates addressed a combined sewer outfall screening facility to be built along the Hudson River in Weehawken, New Jersey.

“The purpose of this structure is to filter out waste that was originally being discharged directly into the Hudson, in an effort to make the river a much cleaner environment,” Kress said. “Our team had to submit a full bid proposal containing a project schedule, detailed cost estimate, and means and methods.”

“One of the biggest challenges from the start was understanding the means and methods of this project. Marine construction is a very niche industry, so information regarding this type of work can sometimes be hard to find,” Kress said.

Like Grates, he could not give his teammates enough credit: “Leading up to the competition, my team had put in countless hours doing research and working on this project. This group showed dedication and drive through the entirety of the competition, and our placement is a testament to that.

“It has always been a privilege to represent Penn College and the construction management program at the ASC competitions. Participating in ASC for the past three years has been one of my favorite academic experiences. Going against the best construction management colleges and universities our region has to offer — and being able to take first- and second-place finishes in the Heavy/Civil category in back-to-back years — is proof that Penn College offers an exceptional education that guarantees all of us a successful future.”

In conjunction with the competition, the students were able to connect with more than a dozen prospective employers from the region (which covers Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia) at a job fair.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today