Six Montana Tech teams, four from north campus and two from Highlands College, traveled to Reno, NV, February 11 through February 13, to compete against 43 other universities at the Associated Schools of Construction or ASC Region 6 & 7 Bid Competition. This competition, the largest of its kind in the nation, includes colleges and universities from the rocky mountain region and west coast with civil engineering, construction engineering and construction management degree programs to take on real-world industry problems in this hectic two day contest. The open class competition attracts schools from across the nation.
Montana Tech student teams, consisting of six members and one alternate, were tasked with complex heavy civil or construction projects in a variety of categories including: Heavy Civil, Commercial, Concrete Solutions, Electrical, Pre-Construction, and Sustainability and LEEDs.
The Montana Tech student chapter of the Association of General Contractors (AGC) under the leadership of Larry Hunter, Professor of Practice in the General Engineering department, have been preparing for this competition for months. Preparations included: fundraising for travel costs, hotel, food and consumable materials used during the completion, researching previous problems from past competitions, building projects teams, preparing bid documents and preliminary estimates based on bits of information provided by industry sponsors in the weeks leading up to the competition.
The four north campus team coaches included Professor Larry Hunter, adjunct professor and project management professional Sonya Rosenthal, and engineering lab director Matt Egloff. The two Highlands College teams were coached by Highlands College Associate Dean and faculty member Bill Ryan, and visiting instructor Paul Hart. “The ASC Region 6 & 7 competition is an intense experience that essentially condenses a months’ long construction bidding project into a 15- 17 hour team work session followed by an oral presentation before a panel industry professionals. It takes great team work, organization, concentration and stamina to complete, it is not uncommon for estimate totals to reach the hundreds of millions of dollar level,” said Larry Hunter. “This is one big job interview for these students.”
“Montana has a relatively small construction market given our rural nature and sparse population. The ASC provides students with a new perspective and appreciation for the size and magnitude of the construction industry worldwide, as well as, opportunities for employment. “It’s a real eye-opener,” says Bill Ryan. A major part of the weekend consisted of a huge job fair and professional interviews for students seeking internships and employment in the industry.
“While Montana Tech did not bring home any hardware this year, Tech did make quite an impact in the competition and impressed industry with strong work ethic and teamwork and represented Montana well,” added Ryan.
The only other Montana team was a lone team from Montana State University. Universities competing in region 6 & 7 included: Colorado State, New Mexico State, BYU, University of Denver, Arizona State, Boise State, Weber State, Northern Arizona University, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Cal-Berkley, UCLA, Stanford, San Diego State, and USC. In the Open competition, teams from Florida, Auburn, Cincinnati, Purdue, University of Texas and Virginia Tech attended and competed.
Montana Tech’s teams included:
Heavy Civil: Houston Blevins (captain), Keela Nedens, Casey Pearson, Josh Mills, Marc Levesey, Reedie Spencer and Matt Rife
Concrete Solutions: Shawn Tezak (captain), Ty Albert, Teaguean Knudsen, Keifer French, Mike Studiner, and Brit Pennell.
Sustainability and LEEDS: Avery Smith (captain), Taylor Aponte, John T Street, Sam Larson, Dalton Brookie, and Carlos Martinez.
Electrical: Stephen Kjorstad, Emma Cunneen, Tim Heick, Tryston Frey, John Jaeger and Cameron West.
Pre-Construction: Brock Beede, John Brennan, Kyle Stone, Bryce Lyman, Cody Clark and Mick Paffhausen.
Commercial: Jake Erpenbach (captain), Spencer Van Wichen, Colby Sims, Sarah Qunell, Perryn Raymond, and Braedy Germann.
Industry sponsors included: Granite, Kiewit, PCL Construction, Cupertino Electric, Sundt Concrete, McCarthy Construction, Mortenson Construction, Layton, and Hansel-Phelps Company.
To learn more click this link to the ASC student competition: http://www.asc67.org/sponsors.html. For further information about this event, please contact Larry Hunter at 406-496-4770 or Bill Ryan at 406-496-3753.