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Ohio State construction team aims for the top at national competition

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Last year's Associated Schools of Construction competition team from OSU stands after the competition in Chicago. Samantha Hesketh (left), Trenton Hiltbrand, Shane Mouser, Derek Goettemoeller, DuWayne Baird and Nicole Cutlip of the OSU Associated Schools of Construction competition team pose.

Last year’s Associated Schools of Construction competition team from OSU stands after the competition in Chicago.  Samantha Hesketh (left), Trenton Hiltbrand, Shane Mouser, Derek Goettemoeller, DuWayne Baird and Nicole Cutlip . Credit: Courtesy of Jeff Suchy

After placing third in its category last year, Ohio State’s Associated Schools of Construction competition team is set to head back to Chicago with high hopes.

In the competition, a mock-construction project is distributed to each team for a day-long completion time. When the time is up, teams submit their binders with their mock proposal including an estimated budget, schedule and safety plan to a team of judges. The following morning, each team gives a presentation to the judges. OSU’s team will go up against other schools in the area, including Bowling Green State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Michigan State University, according to the competition’s website.

This year, OSU will be sending two teams. One will be competing in the healthcare category and the other in pre-construction. Last year, OSU’s team competed in the healthcare category.

Team adviser and lecturer in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Jeff Suchy, said the teams will not know what type of construction project they will be designing until they get to the competition.

Last year’s team was tasked with designing a plan for renovating three floors of a Chicago hospital.

“Before the competition, we try to prepare (the students) for what they’re going to do at the competition. So it helps if they’ve taken a number of their major classes,” Suchy said.

In order to prepare, the teams go through dry runs and bring in experts from the construction industry to get help.

Before the competition starts in Chicago next week, students have the option of attending a career fair and job site tours to help them prepare and get a better grasp on their profession. The competition starts the following day.

Teams are judged on their ability, timeliness, accuracy, how well they work together and the materials they submit, Suchy said. During the competition time, teams aren’t allowed contact with outside sources or their advisers, he said.

Winners received trophies and monetary prizes depending on teams’ rank. Last year, OSU’s place earned the team $500 and a trophy.

It costs about $500 per student to go, Suchy said. To prepare for the competition, each student writes letters to assigned construction companies to request financial support, he said.

Some of the teams’ members said they’re looking forward to this year’s competition after the experience they gained at last year’s event.

“Third place was cool, but I want the one trophy. Bring it home for Ohio State,” said DuWayne Baird, a student in construction systems management who’s on the team. “I want to help make OSU’s construction program more respected nationally.”

Baird was on the healthcare team last year and is a team leader this year. He said knowing what to expect and how to divide the work should give the teams an advantage this year that could help them in their goal to win first place in healthcare.

Knowing the judges from last year and knowing the process better is something Nicole Cutlip, a fourth-year in construction systems management, said should benefit this year’s teams. Cutlip was on the healthcare team and is a team leader for this year’s team as well.

She also said her participation in the competition helped propel her toward her career goals.

“It was a great experience last year,” Cutlip said. “It gave us hands-on experience and real-life experience.”

Baird agreed.

“It gives you a polish to be able to go out and hit the ground running after graduation and get your permanent position,” he said.

Baird and Cutlip said they feel the competition will help them learn skills necessary for obtaining a construction-related job after graduating. Baird said he thinks students who aren’t as far into the construction systems management major benefit from the competition academically, as it helps them prepare for the major classes.

With team members and team leaders set, the two OSU teams will face off beginning Oct. 15. The competition is set to run through Oct. 18 in Chicago.

 

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