Countdown in Reno: Construction Management Teams Race the Clock in Annual Competition


Student working
The lean, mean Residential Building Team, hard at work
on a nine-story mixed-use building with penthouse and
underground parking. It is to be built in one phase,
including all utilities and landscaping. Incidentally,
these folks should get a special award for having the
most organized workspace. Not visible from this angle
is a large wooden job board with individual slots for
any number of subcontractor bids, etc. Foreground from
left: Dolly Brown, Miguel Sanchez, and John Stump. In
back: Molly Morris and Keith Sprague. (photo Jeff Teeter)
It's 6 a.m. and your team of six students has just been handed blueprints and a set of specifications that makes your telephone book look small. You have until midnight to prepare your bid for the construction project at hand, and you're not done yet. You must also prepare a verbal presentation for a panel of judges who—and here's the ingenious part—actually did the work.

In theory at least, they'll be able to tell a brilliant problem analysis from one that misses the mark. And they'll know ballpark bids from those that land somewhere near Circus Circus.

Sleep? Forget about it. Meals? Strictly on the run. Educational? You Bet.

At the end of February, student teams from CSU, Chico's Construction Management Program competed against teams from schools all over the West in four separate divisions: Commercial, Residential, Heavy/Civil (roads and bridges), and Design/Build. It was a grueling three days, but given half a chance, most of the students would no doubt do it again. What, me worry? Before bidding on a large hotel job, the Commercial Building Team posed for a photo. Then they got down to work. Among the many issues that required their attention were labor union regulations and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Left, standing: Cory McCormick, James Hovde, Alex Morrison, David Chad. Kneeling: Harjiwam Chatha. Sitting: Esteban Perez.
The Design/Build Team in a rare “at ease” moment during
their presentation before the judges. The teams
in this division wrestled with a large state office
building whose historical character and features needed
to be preserved, right down to a bullet hole in one
of the existing windows. From left, Allan Hill, Andrew
Hewett, Darren Lindsey, Marie Patterson, and Steve Camden.
“I promise you, we can finish this job by the deadline,” said Marie Patterson, Design/Build team leader. She was later commended by the judges for being one of the only project managers to offer such assurance, no small matter on a $52-million remodel whose less savory features included asbestos tile, lead paint, and water-damaged elevator equipment. Darren Lindsey, left, also impressed the judges with his masterful explanation of the concrete delivery schedule.
Sweating the small stuff is absolutely essential. Here, Tyler Davis and Brent Birtcil, members of the Heavy/Civil Team, listen as Matt Byrne goes over an aspect of bridge construction. Note the door Davis is using as a table. Part of the deal the schools cut with the host hotel allowed students to dismantle their rooms, remove extraneous furniture, and use whatever was left any way they see fit. The team also includes Paul Gage, Matt Tornay, and Zack Treanor.


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