The Wildcats brought home a lot of hardware after making a top showing at the 32ndd annual Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Regions 6 & 7 Student Competition in Sparks, Nevada, this week. With more than 70 students from Chico State’s Department of Construction Management competing on seven teams, they earned trophies in three categories.

For the third time in four years, Chico State placed first in the commercial division, led by associate professor and faculty coach Alan Bond. In the mechanical category, the team, led by assistant construction management professor and faculty coach Marie Patterson, took second place, and the electrical team, led by department chair and faculty coach Chris Souder, took third place as the students competed against universities from across the West Coast.

Tim O’Shea, a senior double-majoring in construction management and concrete industry management, served as a commercial team alternate last year and returned to compete in 2019. Professional contractor Hensel Phelps sponsored the category and provided the challenge student teams set out to address: a bid for the Solano County Rourk Vocational Training Center, a project Hensel Phelps completed this year.

Students agree the competition is an incredible learning and networking opportunity, applying what they have learned in their labs and classrooms while also connecting with industry leaders that will lead to eventual careers.

“Having the opportunity to be part of the ASC Competition is a huge boon to our skills and knowledge,” said O’Shea. “We also get to build relationships with our teammates and professionals that you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Students have been preparing since the start of the fall semester for this competition. After being presented with the challenge from sponsors, a timer starts and teams across all categories are put to work creating their plan.

Two male students work on engineering problems at laptops.
Students have been preparing for the competition since the start of the fall semester.

For 17 hours, the team members test their knowledge, creativity and collaboration to address all aspects of the challenge—all in isolation and away from their faculty coach. For the commercial team, for example, that meant details such as scheduling, estimating, selecting subcontractors, site utilization plans, safety plans, and quality control.

“This year’s challenge wasn’t the largest project or the most expensive our students have faced, but it came with a twist,” said Bond. “The hook was that the builder wanted a concept that demonstrated the best value. They assigned the need, itemized the priorities, and challenged teams to address as many priorities as possible on deadline and on budget.”

Faculty member and coach Alan Bond, in plaid shirt, and students were among the wining teams at the ASC competition.
Faculty member and coach Alan Bond, in plaid shirt, and students were among the wining teams at the ASC competition.

In addition to the written deliverable, the teams must also provide a presentation and answer questions from the professional judges.

The commercial team was led by team captain Gabriel Woodson and O’Shea and included Sealy McAdams, Justin Carter, Liam Stretch, Thomas Cavallero, and alternates Jose Chavez and Cole Matthess. The mechanical team included team captain Alec Dominguez-Penaloza, Miguel Garcia, Calvin Jackson, Steven Davis, Max Mosgrove, and Jack Marquoit, and Ryan Smith and Chad Martin as alternates. Michael Sunia, Sam Anderson, and Brian Scott, and alternates Sophia Caputi and James Dittig comprised the electrical team.

Competing universities bring several alternates to the competition, and any alternates not needed are randomly assigned to fill in on alternate teams with participants from the other competing schools. This year, three Chico State alternates also placed in their respective alternate teams. Sophia Caupti was part of a first-place alternates electrical team, Uriel Galrarza was part of a second-place heavy civil team, and Jose Chavez was part of a third-place commercial team.

In addition to the competition, students enjoyed networking opportunities and a job fair with the sponsoring companies.