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WSU students take top awards at construction management competition

Members of the virtual design & construction team.
The virtual design & construction team. Back row: Dylan Prouse, Trey Shinn, and Anne Anderson (coach). Front row: Mackenzie Holtz, Kenneth Easton, Austin Sterner, and Ben Ahmann.

PULLLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University student teams took top prizes, including two third place finishes, in the recent Associated Schools of Construction competition, the largest construction management competition in the U.S.

More than 1,540 students from 53 universities and 21 states participated in the competition, which was held in Reno, Nevada. The competition requires that students solve complex problems in less than 24 hours, present proposals, and participate in a rigorous question and answer session in a business-like setting. WSU construction management, interior design, and architecture students participated.

A WSU group, coached by Professor Anne Anderson and sponsored by Absher Construction, took third place in the virtual design and construction (vdc) category. As part of the competition, sponsored by Webcor Builders, the students were given several real-world building problems for which they developed and presented software-based solutions in less than a day. The student team included Trey Shinn, Austin Sterner, Mackenzie Holtz, Kenneth Easton, Ben Ahmann, and Dylan Prouse with alternate Martin Navarrete-Contreras.

WSU’s commercial team placed third in the commercial category. Coached by Professor Jason Peschel and sponsored by Howard S. Wright Construction, the student team used construction management skills such as scheduling, estimating, site logistics, site safety, and technical writing to develop a proposal for a real-life construction problem. The category sponsor was Hensel Phelps Construction Co. The students included Rebecca Nelson, Blake Ellingsen, Daniel Litchfield, Justin Binkley, Hunter Hohman, and Meghan Smith with alternates Kevin McLean and Samuel Stargell.

Commercial team photo.
The commercial team. Back row: Samuel Stargell (alternate), Blake Ellingsen, Hunter Hohman, and Jason Peschel (coach). Front row: Kevin McLean (alternate), Rebecca Nelson, Meghan Smith, and Dustin Litchfield.

“This is the second year in a row where the commercial and vdc teams were on the podium! There is such strong competition that having a team place is a wonderful statement about the strength of the program, the coaches, and the students,” said Peschel. “We are incredibly proud of the vdc team as they are a very young team—five sophomores and one junior…not a single senior on the team!”

Several industry partners, including Exxel Pacific, Howard S. Wright, Mortenson, Swinerton, Absher, Graham, Hensel Phelps, and Holland Construction provided financial support, workshops, and/or practice problems for the WSU student teams before the competition.

“We are extremely thankful for the fantastic industry support—in the form of financial gifts but also in time and talent—that we have here at WSU,” said Peschel. “Our students are blessed to get such amazing help in preparation for the competition. They are also gaining invaluable skills and experiences that they will bring to the workplace and their careers.”

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