WSU students take award at national construction management competition

Back row: Jason Peschel (coach), Collin Murray, Breyden Lane (alternate), Collin Smith (alternate), Garrett Nelson Front row: Molly Mahoney, Logan Prouse, Shaaki Shaik, and Zach Vernon
Back row: Jason Peschel (coach), Collin Murray, Breyden Lane (alternate), Collin Smith (alternate), Garrett Nelson Front row: Molly Mahoney, Logan Prouse, Shaaki Shaik, and Zach Vernon.

A Washington State University student team took third place in the recent Associated Schools of Construction competition, the largest construction management competition in the U.S.

More than 1,740 students from 55 universities and 22 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.

A WSU team, coached by Professor Jason Peschel and sponsored by Howard S. Wright Construction, placed in the commercial category which consisted of 19 teams from schools in California, Oregon, and Washington. As part of the competition, sponsored by Hensel Phelps Construction Co., the students 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 student team included Shaaki Shaik, Logan Prouse, Collin Murray, Zach Vernon, Molly Mahoney, and Garrett Nelson with alternates Collin Smith and Breyden Lane.

WSU also had teams competing in the design-build and heavy civil categories. The teams are predominantly construction management students but also include architecture and construction engineering students.

“The students work hard preparing for this event and put some lofty goals on themselves. Their efforts have manifested into a tradition of success wherein the commercial team has been on the podium in 12 of the last 15 years,” said Peschel, director of the School of Design and Construction. “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.”

This year’s competition was a close one, with a scoring difference between first and third place of only one out of 200 total points, he added.

Several industry partners, including Exxel Pacific, Howard S. Wright, Mortenson, Graham, 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 that we have here at WSU,” said Peschel. “Our students are fortunate to get such amazing help in preparation for the competition. They are gaining invaluable skills and experiences that they will bring to the classroom and their careers.”

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