Students Perform Well in Prestigious Builders’ Competition

Published 01.27.2017

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A pair of teams comprising students from construction-related programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology admirably met the challenge of competition at the recent National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida.

A team representing associate-degree majors placed fifth in a field of 15 entrants from across the country in the Residential Construction Management Competition, and their colleagues from bachelor-degree majors finished 16th out of 35 institutions.

“The teams worked all of the fall semester on the problems given to them,” said Levon A. Whitmyer, instructor of building construction technology, noting that competition preparation is undertaken 100-percent outside of students’ class time. “The problems typically are future, real-world projects within the construction industry.”

Members of the two- and four-year Penn College teams gather outside the International Builders’ Show in Orlando. From left are Carlos Rojas, Williamsport; Nicholas D. Gieger, Dingmans Ferry; Chad W. Hawkins, Williamsport; Robert G. Jackson III, Butler; Casey L. Grim, Red Lion; Hanna J. Williams, Marion, N.Y.; Everett B. Appleby, Wilkes-Barre; Jordan M. Scott, Cogan Station; Lindsay A. Lane, McKean; Ryan Z. Zwickle, Slatington; and Liam R. McGarvey, Cogan Station.Whitmyer and Barney A. Kahn IV, instructor of building construction technology, co-advise the Penn College Construction Association. The organization is a student chapter of the NAHB, which is observing its 75th anniversary during 2017.

The construction problem for the four-year competition, sponsored by the Pulte Group, involved a 34-acre lot in suburban Atlanta. Teams were required to compile market and competitor analyses and show how their solutions could effect an 18-percent rate of return.

The two-year team was tasked with creating a full set of working drawings, materials-and-labor estimate, and construction schedule for a single-family dwelling in Eagle, Idaho. That contest was sponsored by Tresidio Homes.

The students then presented their findings to a panel of industry judges at the International Builders’ Show, held Jan. 7-14.

“Both teams did a fantastic job with their projects and an outstanding job on their presentations,” Whitmyer said. “Barney made the comment that the two teams had probably given two of the best presentations to date for Penn College.”

Team members, their hometowns and majors were:

Associate Degree
Everett B. Appleby, Wilkes-Barre, building construction technology; Lindsay A. Lane, McKean, architectural technology; Liam R. McGarvey, Cogan Station, building construction technology; and Jordan M. Scott, Cogan Station, and Ryan Z. Zwickle, Slatington, building construction technology.
Baccalaureate Degree
Nicholas D. Gieger, Dingmans Ferry, Robert G. Jackson III, Butler, and Carlos Rojas, Williamsport, residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration; Casey L. Grim, Red Lion, residential construction technology and management; Chad W. Hawkins, Williamsport, civil engineering technology; and Hanna J. Williams, Marion, New York, industrial and human factors design.

Jordan M. Scott, after accepting her Outstanding Student awardScott – who serves as a Student Government Association senator for the college’s School of Construction & Design Technologies and who helped draft a donation letter for a PCCA scholarship – was one of 28 Outstanding Student competitors chosen from among the representative colleges, universities and secondary schools.

“It was an honor and a surprise to receive this award because it made me feel like I made a difference in the school and in the PCCA,” she said.

The four-year competition was won by Kennesaw State University in Georgia; Brigham Young University-Idaho was the two-year team winner.

“Collaborating on the project and presenting the information has been one of the most challenging tasks I have faced in my college career, and I feel honored to have been a part of the team,” said Rojas, who already holds two Penn College degrees and is expected to graduate in December with a third.

Thanks to faculty networking, the Penn College contingent tours the Ruby Lake development.While in Orlando, the students had the opportunity to walk the trade-show floor, looking at all of the new materials that the industry has to offer, and to staff the Student Chapter/National Housing Endowment booth – a “great opportunity to talk with builders from all across the country and the world,” Whitmyer said.

Faculty’s industry connections allowed Penn College students to tour Pulte’s Ruby Lake development.

“What a great experience for all,” Whitmyer said. “The students got to see different construction techniques, as well as look at a finished project. Thank you, Pulte Group, for a wonderful learning opportunity.”

The instructor also acknowledged support from the college, SGA, the West Branch Susquehanna and Central Susquehanna builders associations, and the National Housing Endowment for helping to fund the students’ trip.

For information about the School of Construction & Design Technologies at Penn College, call 570-327-4518.

For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Photos provided