Construction management teams impressive on regional stage
Construction management students at Pennsylvania College of Technology brought home second- and third-place honors from the 33rd annual Associated Schools of Construction Region 1 Student Competition, held Nov. 10-12 in Albany, New York.
Penn College’s Heavy Highway/Civil Estimating team, one of 10 colleges in that division, placed second. The college’s Preconstruction team placed third among the six schools in its category. ASC’s Region 1 encompasses Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.
“It was a good, but tough competition, so placing at all is great,” said Wayne R. Sheppard, assistant professor and department head for construction management. At least one of Penn College’s two entries has placed in the top three annually since 2016, and both teams placed in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 – including a pair of first-place finishes in 2020.
Members of the Heavy/Civil team, led by Conor B. Laraia, of Chambersburg, were Mason E. Blethen, of Colora, Maryland; Anthony M. Glotfelty, of Broomall; Noah H. Jumper, of Shippensburg; Cody J. Smith, of Honesdale; and Aaron M. Wonderling, Houtzdale.
The Preconstruction team was captained by Danielle E. Malesky, of Biglerville, and consisted of Todd I. Lavish, of Chester Springs; Morgan H. Littlefield, of Columbia Crossroads; Blaine W. Mann, of Jersey Shore; Michael Messina, of Nazareth; and Mike R. Miller, of Montgomery.
Blethen, Glotfelty, Laraia, Malesky, Miller and Smith all took part in last year’s competition; Laraia and Malesky were also on hand for the 2020 event.
Competitors receive Requests for Proposals for their respective real-life projects on the first day; oral presentations follow on day two, along with rigorous follow-up questioning by industry judges and an evening awards banquet.
In the Heavy/Civil competition, hosted by Flatiron Constructors Inc., Laraia and his teammates were assigned the Wellsburg Bridge, an 830-foot network tied-arch span across the Ohio River. The bridge’s superstructure was to be constructed on temporary supports at an offsite shipping port, then transported downriver via barges and hydraulically lifted into place.
“Our team was required to submit a detailed estimate, schedule, site logistics plan, safety plan and quality control plans among others. I am very proud of our team and what we were able to accomplish,” Laraia said. “This year's project was very technical and unique, and each member put in many hours to prepare and research prior to the competition. I could not have asked for a more motivated and driven team.
“I am always excited to represent Penn College in the competition. I look forward to hearing about the future teams’ experiences next year and each year after.”
In the Preconstruction category, proposals were sought for services relative to building a science center in Massachusetts – from permitting to construction – that incorporated multipurpose rooms, academic teaching space, reception and circulation areas, and laboratories.
“The event this year was definitely challenging as, compared to the past, there were a lot of unknown factors,” Malesky said, “and a young team with only two members who had participated in ASC prior."
That particular competition was sponsored by Consigli Commercial Properties, and the project involved demolition and an addition to an elementary school.
“In all honesty, though, it is never really about the exact project. It is about how, on the day of the competition, everyone comes together and works as a team to meet the strict time requirements and deadlines,” Malesky explained. “Spending so much time in one small area with the same people sounds like it could be a long weekend, but there were lots of laughs and the team did an amazing job at keeping a serious tone – but in a lighthearted way.”
The captain said she is pleased with the outcome and with the performance of her teammates.
“They stepped up and handled tasks they regularly would not be presented with or responsible for. It was so much fun getting to interact with different class levels and even classmates that don’t have the opportunity to interact regularly,” Malesky added. “There is a lot of time and energy put into preparation – and then even more on the day of – so I am extremely grateful for the team this year and, for how we did, they should be proud.”
Both the Heavy/Civil and Preconstruction competitions were won by Clarkson University.
For more about the construction management major in Penn College’s School of Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.
For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
Photos provided by Wayne R. Sheppard