Hey there!This past week I competed in the Associated Schools of Construction National Competition in Sparks, Nevada! It was a long week full of hard work but I had a great time and learned so much! This competition is part of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) SPARKS student organization group on campus. There were eight teams that competed from USC totally over 50 students! Each team competed in a different competition such as Preconstruction, Heavy Civil, Commercial, LEED and many more. At the competition there was over 1200 participants from all over the US ranging from students to faculty and even industry members – it was pretty awesome! Although the object of the competition is hard to explain, the best I can relate it to is a case study for civil engineers.
My team – made up of architects, civil engineers and urban policy planners – took on the Design Build competition. What is Design Build you might ask? Well, as the project manager for my team, I have become quite the expert. It is a different method of constructing a building where the designer and general contractor are in constant communication throughout the project duration and therefore can begin building the structure before the design is complete. For our competition, we were given a budget and building requirements and had to design, render, estimate, schedule, plan site logistics and create a presentation for the project all within 17 consecutive hours. It was a very long day to say the least! Everyone worked incredibly well together and all of our preparation in the months before finally paid off. Our final proposal and presentation were great and I could not have been happier!
Once the competition day was over, oral presentations were next followed by more networking with employers. We definitely stayed very busy the whole week! Saturday was the award ceremony along with more networking at the career fair. Unfortunately only one of our teams won their division and another team won for best presentation. Although my team did not win, I could not have been more proud of our final product.
My favorite part of the week would have to be dinner on Friday night with just the USC students, faculty advisors and industry coaches. It was great to celebrate the end of the competition and to eat some really good food!
Throughout this competition I met a lot of different people with very interesting stories and unique backgrounds. Both practicing with my team throughout the year and during the competition, I learned so much more about the civil engineering industry. SPARKS really gives insight into the construction world – something that I do not get in the classroom setting. I can’t wait for next years competition already!