Montana Tech AGC Club Competes and Wins in Many Ways

02/19/2019

Four Montana Tech Association of General Contractors (AGC) Club teams competed in the Region 6 & 7 Associated Schools of Construction Student Bid Competition in Sparks, NV February 6–9, 2019. AGC Club competed in the Region 6 (Intermountain West schools) for Design-Build and Heavy Civil, and in the Open category (all schools nationwide) for Pre-Construction and Concrete Solutions. Teams are coached by Sonya Rosenthal, industry coach; Bill Ryan, Construction Technology Instructor II; Matt Egloff, Civil Engineering Instructor III; and Kishor Shrestha, Civil Engineering Assistant Professor.

asc-team-civil-web.jpgThe Heavy Civil team took 3rd place for the second year in a row in Region 6 behind Colorado State (1st) and Northern Arizona University (2nd) with 15 school competing in the category. Their project was a complicated pipeline replacement in Washington state bordering Union Pacific railways and residential properties with over 400 utility crossings to take into account. Weather and water were major risks and the Heavy Civil team was one of the only teams to identify and price this risk. The Heavy Civil team consists of Andy Anderson, Harold Yocum, Jory Breen, Tucker Thatcher, Caileigh Norman, and John Vanek.

asc-team-design-build-web.jpg“The AGC Design-Build team won the hearts of industry sponsors and were the darlings of the post competition social,” noted Bill Ryan, faculty coach and AGC club advisor. The team did not place in the top three out of 12 teams in the category. Design-Build was tasked with creating a Performing Arts Center on a large high school campus in Sacramento, California. The team tackled this challenge by creating a design with a beautiful glass dome that would promote community-school interaction and a theater area that entranced its’ occupants. The students had only 13 hours to design, schedule, bid and show how they would promote quality and safety on this project. The team was informed by industry sponsors that the point difference between placing and not placing was very tight. The judges noted that they were proud of the team’s high score and recognition in such a competitive category. The design-build team included Cody Wiers, Sam Johnson, Jesse McLaury, Ethan Jones, Maria Ralph, and Davis Stahl.

asc-team-pre-construction-web.jpgMontana Tech’s Pre–Construction Team had a very strong showing in both their presentation and Phase 1 and Phase 2 deliverables. Their project was a seismic retro fit of an existing parking garage in Los Angeles in an active shopping mall. The project included precise sequencing of work performed and work crews as not to disrupt consumer traffic and parking availability to the mall. The Pre-Construction Team placed in the middle of the pack out of 13 teams. The Pre-Construction team consisted of Katie Hampa, Henry Logo, Kade Woodhall, Austin Taylor, Tim Heick, Brett Hibbs, and Cameron West.

asc-team-concrete-web.jpgConcrete Solutions was a hit with the judges by starting their presentation with a pre-work stretching exercise similar to the program used by the Industry sponsor SUNDT Concrete. The team even invited the crowd to participate to get blood flowing. In the end, the Concrete Solutions team did not place but did have a strong proposal and resulted in a dinner invitation from Baker Concrete for faculty coaches and two team members to talk more about the teams and the university. Concrete Solutions includes Trevor Hopf, Max Hiller, Brock Polley, Connor Froc, Ralph Thrall and Kelly Harbach.

“The biggest win for our clubs was the fact that for the first time in Montana Tech’s AGC club and ASC competition history, 3 out of the 4 teams were a mix of north and south campus students,” added Ryan. “The faculty coaches see the benefits of this collaboration and ways of thinking and finding solutions for construction problems as well as the comradery that developed. It was a win-win for these teams.”

Ryan added, “There was resistance in the beginning to combining teams in this way, but as we collaborated and trained these teams, we saw them jelling as they worked on these bid projects. And the students developed new appreciation for the different programs, disciplines and ways of thinking that each person brought to the table. As we develop these relationships and build these teams, Montana Tech AGC Club teams will be formidable opponents at any national bid competition we enter.”

“Participation in the ASC competition has returns at several levels,” explained Sonya Rosentha, industry/faculty coach. “The first return is to our students; this competition is a ‘kick-starter’ to their career. They experience what the first year of work is like, they apply their technical learning to actual construction problems, they learn to work as a team in high-pressure conditions, and they get to fine-tune their real career interests. And they get presented to so many industry recruiters for intern and full time positions. The second return is to the Montana Tech AGC Club; it has been competing at the ACS since 2011 and the recruiters and other universities have a high level of respect for our program. Montana Tech is one of the schools that sets the standards and is ‘watched’ by others. We know this because we are told by recruiters and other universities! And Thirdly Montana Tech has an enviable position with recruiters and the industry; they purposely pursue the Montana Tech students and express interest in means to ensure the Montana Tech program is retained and nurtured. There is no doubt that this competition has helped put Montana Tech on the map for graduating highly valuable engineers and construction managers.”

"I'm extremely proud of all of the Montana Tech ASC teams,” noted Andy Anderson, Civil Engineering student and AGC Club President “Our teams have faced a huge amount of unforeseen adversity this year, but were still able to present a strong showing, and even bring back a third place trophy! Given our outstanding performance and the number of students who are still receiving job opportunities because of the ASC competition, I would consider Montana Tech's ASC teams to be the school's strongest asset, and we're looking forward to continuing Montana Tech's reputation at the ASC competition next year!"

“What a fantastic opportunity to showcase what a Montana Tech Highlands College education can help you achieve,” explained Maria Ralph, Construction Technology student. “This event was a good challenge to flex our construction/project management skills muscles. It was fun meeting new people and getting to know our teammates better. My advice to anyone considering going to this event: JUST GO!”

For more information or to join AGC club, please contact, Andrew Anderson at aanderson2@mtech.edu; or Bill Ryan at bryan@mtech.edu or 406-496-3700.