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Montana Technological University Students Compete at ASC Student Competition


Montana Tech ASC Students and Supervisors

Three teams from Montana Technological University's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) traveled to Sparks, NV, recently to compete in the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Region 6 & 7 student competition, faculty conference and career fair.

The competition combines all schools with Engineering and Construction Engineering and Construction Management courses from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. Universities who win their competition in Regions 1 – 5 may enter the Open category and compete in 11 different project problems. Schools from the other regions included Auburn, Illinois State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Florida, and Virginia Tech.

The event hosted 207 teams with a total of 1,540 students from 53 universities, 130 faculty coaches, 1,400 industry attendees participating from 170 companies, and 115 companies active in watching the competition with concurrent focus on recruiting.

This year Montana Tech competed in the Region 6 Heavy Civil and Design-Build categories, as well as, Pre-Construction Services in the Open category. The Heavy Civil team, coached by Sonya Rosenthal, included Tucker Thatcher, Jory Breen, Harold Yocum, George Schick, Kade Woodhall, and Marie Waldbillig. This year's project was the Oroville Dam Spillway project, sponsored by Kiewit, which was a national emergency project evacuating an entire city under threat of flood from a dam breach. The Montana Tech Heavy Civil Team placed 2nd out of 17 teams, which included teams from Arizona State, Boise State, BYU, BYU-Idaho, Colorado Mesa, Colorado State, Colorado-Pueblo, Montana State, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah Valley University, and Weber State. Sonya Rosenthal, said, “Our team this year was very strong. Three students were on the heavy civil last year and came home with a 3rd place win, one competed in the pre-construction category last year, and two new members brought in skills from their own construction experiences. We had great support from local engineering and construction companies with exercise problems as the team prepared to address a unique and difficult engineered construction solution. Watch for these students to make a difference in their careers!”

Tucker Thatcher, Heavy Civil team captain, added, “The opportunity to compete and succeed at a high level on an unbelievable project is rewarding and the highlight of our construction studies. I think placing second in a competitive field with many great schools proves that Montana Tech continues to be among the best of the best and can no longer remain a hidden gem as our students are in high demand.”

Montana Tech’s Design-Build team, coached by Rosenthal and Ryan, must have taken 4th place in this project, which was a conceptual design project for an education center with classroom space and research laboratory space on a university campus. This project had to be designed to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard. The team included Montana Tech students, Samantha Johnson, Vincent McCann, Jarod Howell, Brian Beatty, Ben Stortz, and Carson Shuman. Other competing schools were Arizona State, Boise State, BYU, BYU-Idaho, Colorado State, Northern Arizona, Air Force, Arizona, UNLV, and Weber State. “Our Design-Build team overcame many hurdles to pull a strong team together. This team has developed collaboration skills that allowed them to create unique yet functional building designs with associated engineering solutions. McCarthy, the project sponsor, was fond of our students and their approach to the project. We have great potential with this team next year,” said Sonya Rosenthal.

The Pre-Construction Services project team included Henry Lugo, Maria Ralph, Bridger Martin, Ben Voss, Brett Hibbs, and Ellie Berreth. This year students had to estimate the foundations, structure, and enclosure for a 46-story housing project which included a parking garage. This team was extremely competitive but realized they missed one component of the first deliverable of the day, which resulted in not placing in the top three in the competition. The project re-cap with the project sponsor did reveal that without this misstep, the Pre-Construction team could have placed 2nd. Competing teams included Arizona State, BYU-Idaho, California Baptist, Cal Poly -SLO, Cal Poly-Pamona, Colorado State, Oregon State, San Diego State, Berkley, University of Denver, and USC. “Our students realized their mistake and owned up to it. They learned that details are the difference between winning a bid and losing a bid in the real world,” said Bill Ryan. “While they are disappointed, they know that their work was top-notch, and they are motivated for next year.”

Team alternate Logan Kolodejchuk competed in the Alternates Competition, where he was placed on a team with students from other universities to bid a seismic renovation project in California. His team members were from Chico State, Fresno State, Long Beach State, Cal-Berkley, Central Washington, and Cal State-Fullerton. Logan, a first-year Highlands College Construction Tech student, noted, “It was amazing to take what I learned in the classroom and use it during the competition. As a freshman, I was able to contribute to the team right away. The hands-on experience that we get on the job helped my teammates understand the importance of the job site sequence. “

The AGC club at Montana Tech is open to all students in any major interested in learning about the Construction Industry. The teams include a mix of students in two-year and four-year programs from Montana Tech's North and South campus, a unique strategy that has strengthened the teams.

For more information, please contact:
AGC Faculty advisor - Bill Ryan at 406-496-3700 or
AGC Faculty Advisor – Sonya Rosenthal at
Samantha Johnson – AGC Student president