Credit: Associated Schools of Construction | Courtesy

Cal Poly construction management students set two school records for most first place wins and most teams placed at the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) competition Feb. 5 through 8 in Sparks, Nevada.

Cal Poly sent 12 teams to the competition, six of which won first place in their respective categories. Nine teams in total placed in the competition, achieving two new feats in the 33 years that Cal Poly has competed.

During their work time from about 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., student-teams stayed in their hotel rooms and were not allowed to contact anyone outside their team.

“Besides being intellectually challenging, it’s honestly a huge physical challenge,” construction management senior Emily Bohannon, whose team won first place in the electrical competition, said. “Most of us don’t sleep for three days. You’re working on your problem pretty much the whole day.”

The Associated Schools of Construction competition hosted construction students from 53 universities to compete in 12 competition categories, varying from commercial construction to mechanical construction categories. Teams were presented with a construction problem in the morning and turned in deliverables that were due throughout the day until 11 p.m. Deliverables were scored by judges and the teams gave presentations on their solutions the following day.

Construction management senior Avery Spector is the captain of the commercial construction team and project scheduler. She said the most challenging part of the competition for her was staying focused on several tasks in a high-pressure environment while her teammates were focused on their own individual tasks.

“As a scheduler, I had to create anywhere from 500 to 1,000 activities,” Spector said. “Staying focused and figuring that out on my own for 16 hours [was the most challenging part].”

Spector’s team placed third last year, so when her team was called for first place in commercial construction, she said it came as a surprise.

“When people won – no matter what place people got – the hundreds of [Cal Poly students] stood up and cheered and it was just such a fun moment,” Bohannon said. “That was probably the highlight of my experience at Cal Poly so far.”

According to Spector, the construction industry is very male dominated, but she said she feels like the Cal Poly teams have a more equal gender ratio than the industry. 

Spector said that the quality education she received through the construction management program at Cal Poly has helped her stay competitive  with students from other universities, and it is most apparent at the ASC competition.

“I feel pretty confident when I’m walking around there that I can [compete with] or somewhat surpass some of the boys,” Spector said.

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