Three student teams from The William States Lee College of Engineering recently participated in the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Southeast regional competition in Atlanta to learn, network, compete — and win.
The global ASC organization hosts annual student competitions in cities throughout the United States and Europe. This year, three UNC Charlotte teams competed in the commercial, concrete and heavy civil categories against teams from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Virginia Tech and Puerto Rico, among others.
Charlotte's Heavy Civil team, coached by lecturer Wayne Goff, won first place, and the Concrete team, coached by associate professor Tara Cavalline, placed third. This is the second consecutive year that two UNC Charlotte teams placed among the competition’s top three.
Rob Keynton, dean of the Lee College, said, “We are very proud of the students, faculty and staff in this program for these excellent accomplishments. The foundation for our students' success in such competitions is based on the hands-on learning experiences they receive from the outstanding and dedicated faculty of our Engineering Technology and Construction Management Department.”
The students began with a 12-plus-hour virtual workday to develop a proposal that showcases their logistical site plans, operational procedures and a detailed cost estimate and schedule. The competition culminated in a professional industry presentation, highlighting their skills and approach to deliver more than $100M of this year's target projects.
"This competition provides our students with a ‘trial under fire’ simulation, where each team member has the opportunity to apply the academic theories learned in the classroom, along with their real-life experiences gained through internships,” Goff said.
“They are presented with a problem statement that requires them to work as a like-minded unit under pressure and time constraints, where tasks must be delegated and delivered with the highest quality and accuracy to be competitive. This is as close as it gets to sitting in a contractor's ‘war room’ during a bid — until they are actually there," he explained.
“I’m so proud of our teams,” Cavalline said. “They worked hard, prepared well and ultimately demonstrated the quality of our students and our programs on a regional stage.”
Alex Nowatkoski ’21, Heavy Civil team captain, believes other students looking to advance their careers should participate. "Participating in this competition was a great experience and important to my professional goals,” he said.
Owen Miller ’22, who captained the Concrete team, said, "I think everyone was surprised by what they learned and glad they participated. The competition has definitely been a highlight of my time here at UNC Charlotte.”
Tony Brizendine, chair and professor of engineering technology and construction management, said, “These student teams are raising the profile of our program and University to an important audience of peer and competitor universities and industry leaders.
“These results improve our standing in the academy, profession and industry and open doors for our students and alumni now and in the future.”
UNC Charlotte team members:
Heavy Civil: Alex Nowatkoski, Austin York, Kevin Lopez, Kevin Martinez, Michael Wright and Jullian Hudson
Concrete: Eliza Davis, Matthew Ghant, Donny Ravelo, Brennan Kenison, A.T. Barringer and Owen Miller
Commercial: Bryan Ornelas, Cole Hoops, Annie Long, Paris Brasier, Ashton White and Abraham Ogden
Photo: The Charlotte Commercial competition team, back row, left to right, Bryan Ornelas, Abraham Ogden, Paris Brasier and Annie Long; front row, left to right, Ashton White and Cole Hoops.