Construction management students compete in national competition, place among top schools

Pictured from left to right are Evan Meyers, Logan Neisen, Zach Wynstra, Colton Ervin, Mike Dzierzynski and Jon Beyer.
Pictured from left to right are Evan Meyers, Logan Neisen, Zach Wynstra, Colton Ervin, Mike Dzierzynski and Jon Beyer.

A team of University of Wisconsin-Platteville construction management students recently traveled to Kissimmee, Florida, for the 2023 Construction Management Competition at the Associated Builders and Contractors Convention. UW-Platteville’s team, Keen Action Construction, tested their construction project leadership skills by completing the same construction management project as 21 other teams and placed fifth overall.

Designed to challenge knowledge, organization, time management and presentation skills, the Construction Management Competition gives the nation’s top construction management students a glimpse into the real world of construction. This year’s project focused on construction of a four-story, pre-K-12 education building located in downtown Orlando, the first phase of an ongoing campus capital improvement plan. The UW-Platteville team members were Zach Wynstra, Evan Meyers, Colton Ervin, Logan Niesen, Jon Beyer and Mike Dzierzynski.

Wynstra, who led the team the last two years and graduated this spring, said they approached this project collaboratively by studying the prints and specifications, getting a good understanding of what would go into the project, then dividing things up so they could work on getting everything done within their time frame.

“It was a very cool experience, to say the least,” said Wynstra. “Being able to say we have competed against the top construction schools in the country, most significantly bigger than UW-Platteville, says enough in itself about the skills we have gained because of the great program UW-Platteville has to offer, thanks to our professors and supporters of the program.”

UW-Platteville’s Gretchen Bockenhauer, program coordinator and assistant professor in construction management, also led an ABC Convention Industry Workshop during the national convention called “What does it take to be an employer of choice?” Wynstra was asked to be a part of that panel.

“The most significant thing I gained from this project was a better understanding of what goes into a construction project behind the scenes with how it all comes together and works, more than a classroom could ever teach us,” said Wynstra. “The connections we all made coast to coast, as well as with ABC leaders across the whole organization, were also a significant benefit of being a part of the team and project.”

According to its website, Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 22,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 68 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. The ABC National Student Chapter Network connects local ABC chapters to colleges and universities with construction management programs to build the talent pipeline and mentor future leaders of the construction industry.