Safety first: Students take top place in national competition

Team photo
Team members pictured left to right are David Regan, Cole Oberle, Joe Crubaugh, Bailey McGuire and Sawyer Schaefer.
Team presentation
Students deliver their team presentation. Pictured left to right are David Regan, Bailey McGuire, Joe Crubaugh and Sawyer Schaefer.

A team of five University of Wisconsin-Platteville construction management students took first place in the area of safety and second place overall, among 26 teams, at the recent 2020 National Associated Builders and Contractors’ annual Construction Management Competition.

The UW-Platteville students included David Regan, a senior building construction management major from Hickory Hills, Illinois; Bailey McGuire, a junior building construction management and construction safety management major from Darlington, Wisconsin; Joe Crubaugh, a junior building construction management and business administration major from Monroe, Wisconsin; Sawyer Schaefer, a senior building construction management major from Greenfield, Wisconsin; and Cole Oberle, a senior building construction management major from Lena, Illinois.

The competition, held virtually this year, requires each team to complete a construction management project, including providing a price and technical proposal in the areas of estimating, project management, safety and quality control. A panel of judges then interviews the teams.

This year’s project gave the students an opportunity to test a number of real-world construction skills. The project focused on the construction of a new federal courthouse and required the students take into consideration demolition, construction, site development and more.

“The lessons learned are quite endless,” said Regan. “With the amount of work we put in and what we learned, it felt like its own internship.”

Winners are selected in five categories. In addition to the UW-Platteville team placing second overall, the team also placed first in the safety category.

A large reason why we did so well in safety, is due to Mark Miner’s [associate professor and program coordinator of the Construction Safety Management program],” assistance throughout bid preparation,” said McGuire. “He helped me work through any obstacles or dilemmas I ran into while working on the project safety documents.”

Gretchen Bockenhauer, team advisor and instructor in the Construction Management program, said that support from industry partners was a critical piece of the students’ success.

“We are so thankful for our construction industry partners who supported our team by meeting with them, providing job site tours, answering questions, attending presentation practice and donating,” said Bockenhauer. “The UW-Platteville 2020 ABC Construction Management Competition team’s dedication to the project through COVID-19 paid off. They did well in all categories of estimate, project management and schedule, and quality, but nailed it in safety and their presentation. I am so proud of the UW-Platteville team and thank all of our construction industry support throughout the project.”

In addition to industry supporters – Hensel Phelps, Pieper Power, Wondra Construction, Royal Construction, Kraemer Brothers and CG Schmidt – Bockenhauer and the team extend their thanks to the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin – which has supported UW-Platteville teams in the competition since 2002 – and Dr. Wayne Weber, dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture.

The team is already looking to next year’s competition, which will be held this spring.

“Second place is sweet, but going for gold next year is our drive,” said Regan. “We represented our school on a national scale in a very good way, but gold tastes better than silver, so next year we want to build off our mistakes and lessons learned, and place in all four categories.”