CM Wins in International Competition

Cal Poly Construction Management Students Win First, Third Place in International Competition

Cal Poly’s construction management (CM) students showcased their competitive prowess worldwide, winning first- and third-place awards at the Associated Schools of Competition (ASC) Region 8 International Student Competition, held Nov. 10-11, 2022, at the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Five Cal Poly students representing two teams placed in the competition’s two tracks. Both teams were joined by students from the Czech Technical University (CTU). Cal Poly team members Evan Cheung and Nick Fregulia, both seniors, and two Czech students won first place in the CM/QS (Estimating) category. Seniors Sam Wong, Thomas Camargo and Robert Dasch and three CTU students took third place in the International Design/Build category.

Region 8 is the European-based arm of the ASC, the professional association for the development and advancement of construction education. The Region 8 competition connects construction students from all over the world and challenges them to adapt to the differences between European and American construction. 

For the 2022 competition, 15 universities competed -- eight from the United States, five from the United Kingdom, one from Ireland and one from the Czech Republic.

Cal Poly has been competing in the international competition since 2015. This is the first time Cal Poly students took home first place in the CM/QS category. Last year, Cal Poly won first place in the Design Build category. 

“One of the great joys of the competition was introducing the students to an international forum in Prague,” said CM Professor Lonny Simonian, faculty advisor who accompanied the students. 

For the Design-Build competition, the student’s assignment included a design and build scope for a new senior citizen center to be constructed on an existing brownfield site in an urban area. Students were required to develop a fast-track execution strategy for delivering a new apartment building that would entirely replace the existing retirement home.

For the CM/QS competition, the students’ project focused on the planning and preparation from a developer’s perspective.

The most challenging part of the CM/QS category competition, according to Cheung, was that the problem focused on a residential development within Prague. “We had to utilize the metric system as well as the Czech currency for our budgets,” he said.

Cheung has competed in regional ASC competitions, but this was his first time competing in the international contest.  “I was excited to compete and represent Cal Poly CM in Prague,” he said. “I had never been to the Czech Republic, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to compete against other prestigious universities from other countries. My favorite part of the competition was presenting our solutions, including projected revenues, redistribution of flat-mixes, and sustainability and technology concepts to a panelist of judges.”  

Cheung was “ecstatic” when he learned that the Cal Poly-CTU team had won. “I felt proud of the team and especially our Czech counterparts who did very well in the presentation despite English not being their first language,” he said. “I felt a sense of gratitude toward my Cal Poly teammate Nick Fregulia, as well as our advisor Lonny Simonian and the Construction Management Department for giving us the opportunity to travel abroad and compete in international construction competitions.”

Cal Poly Construction Management students are encouraged to compete in competitions as a means to enhance Learn by Doing. “We students are thrown into high-pressure situations in which we need to submit deliverables to solve construction problems,” Cheung explained. “This allows us to experience real-world situations in whih we need to act quickly and efficiently to develop solutions.”

Simonian was equally proud of the students. “All the students did great, as affirmed by their first and third placement,” Simonian said. “Participation in these international, industry-sponsored competitions offers students a great opportunity for personal and professional development and enables them to showcase their ideas in front of employers, academics and fellow teams.

“In addition, the construction industry is becoming more global, and this venue provides them the opportunity to see the industry from an international perspective.”

Simonian is looking forward to advising and accompanying the students to Dublin, Ireland, November 8-10 for the 2023 international competition.

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