Cal Poly Chosen As Decathlon Finalist

Nov 14, 2023

Above:   Graphic Rendering of Cal Poly's Proposed Project


November 2023-

Cal Poly's Decathlon team has been chosen as a finalist for the Gateway Decathlon competition. Construction Management faculty members Maryam Kouhirostami and Elizabeth Adams are coaching an interdisciplinary team of students from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) as they navigate the design and building of a prefabricated sustainable house.

The Gateway Decathlon is a two-year, design-build, multi-staged, multidisciplinary competition with a primary focus on innovative housing design and construction. This competition involves teams of students led by faculty members and industry partners collaborating on a project. The overarching goal is to foster creativity, innovation, and sustainable solutions, with a specific emphasis on industrialized or off-site residential construction methodologies.

The competition began with the announcement of the 16 selected teams in November 2023, followed by a one-year design process extending to the end of 2024. The second year of the competition is solely dedicated to the construction process. The proposed model by Cal Poly will be built and assembled on our campus, then disassembled and shipped to Saint Louis, Missouri, where it will be reassembled in a span of 2 to 3 days in October 2025. The location for the installation and exhibition of the final models is in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri, just south of the Gateway Arch. The competition comprises 10 contest areas, including Design, Engineering and Construction, Material and Supply Chain, Wellness and Livability, Energy and Performance, Dwelling Functionality, Water Optimization, Innovation, Market Viability, and Public Perception.

For more information, please refer to the provided link.


CM Places 2nd at MCAA Competition

Jun 5, 2023

Andy Palcan from Helm Mechanical, Braden Deck, and MCAA President Bob Bolton 


CM Team Earns Second Place; Student Braden Deck Wins Most Valuable Presenter Award at MCAA Competition

Cal Poly’s team of 10 construction management (CM) students earned second place, and CM junior Braden Deck was named Most Valuable Presenter at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Student Chapter Competition held in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 28, 2023.

As runner-up, the Cal Poly team received a trophy and check for $5,000. For giving the best proposal presentation, Deck won a trophy, $500, a complimentary seat in MCAA’s Preparatory Institute for Project Management and the title of 2022-23 Most Valuable Presenter. 

“Winning the Most Valuable Presenter award was a great bonus to this competition,” Deck said. “However, this competition is won by a team. We could never have gotten second place without such a great team.”

In all, 22 of the over 50 MCAA student chapters from across the country submitted contest proposals. Pittsburg State University was awarded the top prize of $10,000, while Fairleigh Dickinson University and McMaster University rounded out the final four, each winning $2,500. In addition, six teams earned Certificates of Merit and checks for $1,000. 

“We worked on this project for over six months and getting second place was really special,” Deck said. “I remember trying to recruit people to join the club, and everyone said they had no mechanical experience. Daniel Desoto, the co-president, and I told everyone that we would all learn together. I can’t explain how proud I was to watch this club grow and come together as we worked on our proposal. When the team received the news that we placed in the final four, we were in shock and extremely proud of the work that we put in.”

CM Department faculty advisors Joe Cleary and Paul Redden accompanied the students, all of whom were recognized at the Awards of Excellence Breakfast on the final morning of the MCAA23 Conference.

“The students did an outstanding job working as a team and leveraging the knowledge gained in their course work and their resources and experiences beyond the classroom to deliver a high-quality submission,” Cleary said. “A big thank you goes out to Northern California MCA for its ongoing support for the students over many years connecting them with the industry and providing invaluable learning opportunities outside of the classroom. With their support, the students have demonstrated that they are ready for the industry.”

The student competitors were charged with submitting a project proposal that involved the construction of the mechanical and plumbing systems at the new district energy facility on the National Western Campus in Denver. The scope of the project included the installation of three 1,000-ton cooling towers, six 6,000-mbh boilers, a SHARC sewer heat recovery system, plate and frame heat exchangers, pumps, piping and supporting infrastructure. The project is currently the largest sewer heat recovery system in North America. 

The students were asked to craft a proposal response to an RFP that included a fictitious company structure, values, project organization chart, financial information, project backlog, bonding capacity, a detailed estimate with a complete bill of materials, a detailed construction plan and schedule, safety and quality control plans, BIM capabilities, and a service and maintenance agreement.

Cal Poly alumnus A. J. Chamorro (Construction Management, ’17), who competed in the MCAA competition five times as an undergraduate, congratulated the students on their “outstanding” performance.

“I attended the MCAA Convention as a representative of the company I work for, Pribuss Engineering Inc.,” Chamorro said. “There was much talk among the industry folks at the conference about how impressive the Cal Poly students were. This competition is of great importance to our industry as mechanical contractors and members of MCAA. I couldn’t be prouder to see Cal Poly shine on the big stage. Every one of the students played a part in achieving this and should be very proud.”

In addition to Deck and Desoto, the Cal Poly CM team members included second-year student Spencer Gardner and third-year students Nathan Haub and Kristina Poliseri.

Students who attended included second-year students Grace Arnold and Misael Gonzalez and third-year students Sam Varney, Will Riviere and Ryan Fehrenbach.

For more information on the competition, go to:

Continue reading CM Places 2nd at MCAA Competition...
Four NECA Team Members Post for photo

NECA Student Chapter 2023 Electrical Contracting Innovation Challenge

Apr 7, 2023


Copy Provided by the Cal Poly NECA Student chapter

Cal Poly’s construction management (CM) students continue to get involved and connected with the industry. The Cal Poly NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) student chapter is currently working on the 2023 Electrical Contracting Innovation Challenge. This challenge is a great way for students to interact with local contractors, gain exposure to the electrical industry, and to develop applicable professional skills.

This challenge has been a great way to learn more about the electrical contracting trade and the key stakeholders in the industry. NECA prides themselves as “the voice of the electrical construction industry.” They are made up of over 70,000 electrical contracting firms all striving for innovation, safety, and quality. NECA has partnered with Electri International to host this competition. Electri International was created by NECA to aid in research of the electrical construction industry. Through their research, Electri teaches contractors through seminars, briefings, and student competitions. 

This project has also encouraged us to interact with local electrical contractors that are associated with NECA. Our chapter has been able to attend training, jobsite tours, lunches, and even sport outings while learning and networking. Through these events, we have built lasting connections and have expanded our knowledge about the industry.

This year, our team is responsible for performing the project management tasks for the Oglethorpe University Emerson Student Center. In the coming weeks, we will be finishing up our schedule, AIA pay application, schedule of values, change orders, purchase orders, and submittal logs. We will have our whole project completed and submitted by April 28th, 2023. After this, we will be hosting a golf tournament on May 8th to continue building relationships with contractors and suppliers. Lastly, we will be presenting our work at the NECA Convention and Award Ceremony in Philadelphia, PA in September, 2023.

Through interactions with our local electrical contractors, we have seen how amazing the electrical industry is. We have been introduced to so many aspects of the industry and continue to learn useful project management tasks.


CM Wins in International Competition

Mar 9, 2023

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.

ASC 6&7 2023 Win

Mar 8, 2023

Contact: Jeong Woo

Cal Poly Interdisciplinary Student Teams Sweep Regional Competition

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Eleven Cal Poly student teams brought home first, second or third place trophies in their respective categories at the 2023 Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Region 6 and 7 Competition, held Feb. 8-11, in Sparks, Nevada.

The teams, which included students in construction management (CM), civil engineering, architectural engineering and architecture, won four first-place awards, six second-place awards and one third-place award.

“This is the best record since we started competing in this competition in 1988,” said CM Department Head Jeong Woo. “The results of this competition show the power of Learn by Doing together. A special shout out to all coaches who paved the way to our students’ success, and thank you to all sponsors and mentors who provided financial support and professional guidance for all of our students.”

The annual competition attracts teams from the Rocky Mountain region
of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, as well as teams from the Far West region, including California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Only students in regions 6 and 7 can compete in the Heavy Civil, Commercial, Mixed-Use and Design Build categories; however, students in any region are eligible to compete in the open competitions, which include Mechanical, Virtual Design and Construction, Sustainable Building, Preconstruction, Project Management, Electrical and Concrete Solutions.

This year Cal Poly’s teams competed against 1,613 students on 217 teams from more than 57 U.S. universities, including Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Stanford, Texas A&M, UC Berkeley and UC Davis, and as well as students from the California State University campuses of Chico, Sacramento, and Pomona.

The competition is fast-paced and highly charged. Teams are presented with problem statement materials generated by their team sponsors, some of the industry’s top firms. The materials represent the entire problem statement and scope of work. Each team must adhere to the specific time frames, deadlines, schedules, locations and conditions set forth in the problem.

“None of us students can thank the Cal Poly CM faculty enough for their dedication to their students and the overall success of the program,” said recent Cal Poly CM graduate Brayden Groshart, an incoming project engineer intern at Largo Concrete. “From the practice presentations to the jobsite visits, the department has always provided us with everything that we need to be prepared for the industry. I’m glad we could bring home some hardware this year.”


Garrett Henley, a project manager at Henley & Co., added, “Congratulations! The continued excellence is testament to the program, its students and the faculty. Way to go!”

Below are the categories in which Cal Poly placed first, second or third in the 2023 ASC Region 6 & 7 Student Competition:


Heavy Civil – Cal Poly, first; Cal State Chico, second; Cal State Long Beach, third.

Commercial, Washington State one first; Cal Poly, second; Cal State Chico, third.
Mixed Use – Cal Poly, first; Cal State Sacramento, second; Oregon State University, third.

Design Build – Cal Poly Pomona, first; Cal Poly, second; Cal State, Chico, third.
Integrated Project – Stanford, first; Cal Poly, second; University of Denver, third.
Mechanical – Cal State, Chico; Cal Poly, second; Texas A&M, third.
Virtual Design and Construction – Cal State Sacramento, first; Cal Poly, second; Roger Williams University, third.
Sustainable Building – UC Berkeley, first; UC Davis, second; Cal Poly, third.
Preconstruction – Cal Poly, first; Colorado State University, second; Cal Poly Pomona, third.
Project Management – Cal Poly, first; Boise State, second; UC Berkeley, third.
Electrical – Milwaukee School of Engineering, first; Cal Poly, second; Ferris State University, third.

For the full list of university competitors and winners, go to


About Cal Poly’s Construction Management Department
The Construction Management Department at Cal Poly is a tightknit group of faculty and staff working to provide its students the best possible education and the help they need to progress to graduation. Its graduates are ready to tackle the challenges they find in the professional world. Students take a variety of classes, join one or more of our professional student organizations and frequently intern with one of the many companies that visit the campus over the course of each year. Upon graduation, the department has virtually 100% placement in the construction industry.

About Associated Schools of Construction-

The Associated Schools of Construction is the professional association for the development and advancement of construction education, where the sharing of ideas and knowledge inspires, guides and promotes excellence in curricula, teaching, research and service.

Continue reading ASC 6&7 2023 Win ...

Construction Innovator Spring 2022 Edition

Aug 30, 2022

The latest edition of the Construction Innovator has been printed and should have already hit your mailboxes. If you did not receive a hard copy, and would like to, please e-mail Jenay Reynolds-Sibbach at Otherwise you can view the digital copy here

Ed Boucher Selected as Director of the Granite Heavy Civil Minor Program

Aug 31, 2021


Faculty member Ed Boucher, who has taught full time in the Construction Management (CM) Department and part-time in the Civil Engineering (CE) Department since 2017, was selected director of the Granite Heavy Civil minor program, a joint venture between the two departments.

The program is designed to better prepare students for an evolving industry that combines elements of design and construction. The minor was established in 2019 through an endowment created with donations from Granite Construction, Caterpillar, and Beavers Charitable Foundation. The endowment covers, in perpetuity, the costs of a joint CE and CM director with funding to support scholarships for women and underrepresented students in construction.

The program, which admitted 52 students in its first two cohorts, teaches CM students about heavy civil engineering fundamentals, and CE students have access to more construction management classes.

Boucher served on the committee that developed the Granite Heavy Civil minor. As director, he will teach in both the CM and CE departments while also being responsible for the administration and sustainability of the Granite Heavy Civil minor program, including recruiting and advising students, overseeing budget administration, fundraising, implementing program improvements, interfacing with industry, coaching team competitions, and developing two new courses.

The heavy workload does not intimidate Boucher, a self-described “construction guy.”

“I have passion for aiding student development and growth as construction professionals,” he said. “I also have passion and strong knowledge of the heavy civil sector of the construction industry as I spent 44 years in heavy construction before “retiring” in 2018. Additionally, I want to aid the university and promote student interest in the heavy civil field.”

Boucher wants to grow the program.

“Improvements will be iterative and ongoing,” he said. “Growth will be based on input from students, sponsors and the Granite Heavy Civil Minor Industry Advisory Board. My interface with industry is critical. The program needs to understand what industry desires of their new employees and to adequately prepare the students in the program for success.”


Construction Management Students Win First Place at Statewide Competition

Jun 3, 2021

Top Left: Marco De Zordo, Jonathan Lin, Carson Ernst
Middle Left: Brett Jones, Mason Heinse, Brent Underwood
Bottom Left: Coach Joe Cleary, Gus Coluccio, Coach Paul Redden


SAN LUIS OBISPO – A team of eight Cal Poly construction management students won first place and $7,500 at the CPMCA Student Competition, hosted by the California Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association (CPMCA).

The contest, held virtually, was CPMCA’s inaugural competition. It was open to university teams across the U.S. that have construction management and construction engineering programs with student MCA chapters. 

It tasked students with simulating a mechanical contractor submitting a proposal to win a “tenant improvement build-out project” in West Los Angeles. The student teams were given from Feb. 25 until April 2 to submit their proposals.

“We were asked to provide a variety of prequalification data and project-specific information,” said team captain Carson Ernst, a third-year construction management major. “In essence, we’re to make the documents that a mechanical subcontractor would submit to an owner’s representative or general construction manager to bid on and win the project.”

The proposals were submitted, and the top three – Cal Poly, the University of Southern California and Central Washington University -- were judged by CPMCA member contractor representatives. The top teams then gave a live presentation to a mock client panel, which chose the winners.

The students’ proposals included project management plans for all plumbing, piping, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), controls, and any other work required to complete the project as described in the bid documents.

The teams were asked to propose a plan to perform the necessary work, including BIM coordination BIM (building information modeling) coordination to locate and correct clashes with other crafts before fabricating or installing piping or ductwork.

“The most unique thing about this competition was that we were partnered with two mechanical

industry advisors, whom we met with weekly to discuss issues we had encountered in creating our proposal,” Ernst said. “Our advisors were Joe Camacho of Murray Co.  and Anthony Gomez from ACCO Engineered Systems. Having industry advisors with a reliable contact avenue made it incredibly easy to get real-world answers to our questions and improve our subject matter knowledge.

Cal Poly’s team, advised by construction management faculty members Joe Cleary and Paul Redden, included six team members and two alternatives.

“The six team members spoke during the final presentation; however, all members assisted in created the proposal, which got us to the final three,” Ernst said.

In addition to Ernst, team members included fourth-year students Jonathan Lin and Brent Underwood; third-year students Marco DeZordo, Mason Heinse and Brett Jones. Second-year student Gus Coluccio and fourth-year student Heilam Wu served as alternates.

Clayco Donates 16 Laptops to Aid Construction Management Students in Need at Cal Poly

Apr 22, 2021

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Clayco, a full-service design-build and construction firm headquartered in Chicago, has donated 16 laptops to aid Cal Poly construction management students in need.  

This gift of the Dell 5500 series computers was made possible, thanks to efforts by Clayco Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Tomislav Žigo, who is passionate about promoting construction innovation and investing in future leaders in the construction industry. 

Žigo has been implementing and using digital technology as a designer, builder, educator and researcher.  

“We were eager to jump in and support Cal Poly construction management students,” Žigo said. “We especially wanted to support students in need during the pandemic so they would not be limited by access to campus computer labs. During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to help the most vulnerable students stay in school, earn their degrees, and build a better future for themselves and our communities.”

Construction Management Department Head Jeong Woo added, “We realize that some of our students don't have laptops that can run basic construction software such as Bluebeam, AutoCAD, Revit and Navisworks. This laptop support will help the students to better focus their attention on their academic success.

“We are indebted to Tomislav, as well as to Clayco’s Todd Finders, chief information officer; Frank May, vice president of recruiting; and Birttany Emmons, recruiting coordinator,” Woo continued.

Clayco is one of the newest members of CMAC (Construction Management Advisory Committee), which now has 170 members dedicated to increasing alumni involvement and strengthening student engagement with the Cal Poly Construction Management Department and industry practitioners.

About Clayco

Clayco, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is a full-service, real estate, architecture, engineering, design-build and construction firm known to deliver high-quality solutions to clients across North America. Founded in 1984, Clayco has revolutionized the design-build process, dramatically set new standards for collaborative design, construction quality and craftsmanship, efficient project management, cost containment and jobsite safety. With more than 2,600 employees across the country, it is one of the nation’s largest privately owned real estate, architecture, engineering, design-build and construction firms. It provides fast-track, efficient solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial and residential building projects. Year after year, Engineering News Record ranks Clayco as a top design-builder and contractor. 

About Cal Poly’s Construction Management Department
The Construction Management Department at Cal Poly is a tight knit group of faculty and staff working to provide its students the best possible education so that when they leave Cal Poly, they are ready to tackle the challenges they will encounter in the professional world. Students take a variety of classes, join one or more of our professional student organizations, and frequently intern with one of the many companies that visit the campus over the course of each year. Upon graduation, the department has virtually 100% placement in the construction industry.

International Student Competition Team Places Second

Feb 26, 2021

Top Row L-R: Itzell Ruiz, Samuel Wong, Professor Lonny Simonian,
Middle Row L-R: Tadeáš Zahradník, Anna Karbanová, Ing. Martin Čásenský
Bottom Row L-R: Madison Lightfoot, Barbora Macková


Cal Poly Construction Management students joined with students from Czech Technical University to compete in the Associated Schools of Construction International competition this February 19-22, 2021.

Three students from each university formed the Design-Build team whose problem focused on the Deadwood at Main complex in Dallas, TX. The competition took place over the weekend, so students worked on it in their free time and thanks to the time difference between Prague and Oklahoma, which is 7 hours, mostly at night. After the submission of the final report, on Monday, February 22, in the evening, an online presentation and defense before a professional jury took place. At midnight of the 22nd (Prague time), the team found out that their hard work had earned them second place.

"Cal Poly and the Czech Technical University, Prague, only had a short amount of time to assemble a combined team.  The students learned to quickly work together, identifying areas of strength, roles, and responsibilities.  Their project submittal, and presentation, were warmly received, earning them a second-place finish in the Design-Build competition; a first entry by either university in this ASC region," says Cal Poly Professor Lonny Simonian.

"I believe that an equally significant benefit in addition to the location was that our students had the opportunity to work in international teams, where representatives of various specializations, such as construction management, architects and the like, also had to agree on work. Compared to the past, a new experience has been added, namely working online, where half of the team was in various places in the Czech Republic and the rest in the USA. This allowed them to acquire new work habits, as well as possible important contacts for their future practice. In particular, the style of online cooperation will obviously become more important in the near future, "says Ing. Martin Čásenský, CSc.,faculty of Civil Engineering of the Czech Technical University.



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