CM Students Capture Historical Win at Regional Competition

Feb 24, 2021

Top Left to Right are:  Evan Tookey, Shaina Suanico, Lizette Galvez
Bottom Left to Right are: Sophie Stewart, Skylar Schrank, and Josh De Mattei


Feb 18, 2021

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly students brought home 11 trophies from this year’s annual Associated Schools of Construction Region 6 and 7 Student Competition, breaking their historical record set just last year when they won 10 awards, including six first-place trophies.

This year 11 of Cal Poly’s 14 teams finished in the top three spots, including 10 trophies won by architectural engineering (ARCE), architecture (ARCH), and construction management (CM) students, and one trophy by civil engineering students. Four Cal Poly teams placed first, including three Construction Management Department teams — Project Management, Electrical and Mixed-Use teams — and the Virtual Design and Construction Team from the Civil Engineering Department.

Cal Poly teams were made up of nearly an equal number of women and men. The university earned nearly three times the number of trophies than its closest competitor, Idaho’s Boise State.

The annual competition attracted nearly 1,100 students competing on 152 teams from 18 states representing 47 universities, including Brigham Young, UC Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Southern California and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

In addition to the four top-place finishes, Cal Poly’s Commercial, Design Build, Integrated Project, Sustainable Building, Preconstruction and Concrete Solutions teams took second place. A second Cal Poly Virtual Design and Construction team placed third.

Senior Dara Lin, who is majoring in construction management and architecture, participated with the Integrated Project Design team, which earned a second place in the graduate division. The team included all new members. “Our hard work paid off,” said Lin, of Boston. “Although we hadn't participated in the ASC competition before and the format was all virtual, we were able to collaborate effectively, and I’m proud of what the team was able to achieve."

Construction Management Department Head Jeong Woo added, “Our teams’ outstanding results tell a great deal about student quality, faculty dedication and the excellence of Learn by Doing.”

The 2021 event marked the ASC’s 34th annual competition, held virtually Feb. 3-6.
Cal Poly construction management students have been participating in the competition since its inception.

The student teams spend months preparing for the competition, working under the guidance of faculty coaches and team sponsors, many of whom are Cal Poly alumni. Because it was held virtually this year, students had to prepare quite differently. For the first time in the competition’s history, students were not allowed access to labs and rooms for practice runs.

“We prepared, practiced and expected the unexpected,” said Electrical Team member Amanda Schrader of Huntington Beach. “Ultimately what it came down to was our team collaboration, determination and work ethic. It was an incredible opportunity for all of us. Our biggest takeaway is that team moral and dedication will always be a strong suit in the industry.”

Twelve individual team sponsors mentored them and helped pay for team shirts, new computers and other supplies. Cupertino Electric and Nibbi Brothers provided virtual collaboration tools for all dozen teams.

“The sponsorships were instrumental in helping us shift to a virtual work environment. Our students could not do this without the continued financial support and mentoring of our generous sponsors,” Woo said. “Our student teams, their coaches and I really appreciate all their dedicated help.”

The Heavy-Civil and Mechanical teams did not place; they were supported by McGuire & Hester and Dome Construction, respectively.

Cal Poly’s winning teams are:


First Place

  • Electrical Team Members: CM students Connor Avrit of Orland; Morgan Gawle of Emerald Hills; Braden Hotra of Huntington Beach; Miriam Robles of Templeton; Amanda Schrader of Huntington Beach; James Ziebell of Marina; and alternates Heather Sailor of Morgan Hill; and Allison Wild of Rohnert Park.

    Sponsored by Sprig Electrical.


  • Mixed-Use Team Members: CM students Jacob Clark of Placentia; Keagan Coyne of Newport Beach; Sebastian Froman of Santa Rosa; Ashley Isla of Salinas; Ryan Proctor of San Ramon; Chloe Riddlespurger of Solano Beach; and alternates Jake O’Balle of Moraga; and Anna Knutson of Danville.

    Sponsored by Holland Construction Inc.


  • Project Management Team Members: CM students Makenna Gitchell of Santa Maria; Sophie Harrington of Pleasant Hill; Collin Martin of San Rafael; Reagan Milligan of San Jose; Molly Pryde of Castro Valley; Alex Trujillo of San Marcos; and alternates Christian Blevins of Antioch; and Jonah Kim of Aliso Viejo.

    Sponsored by Blach Construction.


  • Virtual Design and Construction: Civil engineering students Sergio Beltran of El Centro; Casey Boyle of Roseville; Ingrid Chan of San Bruno; Serina Feng of Elk Grove; Esmeralda Cruz Pacheco of Santa Maria; and Andy Sazima of Granite Bay. 


Second Place

  • Commercial Team Members: CM students Josh De Mattei of Monte Sereno; Liz Galvez of Somis; Skylar Schrank of Orange; Sophie Stewart of South Lake Tahoe; Shaina Suanico of Chula Vista; Evan Tookey of Torrance; and alternates Dylan Barrett of Walnut Creek; and Joseph Miller of San Luis Obispo.

    Sponsored by XL Construction.


  • Concrete Solutions Team Members: CM students Grace Brekke of Oakland; Peter Finocchio of Los Gatos; Thomas Rogers of San Jose; Jackson Thomas of Pleasant Hill; Sterling Treloar of Silverado; ARCE student Jack Radovan of Santa Cruz; and CM student alternates Jenny Knickerbocker; and Sierra Williamson, both of San Diego.

    Sponsored by BuildGroup.


  • Design Build Team Members: CM students Ellis Fryer of Los Osos; Sydney Sitton of Huntington Beach; Greta Stout of San Anselmo; Luke Terrio of Bakersfield; ARCE student John Leone of San Diego; ARCH student Zack Pasma of Niwot, Colorado; and CM student alternates Catie Dines of San Diego; and Michaela Denny of Fallbrook.

   Sponsored by XL Construction.


  • Integrated Project Team Members: ARCH students Joyce Huang Ooi of Santa Clara; Ashley Pang of Honolulu; Ezra Zuidema of Anaheim; dual ARCH and CM major Dara Lin of Boston; CM students Kiana Dehpanah of Morgan Hill; and Samuel Wong of Santa Rosa; and ARCH student alternate Rafael Gali of San Jose.

    Sponsored by Pankow.


  • Preconstruction Team Members: CM students Molly Bobrovitch of Morago; Kyra Glaus of Solvang; Connor Morinini of Santa Maria; Ryan Nielsen of El Dorado Hills; Shay O’Laughlin of Cardiff; Jane Runte of Penryn; and alternates Kieran Barker of Fairfield, Connecticut; and Jack Sampson of Santa Ana.

    Sponsored by SC Builders.
  • Sustainable Building Team Members: CM students Bradley Burfield of Redwood City; Bella Crafton of Costa Mesa; James Foad of Cameron Park; Hailey Lancaster of San Mateo; Danielle Moody of San Diego; Madeleine Zetterquist of San Jose; and alternates Jaqueline Badal of Danville; and Oliver Leograndis of Corte Madera.

    Sponsored by Level 10 Construction.


Third Place

Virtual Design and Construction Team Members: CM students Kyle Bresnahan of Long Beach; Sydnee Greer of Granite Bay; Jared Jacobs of Sammamish, Washington; Allen Le of Lakewood; Carter Melick of Mercer Island, Washington; ARCE student Joshua Shockey of Chino Hills; and CM student alternates Nathan Giannini of Granite Bay; and Cooper Strong of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Sponsored by Snyder Langston.

CM Magazine - New Edition Fall 2020

Dec 17, 2020

The latest edition of Construction Innovator is out and headed to your mailbox. If you can't wait to read it, check out the on-line edition. Just click the below picture to download the pdf.

What to Do When an Internship Goes Virtual

Jul 29, 2020



What does it take to ace a summer internship during a pandemic? A journal, good lighting and a whole lot of humanity.

For many Cal Poly students, summer internships usually mean a chance to test their skills in a professional workplace, network with seasoned professionals and maybe even try living in a new city. But in the face of the coronavirus, these internships and co-ops are presenting a new set of challenges for future professionals to tackle.


A student sits in her bedroom in front of her open laptop.
Lauryn Westgarth interns for EY from home. Courtesy of Lauryn Westgarth.


Lauryn Westgarth, a business administration senior, is one of many Cal Poly students taking on a professional internship remotely this summer due to COVID-19. She navigates an audit internship with accounting firm EY from the comfort of her sunlit bedroom in San Luis Obispo. Each day is a mesh of Zoom calls, new tasks and professional development curriculum.

For a future accountant like her, the third-year internship is an essential step in landing a full time offer in the fall. She’s not alone: roughly 12% of Cal Poly undergraduates use internships to find employment, according to the most recent Graduate Status Report.

Cal Poly Career Services estimates that about 70% of internships are still happening despite the pandemic, outside of hard-hit industries like entertainment and tourism. The majority of internships that continued have gone virtual. And those co-ops often have abbreviated timelines — work that would have lasted two or three months is now taking place across three or four weeks.

Travis Raynaud, career counselor in Career Services, has talked to students about how to make the most of an internship that has taken such a different shape. He says the remote work format can be a plus, empowering some to broaden their network within a company.  

“Individuals who you historically wouldn’t have access to because they’re not on site, now you’re part of their network and part of their team, so it’s easier for you to have those coffee chats or virtual chats,” said Raynaud. He encourages students to conduct informational interviews to understand a professional’s career path, their work routine, and how their role has changed since stay-at-home orders were issued.

Raynaud also advises students to thoroughly document their tasks, skills and successes. A written record can help students remember specific accomplishments and better determine if they enjoyed their experience.

“When you’re on site, it’s a lot easier for your internship supervisor to see the work that you’re doing because you’re there together, but it’s a little harder virtually,” says Raynaud. “We’ve talked to students about a digital portfolio, an excel spreadsheet or just a simple journal they’re keeping, just to keep record of all the things that they’re completing.”

Westgarth, who is about half way through her condensed four-week accounting internship, is reveling in the chance to work during auditing’s “busy season” with a client that completed its fiscal year at the end of June. She connects daily with a supervisor and navigates a handful of different tasks before logging off for the evening.

“The tasks are always pretty different and involve learning something entirely new,” she Westgarth. “It's fun to see all the things I've learned about in class in real life.”

While she regrets missing her chance to live in San Francisco for the first time, she stays energized by connecting with fellow interns over lunchtime Zooms and learning directly from her supervisor.

“The individuals who most successfully navigate the transition from in person to virtual, [they] will stand out as the most adaptable and flexible, therefore the strongest candidates for full time positions,” says Raynaud.

Marisa Martineau, an architecture senior, has some advice for her fellow virtual interns. She dove into remote work creating renderings for Fougeron Architects in the spring, just after the COVID-19 pandemic emptied many offices.

Martineau landed the opportunity by reaching out the firm, where she worked last year, because she was concerned about her colleagues.

“When you’re trying to network, reach out to people not just when you need something, but to reach out and kind of check in to [maintain] that relationship,” she said. “You can show concern and show caring.”

She also advises eager students to establish strong, clear communication habits in the transition to working from a distance.  

“Work is about communication, especially now that we work virtually,” she says. “Don’t expect someone to read between the lines, and don’t read between the lines [yourself].”

She also suggests that students pay attention to their at-home work space to enhance productivity.

Alexis Cañas is a Cal Poly 2020 Great Grad

Jun 8, 2020

Alexis Cañas is one of six Great Grads from 
across the university


As she worked toward a degree in construction management at Cal Poly, Alexis Cañas had a guiding goal: to graduate debt-free. At 16, she started working in restaurants to support herself and her two younger siblings, in addition to keeping up with school and extracurricular activities. Her younger brother and sister became her motivation to succeed.

“Coming to college was a big financial burden on top of what I already had to take care of,” she said. “I had to work a lot to be able to afford to take care of my family and to be here.”

Cañas, of Indio, California, started studying civil engineering at UC Irvine, but after a year decided it wasn’t a good fit. She attended a local community college to help determine her career path. There, she visited the career services office and learned more about construction management.

“I saw Cal Poly had a great construction management program, and I learn best by doing. It seemed to be the right fit,” she said. “Now here I am a few years later and I couldn’t have picked a better major.”

While at Cal Poly, Cañas applied for numerous scholarships, year after year, to help pay for her education. She also worked as a server and had a few internships. Now, as she prepares to graduate, she has achieved her debt-free goal.

“I have a lot of people depending on me financially,” Cañas said. “Not having to worry about paying off student debt further enables me to take care of those I love.”

A first-generation student, Cañas said she faced challenges in trying to navigate the path to her degree.

“It’s difficult being a part of the LGBTQ community, a person of color and lower income. While it seemed everyone around me in my major and the industry that I’m seeking to work in was nearly the complete opposite,” Cañas said. “It can be hard to find people to relate to and have a support system.”

However, at Cal Poly, Cañas found professors who are deeply invested in their students. Construction management faculty member Andrew Kline helped Cañas apply to scholarships, guided her toward an internship that led to a job opportunity, and provided support and advice.

At Cal Poly, Cañas worked on the new William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation as an intern with Gilbane Building Company, the construction manager for the project. A groundbreaking for the Frost Center, which will house culinary, sensory, food safety and product development labs at the heart of campus, was held in June 2019.

“Being able to say I took part in constructing a new building on campus is a great achievement to me,” she said.

Cañas plans to work for Snyder Langston, an Irvine-based commercial general contracting firm. Cañas is looking forward to finishing a project she started last summer while she was an intern at the firm, and being close to her family.

“By obtaining my degree, I hope it will encourage others in my family to pursue one as well,” she said. “I may be the first one in my family, but I know I will not be the last.

Credit for this article goes to the Cal Poly Communications team. 

For more information, or to read more about the other five Great Grads, go to

CM Student Collin Martin Honored at State Capitol

Mar 6, 2020

16 Cal Poly Students to be Honored by Lawmakers at State Capitol on March 2

(Click here to read about CM student Collin Martin)

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Sixteen Cal Poly students will be recognized for their awards and other accomplishments by state lawmakers on the floors of the state Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Monday, March 2.

“Our students are doers who take pride in the creative process — building a vehicle that gets people across the country faster; creating a light-weight concrete canoe that slices through the water more efficiently; constructing a bicycle capable of setting speed records; or helping to explore the cosmos by finding — and harvesting — extraterrestrial sources of ice,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, who is accompanying the group to Sacramento.

“They are our ambassadors of Learn by Doing. They represent like-minded counterparts in all six of our colleges. Their successes, in and out of the classroom, for which they will be recognized by our lawmakers in Sacramento show that these young people are leaders ready to take on real world challenges and succeed.”

The group will be introduced to the Senate by Majority Leader Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and to the Assembly by Assemblywoman Megan Dahle, R-Bieber. Monning represents San Luis Obispo County. Dahle has a son who attends Cal Poly.

Ceremonies will be held in each chamber Monday afternoon.

The majority of the students call California home — from the Bay Area to San Diego — including Nathaniel Morgan from the Central Coast. One is from outside the Golden State —Ohio.

The nine women and seven men represent all of Cal Poly’s colleges: two from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design; three from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Services; six from the College of Engineering; one from the College of Liberal Arts; two from the College of Science and Mathematics; and a pair from the Orfalea College of Business.

Each has distinguished himself or herself, as an individual or on a team that has received a national industry award or in other high-profile events.

These include the Tournament of Roses Parade, with its worldwide TV audience of 65 million; Mustang Media, the campus newspaper, radio, TV and online outreach that earned nearly 50 state and national honors; the concrete canoe team that was runner-up in the national championship; a team of engineering students who are helping NASA look for ways to drill for water on Mars and the moon; and an interdisciplinary team that was invited to SpaceX’s competition to build a Hyperloop pod for faster personal and freight travel. 

Participating Cal Poly students are:

Mason Breipohl
Elk Grove, California
Breipohl was part of Cal Poly’s award-winning concrete canoe team that took first in final product and finished second overall at the 2019 National Concrete Canoe Competition held in Florida. As project manager, the civil engineering senior led the team efforts to design, build and race Yggdrasil, named after the tree of life in ancient Norse mythology. The canoe weighed 183 pounds — its hull thinner than the width of a dime — and measured 19.3 feet. Breipohl was also one of the four paddlers who won four of their five races at the Melbourne, Florida, event. “I am so proud of the team and everything that we accomplished this year,” he said. “We had a smaller team, so every member played a huge role. The team worked countless hours and embraced challenges along the way to continue the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Team legacy.” That legacy includes a fistful of national titles earned in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018. Breipohl, who will graduate in June, chose Cal Poly “because it has one of the top civil engineering programs in the nation, and I really liked the Learn by Doing approach.” Growing up so close to Sacramento makes it special to be part of the group that will be honored at the Capitol. “I have met so many incredible people during my time at Cal Poly and am grateful for all the opportunities and experiences the school has provided me,” the 21-year-old said.

Cami Christopher
Burbank, California
At the Southwest American College of Sports Medicine Annual Region Chapter Meeting in Costa Mesa, California, last October Christopher and two teammates won the annual quiz bowl competition — edging out the second-place team — also from Cal Poly — by a single point. In addition, the kinesiology senior, who is minoring in statistics, took the top spot in the individual undergraduate student competition. Christopher and her teammates will represent the region at the upcoming national meeting. She said she is looking forward to representing the College of Liberal Arts and the university to state lawmakers. “This is a very special and humbling experience for me,” the 21-year-old said. “The Department of Kinesiology and Public Health has given me so many incredible opportunities to develop both research and professional skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am honored to represent Cal Poly with my research and be a testament to how incredible Cal Poly is.” She was attracted to the university because of its “strong educational foundation and interdisciplinary focus,” and its Learn by Doing ethos. “It allowed me to collaborate on research projects early on in my undergraduate experience,” she said. “Cal Poly’s environment drew me in with the beautiful nature and supportive campus culture.” Christopher will graduate in June.

AJ Goldberg
Calabasas, California
Goldberg, a fourth-year business administration-marketing senior, is president of the Cal Poly chapter of the American Marketing Association, which formed in 1978 to provide those interested in the field of marketing, advertising, and sales with the tools and tips needed to launch successful careers. He was part of the chapter’s history-making effort at the 2019 AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans. For the first time Cal Poly placed among the top 15 international chapters out of the nearly 400 that attended. The ranking was the result of the chapter’s performance at the conference combined with how active the group is during the school year. Cal Poly placed third in several conference competitions: Marketing Strategy; SABRE Business Simulation; AMA Sales; and Perfect Pitch. Goldberg, who is minoring in psychology, is “extremely humbled to represent Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business in Sacramento,” the 22-year-old said. “I look forward to hearing peers and professionals share their passions, journeys and hardships, as I can learn a lot from their stories. Additionally, I know this honor represents more than just my leadership these past two years. It reflects the incredible efforts of the American Marketing Association team that proved that the college’s Marketing Department is highly esteemed and deserves to be recognized on a national scale.” He applied to the university because of its “forward-thinking business school that utilizes local businesses as clients for classes, a campus that provides ample career and wellness resources, a club life that is socially stimulating, and a beautiful backyard full of hidden gems with a vibrant town.” Living, studying and working on campus was akin to making “your own adventure book,” he said. “I was immediately attracted to the idea of creating my unique adventure in this special place. Not only has Cal Poly exceeded my high expectations, I know my continued journey is only the beginning for an even brighter future.” Goldberg will graduate in June.

Luke Haley
San Ramon, California
The Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration major was part of a five-person team that won the Professional Convention Management Association’s annual student competition. PCMA is the world’s largest platform for business events professionals. The PCMA North American Student Competition asked teams to create a convention or meeting that encourages in-person interactions for the digital era. In doing so, Haley and team created the “Home Sharing Experience Convention,” or HSX. “After doing much research, we found that within the home sharing industry, property owners often never interact with their customers or with other rental property owners,” Haley said. “HSX is a convention with the intent of providing everything that rental property owners could need to create the perfect homestay, by engaging in face-to-face conversations with other rental property owners, as well as with exhibitors who are there to help improve their rental properties.” The team followed up in January with a presentation at the association’s Convening Leaders 2020 conference in San Francisco. Haley is “super grateful” for the opportunity to showcase with state lawmakers “all the hard work that led to the PCMA North American Student Competition win. Being recognized by President Armstrong and the state of California is a great honor, and I hope to represent my department and university with pride, in Sacramento,” the 22-year-old added. The self-described legacy student chose Cal Poly because it “has done so much for my family, and it was my turn to create my own Mustang Legacy. I saw how much opportunity that my department and major could provide and knew that pursuing a degree would best prepare me for my career in the business events and hospitality industries.” Haley plans to graduate in June.

CM Brings home 10 awards from ASC Region 6 & 7

Mar 3, 2020

Back row: Skylar Shrank - Tyler Morales - Shaina Suanico - Andrew Kline (coach). Front row: Marco Reza (co-captain) - Will Myers - Avery Spector (captain) - Parker Doshier - Sophie Stewart.


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly construction management (CM) students brought home 10 awards, including six first-place trophies, in their best showing ever at the 2020 Associated Schools of Construction Region 6 and 7 Student Competition.

The Cal Poly teams earned more than twice as many awards as their nearest competitor with six first-place trophies, two second-place awards, one third-place award, and an award for best presentation at the competition, held in early February in Sparks, Nevada.

They completed against 1,540 students on 207 teams from more than 50 U.S. universities, including Arizona State University, Brigham Young University, Montana State University, Oregon State University, Purdue, the U.S. Air Force Academy, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Virginia Tech, Washington State, and others.

Cal Poly construction management students have been competing in the ASC region 6 and 7 competition since its inception in 1988. Their impressive success at the 2020 competition marks their best year yet.

“This very special achievement by our students is a testament to the success of Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology,” said Jeong Woo, Construction Management department head. “It also reflects the high-quality classroom teaching our students receive. No other CM program in the country was able to match this team record of 10 awards, including six first-place wins.”

The student teams spend months preparing for the competition, working under the guidance of faculty coaches and team sponsors, many of whom are Cal Poly alumni.

“It is a valuable learning activity,” Woo said. “The competition provides opportunities for our students to gain practical knowledge by working with their peers on the problems provided by the competition judges. This helps our students broaden their horizons and decide what they want to do after graduation.”

The six first-place teams include the Commercial, Concrete, Electrical, Heavy-Civil, Preconstruction, and Project Management teams. The Mixed-Use Team and Mechanical Team placed second, the Integrated Project Delivery Team placed third, and the Sustainability Team won the Best Presentation Award.

“Taking home first place in the ASC Commercial competition was the highlight of my Cal Poly construction management career,” said Avery Spector, captain of the Commercial team. She and teammates Parker Doshier, Marco Reza and Will Myers started preparing last May.

“As the team captain, I found it challenging to keep everyone engaged with such a long practice period,” Spector said. “With four returning team members, we worked collaboratively and with more composure this year during the competition, which is very hard when you’ve been seated at a computer for 20 hours and are watching your second sunrise in a row together.

“I am so thankful for the supportive and hardworking community that I’ve found in the Cal Poly construction management program.”

Woo also credited industry partners for maintaining close relationships with the faculty and students and providing financial support to the department.

“Our friends in industry not only provide much-needed funds for a variety of purposes,” Woo said. “They also visit campus, meet with students and help our teams succeed.”

Cal Poly’s winning teams and students are:

First Place

· Commercial Team Members: Parker Doshier, Tyler Morales, Will Myers, Marco Reza, Avery Spector (captain) and Shaina Suanico. Alternates: Skylar Schrank and Sophie Stewart. Faculty coaches Phillip Barlow and Andrew Kline.

· Concrete Solutions Team Members: Grace Brekke, Peter Finocchio, Gavin Griffin (captain), Jack Radovan, Tim Smith and Sterling Treloar. Alternates: Thomas Rogers and Jackson Thomas. Faculty coaches Bryan Knakiewicz and Daniel Knight.

· Electrical Team Members: Emily Bohannon, Giovanni Dal Canto (captain), Ryan Fiorio, Nicholas Gairaud, Andreas Rasmussen and James Ziebell. Alternates: Miriam Robles and Amanda Schrader. Faculty coaches Joseph Cleary, Tom Kommer, Paul Redden and Lonny Simonian.

· Heavy-Civil Team Members: Kyler Cruz, Ryan Nielson, Justin Reno, Tony Roberts (captain), Logan Smith and Sean Stratton. Alternates: Amanda Kaesler and Courtney Martin. Faculty coaches Edward Boucher, Bryan Knackiewicz and Paul Redden.

· Preconstruction Team Members: Gerald Charette (co-captain), Kyra Glaus, Garrett Henley, Billy Markham (co-captain), Cole Murrin and Shay O'Laughlin. Alternates: Molly Bobrovitch and Jane Runte. Faculty coaches Paul Redden, Greg Starzyk and Jeong Woo.

· Project Management Team Members: Kirk Arena, Josh De Mattei, Makenna Gitchell, Collin Martin (captain), Reagan Milligan and Alex Trujillo. Alternates: Sophie Harrington and Molly Pryde. Faculty coaches Dan Knight and Greg Starzyk.


Second Place

· Mixed Use Team Members: Adam Alvarez (captain), Jacob Clark, Sebastian Froman, Ashley Isla, Matt Langbehn and Ryan Proctor. Alternates: Keagan Coyne and Lizette Galvez. Faculty coaches Scott Kelting, Andrew Kline and Stacy Kolegraff.

· Mechanical Team Members: Howard Duong, Ramon Hernandez, Kian Kemp, Jordan King (captain), Jeremy Miller and Jonathan Rosete. Alternates: John Camacho and Carson Ernst. Faculty coaches Joseph Cleary, Paul Redden and Lonny Simonian.

Third Place

· Integrated Project Delivery Team Members: Josh Brouwer, Robbie Courtney, Karl Heuchert, Evan McCollough, Andres Nasr-Church (captain) and Jesus Pena. Alternates: Eric Cedestrom and Michael Knoechel. Faculty coaches Jason Hailer and Tom Kommer.

Best Presentation

· Sustainability Team Members: Brad Burfield, Grayson Farnham, Danielle Moody, Jonathan Ott (captain), Gannon Van Sickle and Madeleine Zetterquist. Alternates: Isabella Crafton and Hailey Lancaster. Faculty coaches Scott Kelting and Stacy Kolegraff.

About Cal Poly’s Construction Management Program:

The Construction Management Department - soon to be celebrating its 50th anniversary - is one of the most respected programs in the country. With more than 500 full-time students, it prepares graduates to lead project teams of other professionals in the completion of complex infrastructure projects. These graduates are actively recruited by more than 200 firms spanning the globe.

CM Magazine - New Edition Fall 2019

Dec 18, 2019

The latest edition of Construction Innovator is out and headed to your mailbox. If you can't wait to read it, check out the on-line edition. Just click the below picture to download the pdf.

Student Teams Place at ASC Region 3 Competition

Oct 25, 2019

Concrete Solutions, Electrical, Preconstruction, Project Management Teams




Cal Poly construction management (CM) competed in four open national categories, and placed in three, at the 2019 Associated Schools of Construction Region 3 Division Competition in Downers Grove, Illinois. The Preconstruction, and Project Solutions teams earned first-place trophies, while the Electrical team earned second at the competition, held Oct. 16-19.


"This year's victories were all the more impressive knowing that 19 of the 24 students were competing in Chicago for their very first time. This competition was entirely new to them, but they mastered it like experienced veterans."


ASC Region 3 includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The competition’s seven categories are open to ASC Region 3 schools; four categories are open to teams from any ASC-affiliated school in the nation.  


"ASC competitions are the culmination of what the construction management major is. Region 3 Chicago in particular is such a time crunch. Not only are you to apply everything you've learned through your courses and internships, but you must also do it in 14 hours,” said Preconstruction Team Captain Billy Markham. “The Preconstruction competition requires the team to submit an RFP for a project introduced the morning of [the competition]- completely new to the teams. The amount of work to be done in the short amount time forces teams to delegate and depend on their members, but at the same time work together to create a seamless finished product. Its really amazing how much work gets done when stuck in a hotel room with some determined and driven teammates for 14 hours."


For complete competition results, go to

For photos and more information about Cal Poly’s teams, go to


Rachell Smith Joins CCCE

Jun 13, 2019

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Rachell Smith has been named program manager of the California Center for Construction Education (CCCE), an educational outreach unit in Cal Poly’s Construction Management (CM) Department. 

A primary goal of the CCCE is to establish and sustain high levels of engagement with the architecture, engineering and construction industry. In her new role, Smith will serve as the connector between student studies, the construction management faculty, and industries serving the built environment.

“As the point person for the construction industry at Cal Poly, I look forward to building connections between the industry and our students in a way that is mutually beneficial,” Smith said. “I have grown up in the construction management industry — my first coloring books were literally blue prints! But most importantly, I am rooted in this industry, the SLO community, and Cal Poly.”

As a third-generation Mustang and graduate of Cal Poly with a degree in graphic design and a minor in graphic communication, Smith is familiar with the Cal Poly community. She is also the daughter of a construction management alumnus. Post-graduation, Rachell worked in advertising in San Francisco before returning to San Luis Obispo to work for a multi-media company. 

Her most recent San Luis Obispo-based position was with Collaboration Business Consulting, where she managed a portfolio of more than 500 small- to medium-sized businesses and acted as their advocate and liaison. During her tenure at Collaboration, Smith built strong relationships within the construction/manufacturing industries in San Francisco, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles. 

Smith’s strengths lie in her innate ability to build long-lasting relationships with strategic partners, community leaders and key stakeholders, and she is eager to find creative ways to bring key people together. 

"Rachell brings a wide breadth of skills to the CCCE and the CM Department that will enhance our industry connections and further student success,” said Scott Kelting, Ed.D., Cal Poly construction management professor. “We are fortunate to have Rachell on the team."

Smith can be reached at (805) 756-1723 or, and connect with her on LinkedIn:

Continue reading Rachell Smith Joins CCCE...

Spring 2019 Great Grads Featuring CM's Sherry Saroufeem

Jun 7, 2019


As a high school student in Cairo, Egypt, Sherry Saroufeem knew she wanted to study construction management. She just didn’t know where — certainly that it would be halfway across the world at a school known for Learn by Doing.

“I was very intrigued by ‘Learn by Doing,’ said the 22-year-old, who chose Cal Poly based on its reputation as “one of the top schools — if not the best school — for her major. ‘I’m a doer’ is what my Mom always says about me. I just like to do things instead of talking about it.”

Saroufeem, who was born in Iowa but raised in Egypt, plunged into campus life from orientation, from taking part in Week of Welcome in her first year to returning as a WOW leader. She also was eager to work with the campus chapter of Associated Students of Construction Management, which serves as the umbrella organization hosting activities and events for 10 campus chapters and clubs.

“My freshman year I hopped on the board,” she said. “I didn’t really have a position — I just helped out with all their events. Then, starting second year, I got a position and moved up to different positions and ultimately to president this year.”

She developed an interest in construction from her mother, an Egyptian physician who began flipping houses.

Last December, Saroufeem was part of a Habitat for Humanity Global Village team project to build three small houses in a village near Bangalore, India. Her team dug and poured foundations (by hand) for the homes.

“I wanted the capstone of my college educational experience to reflect a hands-on approach,” she said. “The project left a huge impact on my personal life and has propelled me with a greater passion for starting my career in the construction industry. I believe it is important for everyone to use their talents and education, applying it to a place where construction education is lacking and resources are minimal.”

Saroufeem also made a difference during this year’s Associated Schools of Construction regional competition, featuring a dozen categories, in Reno, Nevada. As captain, she knew that her Mixed-Use team was an underdog.

“The last time we had placed — either first, second or third — was the year before I came to Cal Poly,” she said.

The competition is based on a real-world construction project that includes “all the plans, specifications and everything,” she added, “and a binder full of problems.” Teams have just a day to estimate the project costs, all materials needed and schedule all tasks necessary from start of construction to finish.

Her team worked through the night and the next morning made its presentation to a panel of industry professionals. The result? “We won,” she said.

The skills Saroufeem honed at that competition will be put to use at her new job as a field engineer for Sundt Construction Inc. — one of the country’s largest and most respected general contractors. She begins her career in San Diego in August.

Among the takeaways she’ll bring to the job are the leadership skills she developed at Cal Poly and the professional contacts she made.

“We had companies come in every single day of the week — presenting about their companies, basically telling us, ‘Hey, do you want to work for us?’ she said. “You’re pretty much guaranteed to get a job at this point — the industry is booming. But having that opportunity to network with others and know everyone in the industry, honestly, I think it’s the best thing.”

Leaving Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo is bittersweet, however, because of “the friendships and the communities that I’ve built,” Saroufeem said.

“I moved here when I was 18,” she said. “I have a lot of family in California, but coming to San Luis Obispo I knew absolutely no one. I can say confidently that I’m leaving this place knowing that I’ve made the closest group of friends that I think is just as close-knit as my family is.”


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