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Clarkson Construction Management Gets Top Place Finish, Earns Trip To Nationals In Las Vegas

[A photograph of the team is available for newspaper use at]

Clarkson University’s Construction Management Team took top-place finishes at the Associated Schools of Construction Region One Construction Management Competition held recently in Fairfield, N.J. Competing against nine other university teams, the Clarkson students finished in first place in the commercial building division.

As a regional winner, Clarkson’s Construction Management Team’s Commercial Building Group received $2,000 and qualifies to participate in the national competition that will be held in Las Vegas next March. Clarkson’s Heavy/Highway Team also placed well. This is the third year in a row the Construction Management Team has received a top-place finish and qualified for national

“The Clarkson students performed exceptionally, demonstrating an understanding of their projects and a willingness to find creative solutions and work within the guidelines issued,” said team co-advisor Randy Pray, a project manager for Murnane Building Contractors and Clarkson alumnus.

“Both teams handled themselves with confidence and professionalism.  The Commercial Building Group, in particular, submitted a solid written proposal and delivered a very memorable oral presentation.  The lessons learned on these interdisciplinary teams will serve these students for years to come."

The Construction Management Competition provides students with an opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to realistic construction management situations. Students are given real-life projects submitted by industry, and must develop schedules and proposals for construction, submit estimates of costs and quantities, and give oral and written presentations to a panel of professionals from the construction management industry.

At this year’s competition, the commercial building team had to plan and manage the construction of a 200,000 square-foot Middle School on an existing school site, taking into account that the work site is adjacent to an occupied school facility and includes ball fields, hills and old-growth trees.  The steel frame structure with brick and glass exterior also includes a gymnasium and a 643-seat auditorium with balcony.

Winning members of the Clarkson Construction Management Team include: seniors Joshua Arnold of Keeseville, N.Y.; Beth Davis of Marshfield, Vt.; and Thomas Owens of Albany, N.Y.; and juniors Laura Blood of Webster, N.Y.; Byron Raych of Fort Edward, N.Y.; and Elizabeth Schaefer of Buffalo, N.Y.

The team was also supervised by Spencer Thew, adjunct assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson and president of Atlantic Testing Laboratories.

Murnane Building Contractors has been a sponsor of the team at Clarkson, providing financial and professional assistance, since its inception seven years ago. The team also receives support from the New York State Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America and the Clarkson University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Construction Management Team is part of Clarkson University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program, which promotes multidisciplinary project-based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. SPEED projects involve engineering design and analysis, fabrication and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communication skills. The SPEED program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter’s School of Engineering hallmark initiatives promoting the “Vision of a Clarkson Education” through experiential learning by hands-on application of academic theory to real-world problems.

SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, the General Electric Fund and Procter & Gamble. SPEED was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Members of Clarkson University’s Construction Management Team after winning a regional competition held recently in New Jersey. The team now qualifies for the national competition to be held in Las Vegas in March. (L to R):  Team co-advisor and project manager for Murnane Building Contractors Randy Pray, Clarkson students Elizabeth Schaefer, Byron Raych, Laura Blood, Thomas Owens, Beth Davis, and Joshua Arnold, and team co-advisor Spencer Thew, adjunct assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson and president of Atlantic Testing Laboratories.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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