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Boise State’s Design-Build team puts Construction Management Department on the map, taking first place in competition

After a 15-hour day spent preparing a professional business proposal with his five teammates, senior construction management major Kirk Paul fought the sleep he desperately wanted and needed. Instead, he and the team pulled an all-nighter preparing a presentation that was due at 6:30 a.m.

“We turned everything in with about five minutes to spare, running down seven flights of stairs,” Paul said. “It was hardcore parkour as ‘The Office’ would say.”


Paul was not pulling the usual procrastination technique practiced by college students. This past week the Construction Management Department sent seven teams to participate in the Associated Schools of Construction student competition in Reno, Nevada.

Each team was given a hypothetical situation in their category that they then had to devise a plan to solve. Categories ranged from commercial and design-build to mixed use and determining project risk.


Paul was part of the design-build team. Design-build is a construction process that shortens project duration because construction begins prior to the design being  completed.

“The design-build competition is unique in that the team not only has to come up with a construction proposal including cost estimate, schedule, site logistics plan, safety and quality control plans, but they are required to design a given structure from scratch,” said Keith Leonard, senior construction management major and president of Boise State’s Construction Management Association.

The design-build team was tasked with demolition and reconstruction of a 150,000- square-foot portion of a high school. Team members assumed fictitious roles such as project controls manager, design manager or chief estimator. In these roles the team then had 15-hours to prepare a professional business plan.

“Essentially, you prepare five months for a 15 hour competition window and attempt to accomplish something that most companies spend weeks or months putting together,” Leonard said. “You are intentionally given far more than you can accomplish in the allotted time frame to see how you handle the pressure.”


The team began preparing for competition in September. Aided by numerous local professionals, team members spent multiple hours a week preparing both as a team and individually.

While the 15-hour competition day was a difficult task to overcome, teammates agreed the preparation for presentation was the most daunting task.

“Five of us literally got no sleep, and in a way, it was fun staying up all night preparing our presentation,” said Joey Paul, senior construction management major with a minor in business. “It was cool because we all bought in to the scenario and were in it together. Let’s just say the coffee pot was constantly running throughout the entire day and night … and into the next day.”


In the end, it was the team’s preparedness, real work experience, ability to work together and skill sets that brought them to
number one.

“It sounds cliché saying ‘working as a team,’ but we truly did and it worked,”  Joey Paul said.

Boise State was competing against schools with construction management programs five or six times larger than theirs, and resources to match. When it came time for judgment, second and third place were announced, and the team faced the realization they would either walk away first place winners or empty-handed.


“Finally the announcement comes, ‘these guys did good’ said the judge and McCarthy representative as to put emphasis on our performance compared to others: ‘Boise State,’” Leonard said. “I honestly couldn’t believe it but I wasn’t going to argue.”

With that the design-build team achieved a goal they had set upon leaving the competition a year prior: to take first this year.

“I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to represent BSU in this great competition,” Joey Paul said. “We had set the goal a year ago to go back for the gold and it felt pretty darn good to achieve that goal.”


About Tabitha Bower (0 Articles)
Tabitha Bower is currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Arbiter. She became involved with The Arbiter after taking a News Writing class, and began by writing for both the News and Features sections as a journalist for one semester before taking a position as the Arts and Entertainment section editor. She is double majoring in English with a writing emphasis and communication with a journalism emphasis. After college she dreams of being employed in the field of journalism, traveling the world and instructing hot yoga. Tabitha is originally from a small tourist town on the coast of Maine, but has lived in multiple areas of New England, Florida, Hawaii and Okinawa, Japan. She once spent a year backpacking, scuba diving, surfing and basking in a hammock with a drink in Southeast Asia. She also has the talent of juggling school, work, looking fabulous and being super mom to her three-year-old son, Aiden.

1 Comment on Boise State’s Design-Build team puts Construction Management Department on the map, taking first place in competition

  1. Congratulations BSU! With a considerably smaller team, that shows how well you all work together. And cliches exist because they are true – and that definitely applies to teamwork!

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