MSU students place first at the National Association of Home Builders Competition

On Feb. 20, 2018, the MSU Construction Management Residential Construction Competition team took first place out of a competitive field of 37 four-year university teams from across the U.S. at the NAHB Student Competition in Las Vegas.

Image of students and faculty with the 1st place award.
The MSU Construction Management Residential Construction Competition team took first place at the National Assocation of Home Builders Student Competition. From left to right: Dan Hamilton, Jack Brierton, Danyel Zmudka, Rachael Boerma, Amanda Wakefield, Sarah Stubbe, Alex Beem, Eric Savad, and George Berghorn.

On Feb. 20, 2018, the MSU Construction Management Residential Construction Competition team took first place out of a highly competitive field of 37 four-year university teams from across the U.S. at the National Association of Home Builders Student Competition in Las Vegas.

This is the third time the competition team has placed 1st at this event, since its founding in 1994. The last time was in 2013. The team competes every year and regularly places in the top five.

The team is led by George Berghorn, PhD, assistant professor of construction management, who also received the Outstanding Educator Award at this same event.

Primary team members include School of Planning, Design and Construction junior Alex Beem, seniors Sarah Stubbe and Amanda Wakefield, and recent graduates Rachael Boerma, Jack Brierton and Dan Hamilton. Alternate members include juniors Eric Savad and Danyel Zmudka.

The team members are a part of the MSU Student Builders & Contractors Association, which also won 2nd place for the Outstanding Student Chapter Awards.

This student competition is one of the highlights of the International Builders’ Show. Their mission is to expose students to an in-depth residential construction project from concept to closing. The competition gives students an opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction company by completing a management proposal.

“The competition takes five months of the team’s hard work and focused effort. We ask a lot of them and they certainly delivered. I’m proud of their hard work and dedication, and it feels good to see them get gold,” Berghorn said.

This year, the competition required students to prepare a proposal to acquire and develop a parcel located in Coweta, Oklahoma, for residential use. During the convention, students defend their proposals to the judges in front of a large audience.

“Beyond the trophy, taking first place means that this group functioned as a strong multidisciplinary team, had a well-written 100-page proposal, and an impactful presentation. The skills they developed in teaming and communications will set them on a course for success in their careers, and this big win will be a moment they won’t soon forget,” Berghorn said.

While this is primarily a construction management competition, the Michigan State team composition also includes team members from the landscape architecture and interior design programs, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the School of Planning, Design and Construction.

“It was such an honor [to take first place]. It was the best way to end my time at MSU and meant a lot to different family members who are involved in this industry. All the hours spent in the Human Ecology [building] computer labs suddenly became worth it,” said alumna Boerma, who was a team co-leader; however, said that she feels everyone took on that leadership role at one time or another.

“Sitting with Amanda Wakefield and Sarah Stubbe, and hearing MSU’s name called for first place was a pretty incredible moment. We all couldn’t believe it and were so excited. Holding the big trophy was fun too – and the big plate of cookies they gave us.”

Along with Boerma, Hamilton (another alumnus) was the other team co-leader and said the win was an amazing feeling after taking fifth place last year.

“The hardest part of this competition is staying focused with how big and long it is. It is easy to push something onto the back burner and then forget about it. The sheer amount of work for this competition is impressive. Putting together a 100-page book is no joke,” Hamilton said.

“Being able to take home first with the team that we had and being rewarded after all of the energy put in as a team was amazing. The team put in a lot of work, and it was well deserved.”

For more information about the MSU Construction Management Residential Construction Competition team, contact George Berghorn.

Learn more about the MSU Student Builders and Contractors Association and the National Association of Home Builders Student Competition.


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