OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Student engineers win top national titles

03/14/2005

CORVALLIS - A team of construction engineering management students from Oregon State University has won first-place titles in two different national competitions, marking the first time the same engineering school has won both competitions.

The student team, coached by OSU professor and Construction Education Foundation chair Greg Baker, placed first last month in the Associated Schools of Construction National Mechanical Competition in Reno, Nev., and last week won the Mechanical Contractors Association of America National Student Competition in Phoenix, Ariz.

The team won the first competition for its ability to quickly and accurately bid a major construction project in an 18-hour day, followed the next day by a formal presentation to a mock owner's panel. The second competition was a proposal for the design and construction of the mechanical facilities for a performing arts center.

"This is the first time in the history of both competitions that one engineering school has taken top honors in both competitions," said Baker, who worked for Hoffman Construction Co. as a program director before joining the OSU engineering faculty in 2002. "It's wonderful to have OSU engineering students in the national spotlight, and the back-to-back first-place finishes say a great deal about the caliber of these students and the quality of our program."

Members of the student team are captain Justin Esperance, David Wales, Brad Jenks, Chris Hill, Chris Culbertson, and Mark Rader. Travel expenses for the second competition were provided by the Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association of Oregon, southwest Washington, and northern California. Other support was provided by Temp Control Mechanical and Alliant Systems of Portland.

The Construction Engineering Management Program is part of the OSU Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, located in historic Apperson Hall. Apperson Hall will be undergoing an $8 million renovation over the next two years as part of the OSU College of Engineering initiative to achieve a top-25 national ranking among U.S. engineering programs.

This program usually has 100 percent job placement for graduates, an indication that the "work-ready" students are in high demand, Baker said. The department has also recently launched the new Master's of Business and Engineering degree program to enhance service to students and the industry by blending engineering and business.