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Undergraduate students win Associated Schools of Construction/Associated General Contractors competition


   

Pictured left to right are Stephanie Savoia, Jason Lieb, Christine Fiori, Gavin McDuff, Josh Zilke, and Vaibhav Gupta. Pictured left to right are Stephanie Savoia, Jason Lieb, Christine Fiori, Gavin McDuff, Josh Zilke, and Vaibhav Gupta.


BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 18, 2010 – A team of five Virginia Tech students from the Colleges of Architecture and Urban Studies and Engineering won first place in the 2009 Associated Schools of Construction/Associated General Contractors Region II Heavy-Civil competition in Jacksonville, Fla.

The team — Jason Lieb of Lafayette, N.J., a fourth-year construction engineering and management student in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, College of Engineering; Stephanie Savoia of Chester, N.Y., a third-year construction engineering and management student in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, College of Engineering; Josh Zilke of Winchester, Va., a second-year construction engineering and management student in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, College of Engineering; Vaibhav Gupta of New Delhi, India, a third-year construction engineering and management student in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, College of Engineering; and Gavin McDuff of Flat Rock, N.C., a fourth-year building construction student in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies — were advised by Christine Fiori, director of undergraduate programs for the Myers-Lawson School of Construction.

The student teams were given a construction problem statement at 7 a.m. on the day of the competition and had until 8 p.m. that same day to develop a solution, an estimate, and construction schedule. The teams had to consider concrete placement, traffic control, structural steel erection, bridge construction, and conventional concrete in their solution for the fictional Port Everglades Bridge project in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

After formulating their solutions, the teams had until 7:30 a.m. the next morning to prepare a presentation for Kiewit, one of North America's largest and most respected construction and mining organizations. The winning team would be able to demonstrate full knowledge of plans and specifications, problem solving, construction methods, scheduling techniques, estimating, risk management, and communication skills. “Basically, we were in a hotel room for 24 hours working on the project. We went to bed at around 4 a.m., and found out we won at the banquet that night,” said McDuff.

Fiori, of Blacksburg, received a doctorate in civil engineering, two master’s degrees in engineering geology and civil engineering, and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa.