News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu
MTSU Construction Management contact: Dr. David Hatfield, 615-898-2781 or David.Hatfield@mtsu.edu
MURFREESBORO — Following 2012’s championship, an MTSU construction management team had another top-10 finish at this year’s national competition in Las Vegas.
Led by team leader Jason Harrison, the six-member MTSU Land Development/Residential Building Construction Management team placed eighth out of 31 teams in the Jan. 22-24 International Builders’ Show.
MTSU, which won in 2007 and ’12, has nine top-10 and seven top-five finishes. Dr. David Hatfield serves as adviser and head coach, with assistance by faculty members Duane Vanhook and Dr. Douglas Chelson.
“Being a part of the residential construction management experience this year has been one of the most influential aspects of my college career,” Harrison said after the competition. “… Although initially disappointed with this year’s placement results, I am very proud of every team member and am honored to say that I was the team leader for the 2013 MTSU residential construction management team.”
In addition to Harrison, a Pittsburgh, Pa., native who lives in Murfreesboro, other team members included Brad Johnson, a Madison, Ga., native who lives in Nolensville, Tenn., Andraus Hill of Nashville, Kelvin Owens of Antioch, Tenn., Kyle Wix of Lafayette, Tenn., and Jared Newell of Nolensville.
Harrison and Johnson are the lone seniors; the others could return for the 2014 competition.
“The competition is designed to give students the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction project by completing a management project proposal,” said Hatfield, professor and head of the land development/residential building construction management and the electrical construction management concentrations.
In this year’s competition, students were given 118 acres, including an existing rock quarry, to develop on the banks of Utah Lake in Saratoga Springs, Utah. The MTSU team’s project, called The Banks at Pelican Point, was a mixed-use residential and commercial development. It included a church and a pond that replaced the quarry.
The competition was judged by a panel of four people with varied backgrounds in the construction industry who were acting as potential project investors, Hatfield said, adding that each team made a 15-minute presentation of their proposal followed by a 15-minute question and answer session. The panel determined which team had the most complete and financially viable plan.
On average, each MTSU team member spent 300-plus hours completing the project booklet, Hatfield said. The project booklet included financial figures, market analysis, sales strategy, scheduling, estimating, infrastructure/house plans, sustainability, cash flow and a management approach for the project.
“It is truly a tribute to our program and our students to perform so well at the national level,” said Dr. Walter Boles, chair of the MTSU engineering technology department.
“Our students did a great job at demonstrating their knowledge and skills in estimating, scheduling, safety, construction management, and building construction,” said Dr. Bud Fischer, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. “This competition is a valuable hands-on learning experience that allows our students to see how all of these components come together as part of a construction management project.”
Local industry leaders David L. Hughes, Mark Lee of SEC Inc. and Ross Bradley of TDK Construction applauded team members’ efforts. Hughes serves as chairman of the land development/residential building construction management concentration.
Harrison praised the coaches and industry members who help prepare the team.
MTSU’s program is affiliated with the Rutherford County Home Builders Association, Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee, Home Builders Association of Tennessee and the National Association of Home Builders.