Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State students win award at conference competition

November 28, 2011

A team of six Indiana State University students has won an award for planning a simulated construction project.

The students, who were all construction management majors, won third place in the heavy civil construction category of a competition at the Associated Schools of Construction Region III Student Competition and Conference in Downers Grove, Ill., near Chicago. The ISU team competed against groups from eight other universities in the event, which required them to estimate, plan and schedule a $7.5 million construction project based on an identical endeavor undertaken by Kiewit, a construction firm that sponsored the contest in the heavy civil construction category.

"Having a team come in the top three shows that the classroom content that our students are receiving is what the industry is looking for," said Bradford Sims, dean of the College of Technology at ISU. "It shows that our students can walk out of here in four years with a successful career in construction management."

The group consisted of captain Matt Wilson, a senior from Bloomfield; Rochelle Skaggs, a freshman from Center Point; Kyle Giesler, a junior from Ferdinand; Keaton Turner, a senior from Bloomington; Zach Tylka, a senior from Robinson, Ill.; and Dayne Goodman, a senior from Worthington.

The students received the specifications of the construction project, along with the rules of the competition. They then were sequestered in a hotel room for 16 hours during two days to work on the project without discussion with anyone outside of the team. Even professors who joined the ISU students on the trip could not speak with them.

"We never really had anything to do with coaching them," said Donald McNabb, an instructor in the department of the built environment who joined students to the competition. "All the coaching would have been prior to this meeting."

Based on the specifications, the ISU team had to them measure and estimate various elements of the project, which was essentially a section of a large security wall. The ISU team estimated the same amount of concrete that Kiewit used on the project, which McNabb said is very difficult to do.

Indiana State sent three teams to the competition, which included five different contests that teams could enter.

"So they all gained a great deal of real-world experience that they can put on their resumes...," Sims said. "It's a really good deal for the students, regardless if they win or not ... and so the other teams should not feel bad if they didn't place first, second or third, because while it's a lot of work, it's really worthwhile, and the exposure to companies that will hire them is priceless."

Bradford Sims (left), dean of the College of Technology at Indiana State University, stands with students Matt Wilson, Keaton Turner, Rochelle Skaggs, Zachary Tylka, Dayne Goodman, Kyle Giesler and professor Jerold Stegeman. The students placed third in the heavy civil construction category of the Associated Schools of Construction Region III Student Competition and Conference in Downers Grove, Ill.

Contact: Bradford Sims, dean, College of Technology, Indiana State University, 812-237-3166 or