Penn State team wins first place at 2018 NAHB Student Competition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State student chapter of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) won first place in the four-year program category of the NAHB Student Competition, formerly known as the Residential Construction Management Competition, on Jan. 10.

Fifty-four teams representing universities, colleges, high schools, and career technical schools across the United States participated in the annual competition at the 2018 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, Florida. The competition challenges student teams to solve a real-life construction management problem and develop a proposal for a residential subdivision. After developing their solutions in the fall semester, teams travel and present their work to a panel of residential construction industry executive judges at IBS during the spring semester.

The provided competition site was a 72-acre tract in Okemos, Michigan, directly outside of Lansing. The Penn State team developed a 96-page proposal for a 114-unit, single-family subdivision that included four different floorplans built to meet the gold rating from the National Green Building Standard. The proposal also included thoroughly vetted market, financial, and risk analyses and a land development plan. Requiring an interdisciplinary team of students to address the various aspects, the project team consisted of students majoring in architectural engineering, actuarial science, civil engineering, economics, finance, and risk management.

The 2017-18 team leaders and presenters included: Giuseppe Ciotti, civil engineering, as the team leader and project manager; Emma Dickson, civil engineering and economics, as the land development specialist; Drew Kreamer, architectural engineering, as the chief architect; Delaney Padgett, civil engineering, as the sustainability specialist; Chris Sukonik, risk management – real estate option, as the sales and marketing specialist; and Emily Weiland, finance and Spanish, as the financial analyst. Additional team members included: Mike Hoysan, civil engineering; Josh Kappel, architectural engineering; Lauren Lesniakowski, architectural engineering; Weiyu Peng, architectural engineering; and Phill Zeffiro, actuarial science.

Team members recognized the benefit of collaborative work across disciplines to create a thorough construction management proposal.

“The NAHB Student Competition has been the most in-depth multidisciplinary project in my academic career. Working with such a diverse set of backgrounds, our team was able to utilize everyone’s distinct skills and knowledge sets to create a superior project and bring home the gold for our school,” said Kreamer.

The student team was coached by staff of the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC): Brian Wolfgang, associate director, and Chris Hine, housing and land development specialist. The PHRC is housed in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and supports the residential construction program at Penn State.

“The success of this year’s team can be attributed to diversity of knowledge and skill sets, veteran leadership, and a determined, collaborative approach. These students are some of the brightest and most enthusiastic that we have seen at the PHRC, and they are destined to be successful in their future careers,” said Wolfgang.

Team travel support was generously provided by the Toll Brothers IBS Travel Grant, the National Housing Endowment IBS Travel Award, and the University Park Allocation Committee. The student chapter of the NAHB at Penn State has competed in the NAHB Student Competition at IBS since 2006, with the team previously winning first place in 2015.

Media Contacts: 
Last Updated January 23, 2018