Texas Tech University

Engineering Teams Win Associated Schools of Construction Competition

Amanda Bowman

March 6, 2018

Texas Tech took first place in the Heavy Civil and Design/Build categories.

Students from Texas Tech University's Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering took first place at the TEXO/Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Region 5 competition on Feb. 19.

ASC Region 5 includes schools from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Texas Tech competed against other teams from the region, including Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University, placing first in the Heavy Civil and Design/Build categories.

“I'm very proud of my students,” said Mukaddes Darwish, associate professor of civil, environmental and construction engineering and coach of the Heavy Civil team. “They worked very hard. For an educator, the best part is to see your students succeed.”

The competition took place over three days. Teams from each school received front-end documents from the sponsoring company on Saturday and had only 16 hours to complete them and finalize their bidding estimate.

“We read through the documents, and that told us what they wanted us to give them by the end of the day,” said Julio Olvera-Lopez, Heavy Civil team captain and a sophomore civil engineering major. “The set of documents at the beginning of the morning detailed what we'd be graded on for the rest of the competition and would say things like, ‘We're looking for safety challenges; quality challenges,' and so on.”

The teams worked from 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday to complete the first portion, which was worth 70 percent of their overall score. On Sunday, teams traveled to Dallas and prepared for their presentations, which accounted for the remaining 30 percent of the score. Final presentations were held on Monday, and the winners and overall best presenters were announced at the end of the day.

Nijat “Niko” Jabrayilzade, a senior construction engineering major who will graduate in May, placed second for overall best presenter in the Heavy Civil category.

“They judge all the presenters throughout the competition per category, then they name the best speakers,” Jabrayilzade said. “I was proud to be named one of them.”

For Olvera-Lopez, this year's competition was redemption from the team's performance in 2017.

“Last year was my first time doing this competition, and we didn't do well at all,” he said. “I felt like we missed a lot of points on a lot of categories. For this year, I took all the information from last year's competition, the rubric, everything that had to do with it and I started preparing last semester. I started pursuing people I wanted on this team because I wanted to make sure I had people who were committed. I think I did a good job putting together a group of people who really knew what they were doing, and they were responsible on the day of the competition, completing their tasks.”

Any disappointment from last year was wiped away when it was announced Texas Tech had won.

“For me, it became a little personal, not doing so well last year,” Olvera-Lopez said. “I felt like we had to perform well for our engineering department, and I'm proud of the results. Texas Tech swept the competition this year, and I believe that is a testament to the great things being done in our department. After we were announced the winners, we were chanting, ‘Raider! Power!' all night. It was a great feeling.”

Having the best score wasn't the only key to winning, according to Jabrayilzade.

“One of the schools competing was extremely arrogant and cocky from the first debriefing,” he said. “They thought, ‘We have the best number.' It turns out, we had the best number. We stayed humble. That was the secret.”

Coaching the Design/Build team was Ali Nejat, associate professor of civil, environmental and construction engineering.

“I believe what makes the Design/Build category unique and challenging is its integrative nature, which would require a seamless synergy among students from architecture and construction departments to come up with a constructible design,” Nejat said. “Therefore, the fact that our students were able to stand out among their highly qualified competitors attests to their high academic caliber, of which we are truly proud.”

Eduardo Ramos, team captain for the Design/Build team and a senior construction engineering major, said communicating as a team is what helped them solidify the win.

“The TEXO/ASC competition was an intense weekend of nonstop work,” Ramos said. “From the beginning of putting our request for proposal together, to the final presentation, communication was key. Our success was only possible because of our team's collaborative efforts to bring back a win to Texas Tech.”

Kristin Abrahamson, a senior interior design/architecture major, placed third for overall best presenter in the Design/Build category.

“As a first-time competitor in the TEXO/ASC Design/Build competition, I was overwhelmed not just by the magnitude of the competition itself, but also by the collaborative effort put forth by our team,” Abrahamson said. “Without persistent coordination, positive communication and an understanding of our respective roles, our final product would have lacked the merit that ultimately helped us win. I'm simply thankful I had the opportunity to be a part of this victory for Texas Tech, as it's a testimony to the quality of our education.”

Members of the Heavy Civil team include:

  • Tyler Briney, sophomore construction management major
  • Ryan Gaddy, junior construction management major
  • Christian Herrera, senior civil engineering major
  • Nijat “Niko” Jabrayilzade, senior construction engineering major
  • Komi Koko, senior construction management major
  • Julio Olvera-Lopez, sophomore civil engineering major
  • Alex Valle, junior construction engineering major

Members of the Design/Build team include:

  • Kristin Abrahamson, senior interior design/architecture major
  • Austin Bailly, junior construction engineering major
  • Daniel Carvajal, sophomore construction engineering major
  • Kaitlin Craig, senior landscape architecture major
  • Zack Mafrici, senior construction engineering major
  • Eduardo Ramos, senior construction engineering major

Texas Tech also competed in the Commercial category.

Photo Gallery - Provided by Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering


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