Each competing team is guided by industry experts and the UC team was advised by Fischer Homes. Greg Fischer, chairman of the home building company, encouraged students to enter the contest for the first time in 2017. In addition to supporting UC competition teams like the NAHB team and the New Builder’s Competition, Fischer Homes frequently brings on UC students as co-op employees and has hired many UC alumni.
“Residential construction is a broad industry covering many disciplines. We hire co-ops and graduates from several of the colleges at UC. We love students who are adaptable and bring energy to our company. Specifically, through UC CEAS, we have found students who want to learn, try new challenges and offer new ideas,” Fischer said.
Four of the seven UC team members have worked for Fischer Homes as part of the cooperative education (co-op) program and three of the graduating seniors will be joining the company full-time.
Nolan Conroy, real estate and international business student, was eager to put his knowledge of finance to work on the team and gain more experience relevant to the industry in which he hopes to work.
“The project was a great experience to collaborate with students from diverse backgrounds and majors," Conroy said. "Many of my projects in the business school have been mostly business-related fields. Collaborating with engineers and construction management majors really provided a sense of what to expect on real-life projects.”
Competitions are familiar territory to the students on the UC NAHB team. The Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management at UC has a very active — and frequently lauded — Construction Competition Club.
That prior competition experience — and the knowledge gained in related co-ops and classes — helped the team rise to the top.
“I think our team’s confidence and experience is what made our presentation stand out,” Leader said. “This competition is all about applying what you know, learning, and thinking critically. It gives you something to talk about during a job interview and display your passion. I want to inspire younger students to chase down that first place finish we still have on the table.”
In addition to Payne, Leader and Conroy, the team also included Michael Salzler, construction management ’21; Alexander Platt, construction management ’24; Jacob Calvert, marketing ’21; and Bryce Lane, civil engineering ’23. The team was aided by Amanda Albrecht, advisor for the UC Construction Student Association and assistant dean of academics for the College of Engineering and Applied Science.