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Whether online or in person, colleges and universities around the country are starting classes. And it’s this time of year when the Roofing Alliance shares information about their annual roofing competition for students at the college and university level. Two men, Kyle Thomas, current president of the Roofing Alliance and past chair of the student competition, along with Dennis Conway, a Roofing Alliance member and former National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) chairman, had the vision of contractors collaborating with construction schools as a way to bring qualified workers into the roofing industry. This vision has since turned into a successful and competitive event.
One of the leading construction management schools in the country is the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M. In February of 2020, the department sent a team of students to compete in the 2020 Roofing Alliance Student Competition. The students showcased their knowledge, preparation and talent, ultimately winning this year's student competition.
2020 marked the sixth year for the construction management student competition, presented by the Roofing Alliance, and it also marked the first year Texas A&M participated in the competition and won first place.
“Two goals of the partnership between the Roofing Alliance and construction management schools are to raise awareness of the roofing industry by developing roofing-related curriculum that can be incorporated into existing construction management undergraduate degree programs and by encouraging students to consider career opportunities,” explained Kyle Thomas of Thomas Roofing and Roofing Alliance president.
For their first year competing, the team from Texas A&M demonstrated their roofing knowledge and in-depth understanding of their proposal, ultimately winning first place. They were one of five finalist teams chosen to travel to the International Roofing Expo® in Dallas this past February to present their proposal to a panel of judges, similarly to how they would present to the general contractor for the project.
The construction management student competition tests students’ roofing knowledge, project management skills and presentation abilities. This year, the teams were required to submit a qualified bid package for installing a new roof system on the Ford Center, which serves as the indoor practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys football team.
“The teams researched the project, reviewed the plans and specifications, and assembled a full estimate and qualified package proposal that was submitted to a board of Roofing Alliance judges,” according to Thomas.
After each teams’ presentation and a 10-minute question and answer session, the judges determined Texas A&M to be the winning team for the 2020 student competition. What set Texas A&M apart from the other teams was their comprehensive understanding of their project, their well-prepared presentation, and their thorough responses to the judge’s questions. “Their oral presentation scores combined with their written proposal scores determined their first-place position,” shared Thomas. The team received a trophy, a $5,000 L.B. Conway scholarship for their school, as well as individual team member trophies.
The Texas A&M team consisted of four team members and an alternate. They also had a faculty advisor and a team mentor. Mentors must be either a Roofing Alliance or a National Roofing Contractors Association member. Lance Simms, senior lecturer for the Department of Construction Science, served as Texas A&M’s faculty advisor. The team mentor for Texas A&M was Mark Standifer from King of Texas Roofing Company LP in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The team captain, Tyler Stivers, is earning his Bachelor of Science in Construction Science. Tyler served in the United States Navy from 2010-2018. During his service, he was the lead technician in Yokosuka, Japan, a front-line supervisor in San Diego, California and a manager at Whidbey Island, Washington. More recently, in 2019, Tyler was an intern/laborer at Doppelmayr Construction in Salt Lake City, Utah for three months. He assisted the construction manager in the removal and replacement of ski lifts; completed demolition, surveying, concrete, steel erection, and system installation; and scheduled deliveries, pump trucks, cranes and helicopters.
Kyler Hardison is a skilled welder. Since 2017, Kyler has worked summers at T & D Marine Services as a welder and an outboard motor mechanic. His ability to weld stainless steel, aluminum, and carbon steel saved the company time and money since they did not have to send those jobs out of the shop. Kyler is certified in shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) in conformance with the requirements of the American Welding Society D.1/D1.1M structural welding code steel.
From 2010-2018, Erbey Hernandez served in the United States Marine Corps. During his service he was a section leader for four years and a project supervisor for four years at Camp Pendleton, California. He is a member of the Associated General Contractors and the Aggie Veteran Network, both at Texas A&M. His skills include structural welding, with knowledge in gas metal arc, flux core and shielded metal arc processes. Erbey is fluent in Spanish, has completed the OSHA 10-hour construction certification, and has completed level one of LEAN Continuous Improvement.
Collin Rosser is earning his degree in construction science with a minor in business. He is skilled in AutoCAD and Fusion 360 and has completed the 10-hour OSHA certification and certification for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Collin has worked as a dining room server for Arbor Company and a tunnel controller for Whitewalls Car Wash, both in Texas. He is involved with Young Life, currently serving as a leader.
The team's alternate, Austin Davis, served as a Petty Officer Third Class/Electrician’s Mate in the U.S. Coast Guard from 2012-2017. He is earning his major in University Studies Architecture, which is an individualized degree plan at Texas A&M through the College of Architecture. He is also receiving minors in leadership in the design and construction professions and in business and intends to continue his education post-graduation and pursue a master’s degree in construction management.
The students on the Texas A&M team are all pursuing their degrees through the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This department is dedicated to preparing students to be future professional leaders and is one of the most recognized and respected programs in the country. The Zachry Department promotes academic excellence, problem solving and civic mindedness. Professionals in all facets of the civil engineering industry, both in the public and private sectors, seek civil engineers graduating from Texas A&M.
With a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, students are equipped to succeed in the ever-changing, competitive workforce. Graduates have the opportunity to work in the private industry, at consulting firms or construction sites, or for governmental agencies.
Within the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is Texas A&M’s Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program. This is one of nine specialties offered through the department. While in this program, students develop “knowledge, tools, and methods that can add value to construction projects and organizations with a focus on risk management,” Texas A&M shares. The CEM program helps students develop risk management skills, providing them with a “foundation for modeling, quantifying and mitigating those risks,” Texas A&M shares.
Students can participate in leading edge research. Some of their research specialties include project management, process modeling, stochastic simulation, service-life prediction and life-cycle costing, and information technologies. Exposure to this research allows students to “position themselves to make enormous differences in for-profit, government and non-profit development organizations,” according to Texas A&M.
Coursework is designed to reveal the fundamentals of construction engineering and project management to students. The Construction Engineering and Management track is ideal for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the construction industry and blends multiple components— principles of basic science, engineering, technology and business coursework— to set them up for success in the industry. Students also take capstone design courses that provide them with opportunities to apply what they have learned in their classes to projects and situations they will encounter during their professional careers, similarly to the Roofing Alliance Construction Management Student Competition.
Texas A&M offers additional degree options in the Construction Engineering and Management specialty for those interested in furthering their education even more. Students can earn a Master of Science, Master in Engineering, or Doctor of Philosophy degree in civil engineering, all through the Zachry Department.
Ranked as one of the top-10 in the nation, the Texas A&M graduate program is one of the largest in the country. There are more than 70 professors in civil and environmental engineering and over 440 graduate students. “Award-winning faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and the resources of one of the nation’s largest research universities combine to make this a great environment for learning and discovery,” according to Texas A&M.
The Roofing Alliance’s student competition provides these aspiring construction professionals with a real-world application to what they are studying at the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Participants learn the value of teamwork, how to put together a qualified bid package for a roof system and how to present themselves to a panel of judges. Although it was their first time competing, the Texas A&M team excelled in their written proposal and their oral presentation, earning the first-place title. The student competition is the perfect opportunity for students studying building construction to put their knowledge into practice and prepare for their professional careers post-graduation.For more information on the student competition, plus information about the Roofing Alliance, contact Bennett Judson, the Roofing Alliance’s executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.roofingalliance.net.