Campus: Sonoma State University -- May 19, 2003

Construction Management Students Shine in Contests; Result: Employers Show Increased Interest

The economy might be slowing, but some recent national recognition seems to be paying off for Cal Poly construction management students.

The Construction Management Department is seeing a spike in interest from companies
-- particularly homebuilders -- who want to interview its graduating students. It appears to be at least partly the result of good showings by department teams in national and regional student competitions earlier this year.

In January a student team placed second -- Cal Poly's best finish ever -- in a national competition sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"When the construction management team placed second in the NAHB residential homebuilding competition in Las Vegas, it provided us a heightened awareness of the caliber of the construction management students and spoke volumes for the program and the instructors at Cal Poly," said John M. Drew, Orange County-based director of construction for Pulte Homes, one of the largest homebuilders in the United States.

"As a judge at the competition in Las Vegas," Drew said, "I was exposed to the high caliber of the team. We admire the solid residential homebuilding program in the Construction Management Department, and it's created a lot of excitement in my division."

Headquartered in Detroit, Pulte Homes is a Fortune 500 company operating in 40 markets throughout the United States and in Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico. It is one of six firms expected to be recruiting specifically for construction management majors Friday in the second day of the annual Springboard Job Fair organized by Cal Poly's Career Services department.

"Our construction division typically recruits construction management, planning, architecture, architectural engineering and civil engineering students at Cal Poly," Drew said. "This year, because of our experience with the construction management program, we have more than tripled our recruitment team from three to 10 members. Alongside the construction
recruiters at the Job Fair will also be members of our land development, planning, sales, marketing and financial departments. We will have Pulte Homes reps coming to campus from multiple divisions from both the northern and southern areas of the state."

"Immediately after the Las Vegas competition," said Professor Barbara Jackson, advisor to Cal Poly's NAHB student chapter, "the two largest homebuilders in the United States set up recruiting trips to the campus. By winning second place in that very competitive, prestigious residential construction competition, Cal Poly made its mark and opened the door for real opportunities. To go from virtually a non-contender to a top contender in only three years is an amazing accomplishment, and one that is being recognized by the multi-billion-dollar residential construction industry."

"Contrary to the economy," said Construction Management Department Head Al Hauck, "over the last five years the number of companies recruiting construction management students on campus has steadily risen to more than 200 firms."

Besides taking second place in the NAHB contest in Las Vegas, Construction Management Department student teams earlier this year placed second overall nationally as an NAHB student chapter and won third in an Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) regional design-build competition in Reno.

Jackson also credits the local homebuilders group with providing crucial help to the student teams.

“The ongoing support of the local Home Builders Association of the Central Coast has made it possible for the Cal Poly NAHB Student Chapter to do so well in these student competitions,” she said.

Contact: Ray Ladd, (805) 756-7432,

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