College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Design-Build Institute of America team wins third consecutive regional competition

Student competition team places first, “expands horizons” after design-build experience

Members of the 2016 ISU DBIA student competition team (Photo by Jennifer Shane)
Members of the 2016 ISU DBIA student competition team (Photo by Jennifer Shane)

When it comes to career opportunities, experience and networking are crucial. That’s why Lauren Bennett is a member of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA).

“Employers see it on my resume, and they ask about it,” Bennett said of her involvement in the student chapter of DBIA at Iowa State University (ISU).

ISU’s DBIA competition team, which is made up of members from the ISU DBIA student chapter, was the finalist in this fall’s Midwest regional competition of the National DBIA Student Competition. The competition requires every team to submit a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a campus development project based in the United States. Submitted RFQs have to meet specific requirements for budget, square footage, and space needs.

To add a level of difficulty, the entire submission process is condensed to about a month’s time. At the end, judges evaluate teams based on delivery solutions and team collaboration. It is the third time that ISU has scooped up the regional title. This year, the team went on to place fifth nationally.

Associate Professor Jennifer Shane is the faculty advisor to the student organization. The competition is an opportunity for students from different disciplines to work together.

“That’s what they’re going to have to do in real life,” Shane said, explaining how the competition mirrors the working relationships between engineers and architects. “It’s multi-disciplinary.”

Zach Thielen can speak to that multi-disciplinary experience.

“It offers different perspectives on subjects,” Thielen, a senior studying architecture, said of the competition. “It also expands the horizons of a group’s capabilities, when everyone brings something different to the table.”

Bennett, who is a college senior in construction engineering, has been a member of ISU DBIA since her freshman year. She even credits an internship at Ryan Companies in part to her involvement in DBIA and its annual competition.

“Just to have that experience writing the proposal, figuring out what makes a qualified project team and how those players work together has really been good for me,” Bennett said.

And Shane hopes even more students will be prompted to join in on DBIA’s opportunities.

“I think it’s an awesome learning experience for them,” Shane said. “It simulates their after-school careers. So go out and try it!”

Interested in ISU DBIA? Check out the student organization’s website. For more information on meeting times, events and involvement, contact Lauren Bennett. And make sure to follow ISU CCEE on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (Iowa State University Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering and ISUConE) for updates on student organization news.