Fall 2016 Construction Engineering Management Update

Katie WoodThe UA Construction Engineering Management emphasis gained a lot of momentum in 2016. Evidence of this can be seen in the stories below featuring:

  • Two young alumni applying their CEM education
  • Two current students attending the Women’s Construction Leadership Seminar
  • The Tangerine Road Corridor team partnership with CE 381
  • The launch of a Design-Build student chapter and competition

Wide collaboration and support made all this possible. Industry and alumni support cover annual expenses, but we are now asking contractors, consultants, alumni and friends of the department to help with creating a $5 million endowment to establish sustainable funding for the CEM emphasis.

Young Construction Alumni Speak Up

Alina VoAlina Vo is a field engineer for Hensel Phelps, working on the preconstruction phase of a project in Phoenix. To prepare for mobilization she created site plans, reviewed drawings, and performed surveying and layout. “I also had the opportunity to help in the estimating department, where professor Papajohn’s cost-estimating class helped prepare me for a real-life bid situation: calling subcontractors, performing takeoff, receiving bids, and working under a strict deadline,” she said. “I couldn’t be more thankful for my experience at the UA!”

Lissette Flores (left) and Rosa JuveraWhen she was at UA, Katie Wood envisioned a career in design, but out of curiosity enrolled in construction management in her senior year. “I discovered that I wanted to be involved in real-world, tangible applications of engineering design,” she said. “Thanks to this course I had a lot more industry opportunities and I’m happily working on a high-profile job exceeding $1 billion in project volume with Turner, one of the largest general contractors in the world. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else!”

Women in Construction

Kiewit awarded construction students scholarships to join 50 other college women interested in construction and engineering at the Women’s Construction Leadership Seminar in Omaha in September 2016. They went on a construction site visit, collaborated in teams, and heard from women leaders in the construction industry. In August 2016, Abby Davidson attended ASCE’s Construction Institute Career Days to network with colleagues and learn more about construction, and sent us this report.

New DBIA Chapter at UA

Fall 2016 saw the launch of the UA chapter of the Design-Build Institute of America. Two teams composed of civil engineering and architecture students competed in the 2016 National DBIA Student Competition and one became a regional finalist, quite an accomplishment for our first year in the competition. Student teams had 11 days to respond to an RFQ for a parking garage, recreational field and classroom space on a small liberal arts college in Tennessee. With industry feedback, students learned invaluable lessons as they prepared well-researched, professional proposals.

Tangerine Road site visit

Tangerine Road Corridor Partnership with CE 381

Borderland, Granite and the Tangerine Road Corridor Project team partnered with the class in fall 2016 to give students a realistic context for the concepts and skills they learn in CE 381: Construction Engineering Management. The collaboration, which included site visits, taught students about project plans and special provisions, CMAR procurement and delivery, QA/QC, utility coordination, VDC and scheduling.

Industry Involvement in CE 381

Fall semester industry speakers included:

  • Sean Samsul (Psomas): plan reading
  • Andrew Rogers (Granite), Tony Schiovone (Pima County), Patrick O’Kane (Town of Marana) and Ralph Banks (UA): procurement panel
  • Chris Kmetty (Markham): value engineering
  • Bob Martinez, Jesse Espinoza and the Granite team: quantity takeoff and cost estimating
  • Ray McCoy (Hensel Phelps): virtual design and construction
  • Kevin Boesch (Logan Simpson): construction activity storm water regulation
  • Joel Harris and John Sweeney (Borderland): QA/QC
  • Joel Harris (Borderland) and Andrew Rogers (Granite): utility coordination and scheduling
  • Joe Ornelas (ADOSH): construction site safety
  • Josh Marks (Rider, Levett and Bucknall): project risk

CEM students helping at Southern Arizona Construction Career Days.Fall semester site visits included:

  • Sunset Road Bridge: Borderland and Pima County
  • Bioscience Research Lab: DPR and UA
  • Mock bid: Granite
  • CEMEX: Marana facilities
  • Tangerine Road Corridor: Granite, Borderland, Marana
  • Arizona Cancer Center: Hensel Phelps and Banner

Students also made bi-weekly site observations at Tucson construction sites and presented their selected projects to the class, and they researched and wrote a report on a construction innovation of their own choosing. Reports covered topics such as drones, 3-D printing, DB, and accelerated bridge construction. As technologies develop and innovations arise, students need to be ready for life-long learning throughout their careers.

The number of construction firms at the department’s annual Civil Engineering Career Fair in October jumped from four to twelve, and students are continually telling me about internship and full-time job offers. It is exciting to see the opportunities these students have as industry recognizes the great preparation they are receiving to enter the construction industry.

Thank you for your interest, support and enthusiasm for CEM at UA.


Dean Papajohn, P.E., ENV. SP, Associate DBIA
Associate Professor of Practice
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

Jan. 16, 2017


PO Box 210072 • 1209 E. Second Street, Room 206A-1, Tucson, AZ 85721
Tel: 520.621.2266 • Fax: 520.621.2550 • ceem@engr.arizona.edu

University of Arizona College of Engineering