Special Events

CMgt Quiz Bowl 2019 team

Career Fair

This event was rebranded in 2016 as the Built Environment Career Fair and expanded to include students from architecture, engineering, and interior design. It was held on October 6, 2019, in Coffman Union Great Hall, and organized by Career and Internship Services. 

Over 200 students from the University of Minnesota and ten regional Universities with Construction Management programs attended; over 70 employers participated. 

The Career Fair is a successful event that attracts increasing numbers of employers each year. The employer feedback survey generates very positive comments: 40 out of 44 responding would recommend the event. The majority were planning to interview candidates for jobs or internships, and most had collected resumes for review. Half of those responding were planning to follow up with more than five candidates as a result of the fair.

Revenue from the event is returned to participating institutions in the form of a shared dividend paid to each program’s student group. 

Career Fair Statistics

Event Statistics






Students, U of M






Students, Non-U of M






Total Students






Registered Employers






Universities Represented






Dividend Distributed







1 photo with a hammer shaped trophy, and people standing at exhibit booths

Quiz Bowl

In conjunction with the Built Environment Career Fair, the University of Minnesota hosts the annual Intercollegiate Construction Management Quiz Bowl. The event featured eight teams from seven regional institutions: Dunwoody College of Technology; Minnesota State University Moorhead; Minnesota State University, Mankato; North Dakota State University; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; University of Minnesota; University of Wisconsin-Stout.

The final saw Dunwoody Institute take on North Dakota State, with NDSU winning the trophy 10 points to 8. This was the fourth time North Dakota reached the final round. Two teams entered from the University of Minnesota, including an all women’s team. The women’s team bested the men’s team in the preliminary rounds, and reached the semifinals, losing to NDSU.

The women’s team was powered by Lauren Gray, Brinnon Kubista, Aalayha Robb, and Paige Dehmer. The men’s team included Adam Wardak, Tyler Stenzel, Mitch Johnson, and Sam Franta. 

Questions were provided and reviewed by faculty from competing schools. The event is judged by industry sponsors, this year by Sarah Paul, Jin Youjun, Paul Kolias*, Jeff Dzurik, Paris Otremba, Huldah Gronvall, Ted Lentz, Jon Willemssen*, Jeff Clark*, Ann Cerney, Wayde Johnson, Leo Draveling, Kelly Hovde, Aaron Blazich, Paul Oelze, Tom Meyers, Joe Pritzkow, Craig Hohensee*, Josh Doherty, David Meyers*, Bill Beckfeld Jr., and Travis Melquist.

* Alumni

2019 Quiz Bowl Teams from University of Minnesota

Women’s semifinalist team (pictured at top): Paige Dehmer, Aalayha Robb, Brinnon Kubista, Lauren Gray 

Men’s team (pictured at top): Mitch Johnson, Sam Franta, Adam Wardak, and Tyler Stenzel

The National Association of Homebuilders Four-Year Program National Competition

In 2020, for the second time, a team of students from the Construction Management Program entered the prestigious National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) competition.  Teams submit a management proposal, on a large residential development project, in December, and present their recommendations to a jury of construction company executives at the NAHB Conference in January.  The project submission also serves as an approved capstone project, that students can count towards their coursework completion. 

These projects typically require conception of a site development plan, presentation of a variety of unit types, a completed economic proforma, along with total project cost, scheduling development and a marketing plan. It is one of the tougher, more highly competitive competitions in the country for residential programs.

To provide a twist we again collaborated with a Health Services Management student: Ms. Kendra O’Brien was elected captain of this team and guided the project goals of an aging-in-place senior living community in Utah. Team participants included Michael Boerst, Mitchell Johnson, Trenton Rops, Joseph Wuestenhagen, and Tyler Stenzel. It was cited by one judge for its uniqueness of approach, above all other entries, by bringing the aging-in-place approach. And the quality of the final presentation, both oral and written, was also cited by the judges.

students standing in line at a microphone in front of a projector presentation

Photo: Presenting to the judges panel in Las Vegas


Though the team placed 24th out of 40+ teams, many teams host a course specifically for this competition, while this team works in their spare time to complete the entry. This team had guidance and financial assistance to underwrite $5,000 in travel expenses from various mentors: Cory Schubert and Ken Braun (Big-D Construction), Dean Soderbeck (Soderbeck Design and Construction), Rajean Moone (Director, Long Term Care Program, CCAPS), Morgan Holien (Trillium Woods Senior Living Community), Jeremiah Cunningham (alum and former NAHB contestant), Paul Kolias and others (alum, Doran Construction), and Ben Terry (alum, Ryan Construction).

Note: Previously the University of Minnesota won Rookie of the Year Award by placing 14th at the 2016 competition, our first time entering this competition.

The Pentathlon Soft Skills Competition

Construct*ium hosts a Spring Leadership Academy that also includes the Soft Skills competition—formerly entitled the Pentathlon—consisting of five soft skills competitions. The Minnesota Construction Association now plans to host this event every two years; because of COVID, it was not planned to be hosted this spring. However, the Pursuit Competition, always a part of this event, was held separately and for the first time, virtually, with record attendance from all the regional participating schools (except Northern Iowa who had to bow out for COVID challenges). 


Students giving the thumbs up on a grid of photos on virtual call

Photo: The University of Minnesota team Gabel Construction presented their proposal for the IBEW Building.

(top, L to R): Joseph Harpel, Peter Hilger (as observer on Zoom), Richard Nelson

(middle, L to R): Lauren Gray, Yuxin Xiao, Brendan Ward

(bottom): Amanda Yager 

The Pursuit Competition

Sponsored by Ryan Companies, the Pursuit is a capstone-level competition judged by an industry panel. Ryan Construction provides information on one of their buildings: schedules, costs, and technical details of plans, as well as staff support, and the students use these to create a proposal, hoping to “win” a contract much like in real life. Nine universities that teach Construction Management—Wisconsin Stout, Minnesota State Moorhead, South Dakota State, North Dakota State, Wisconsin Stout, St. Cloud State, Dunwoody, University of Northern Iowa (could not compete this year), and the University of Minnesota—participate in this competition, each sending one team to compete. In any given year, up to 250 students may be involved in the competition. Initially an informal event started by the University of Minnesota in 2014, the Pursuit Competition became a regional fixture in 2016. This year the U of M team brought the Pursuit Traveling Trophy home for their third time, not counting an informal win in 2015.

Final Four: The Golden Pen Award

The Golden Pen is an annual event, now in its 12th year, in the CMGT 4041W Specifications and Technical Writing for Construction Professionals course. Student teams compete by writing a design build proposal for the Shoreview Library, hoping to land one of four finalist spots for the opportunity to present their proposal before the “Building Committee” of industry constituents comprising contractors, developers, bankers, public relations personnel, and IT experts. This committee then selects a winning team, whose names are etched into a permanent trophy plaque.

For AY 2019−20 the winning team was Gray Construction with the team of Lauren Gray*. Normally, teams are limited to two or occasionally three people, but Gray Construction, piloted by Lauren Gray, had participation challenges late in the competition, and opted to go solo. Finalists included Blue Hammer Construction (Aalayha Robb, Marland Stanley); KB Construction (Karli Schmitt and Brinnon Kubista); and MINCON LLC (Paige Dehmer, Chris Schieffer, Adam Wardak, and Tyler Stenzel).


staff and students faces on a zoom call

Photo: Participating judges (top, L to R): Mary McNellis, Peter Hilger (moderator), Rich Freyholtz

(middle, L to R): Jeremiah Cunningham (alum and previous winner), Bill Bartolic, Scott Evenson

(bottom, L to R): David Bergstrom and competition winner, Lauren Gray 

* Footnote to the competitions: A special shout-out to Lauren Gray, who in the afternoon had presented, and won, the Pursuit Competition, then within only a few hours competed in the Final Four and won. A significant accomplishment! Note as well that her team was the semifinalist in the Quiz Bowl. A graduate in spring 2020, she is now pursuing her master’s in Public Policy at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.

Guest Speakers

During the academic year, program faculty invite professionals from varied areas of industry to attend class as guest lecturers and judge student presentations or participate through videotaped lectures and interviews. This helps students gain a broader perspective of the field, providing value-added experience to the classroom. The following are some of the guest speakers hosted in Construction Management classes during the 2017−18 academic year. Thank you to our industry speakers!

CMGT Guest Speakers 2019−20




Speaker Affiliation

ABUS 4013W


Terrance Newby

Intellectual property law (video)

Maslon law firm

Holly Robbins

Employment Law and HR (video)

Littler Mendelson law firm

ABUS 4217

Robert Lux

Project Development (Video)

Alatus LLC

Jon Mowbray

Real Estate Dispute Resolution (video)

IBB Solicitors

Joy Nazarri

Branding Places

DN & Co

Brian Schaffer

City Planning (Video)

Principal Planner, City of Minneapolis

Pete Vorbrich

Real Estate Investment (Video)

CFO at CarVal Investors

CMGT 3001W

Bob Rawell

General Conditions, Overhead, and Profit

AutoBuilders General Contracting Services

CMGT 4041W

Jeff Callinan

State Capitol Restoration Competition Discussion

JE Dunn Construction

Scott Evenson

Final Four Judge

U of MN Capital Planning

David Bergstrom

Final Four Judge 

Wellington Management

Rich Freyholtz

Final Four Judge

US Bank, IT Systems (Retired)

Bill Bartolic

Final Four Judge

BCI Builders, Retired

Mary McNellis

Final Four Judge

Real Estate Developer

CMGT 4213

FF&E Dealer

Guest Speaker

Fluid Interiors

CMGT 4562

Dwight Benoy

Exterior Wall Design

Inspec, Inc. Engineers/Architects (Chief Forensic Engineer)

Gary Patrick

Low-slope Roof Design

Inspec, Inc. Engineers/Architects (Executive VP)

Richard Stone

Flashing Details and Water Management

Sawtooth Ridge Woodcraft

CMGT 4861

William Bartolic

Case Study and Judge

BCI Builders

Paris Otremba

HR Case Studies

Adolfsen & Peterson

Zaylore Stout

HR Case Studies


Megan Seltz

HR Case Studies

Academic Advisor

Gen McJilton

Judge (Alumna)

Target Corporation

Dan Ilten


PCL Construction, Retired

Steve Day


J. L. Sullivan Construction

Site Visits

Faculty also lead site visits and field trips to further enhance the student learning experience and bring sites into the classroom via site videos. The following are some of the sites that hosted visits by a Construction Management class during the 2016−17 academic year and site videos shown in class. With thanks to our industry partners.

Site Visits and Site Videos, Fall 2018−Summer 2019



Delivery Method

ABUS 4013W

Eureka Mills Superfund Site


CMGT 3001W

35W Crosstown construction


CMGT 4022

Super Bridge video


CMGT 4081

Pioneer Hall construction project

Site Visit

CMGT 4545

Braun Intertec, Bloomington

Testing Lab Tour

Ruttan Hall

Tour of Structural Components

Raptor Center

Tour of Structural Components

CMGT 4213

Target Center, Minneapolis

Building Tour