March 12, 2013

Kuhlmann awarded NAHB Student Chapters Outstanding Student Award

Eight members of the LSU Construction Student Association started the semester by taking a trip to Las Vegas, Nev., to attend the 2013 International Builders’ Show and compete in the National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters Residential Construction Management Competition, or RCMC.

RCMC requires students to complete a management project using practical application of skills learned in the classroom. Beginning in October, construction management students Klint Robertson, Justin Kinchen, Mickey Cheramie, Albert Hebert, Randy Mace, Bryan Wesley, Chris Pinell and Jace Kuhlmann began working on what would become a four-month endeavor. The group was required to draft a business proposal for a neighborhood based on certain guidelines provided by NAHB, including demographics, location (Saratoga Springs, Utah) and other obstacles to take into consideration.

Students took the role of residential developer and started from scratch. They created a mock business with a name, mission statement, financial characteristics and work experience. They then extensively researched the location to figure out what kind of residences to build, such as town houses versus disconnected homes. They mapped out the size of the homes for the neighborhood, amenities, the layout of the neighborhood and figured out what steps to take to ensure that the neighborhood would be LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). To gain LEED certification, they had to ensure that the houses were “green” houses and were environmentally-friendly. 

The group then transferred their designs to the computer where they could virtually tour the house models and put together a booklet to present at the conference. Robertson, Kinchen, Cheramie, Hebert, Mace and Wesley presented to a panel of construction company executives who acted as investors for their project. The team essentially had to sell their idea to the panel of investors.

Construction management senior and CSA president Bryan Wesley participated in the competition for the third time this year. He said that he learned valuable skills about presenting projects and yourself to investors and the amount of preparation involved in a major project like this.

“It’s kind of the real deal,” Wesley said. “You sell yourself in the presentation. Like in real life, presentation is the key.” 

The team put in about five hours a week to work on the project and even spent their winter break finishing it.

“Where a lot of students from other schools use this project as their Capstone class, LSU does it voluntarily,” Wesley said.

Beginning in the fall 2011, the project was offered as an elective, but prior to that, it was entirely voluntary. In fall 2013, students will be required to register for the class to participate in the project.

While the group gained valuable presentation skills and real-world experience at the conference, construction management student Jace Kuhlmann received the “Outstanding Student” award at the conference. The award is based on GPA, involvement in the local student chapter, involvement with the local home builders association and interest in pursuing a residential building career. Students are selected by their chapter’s faculty advisor and awarded a certificate and gift card from HBI.

“HBI congratulates the Outstanding Student Chapter Award winners,” said John Courson, president and CEO of HBI. “They are among the finest in construction management education today and bode well for the building industry’s future.”  

The project team members are looking forward to next year’s conference.

“We want to continue to go,” Wesley said. “I want to go back next year so I can continue to improve.”  


Article written by Elise Bernard, communications intern. For more information, contact Cassie Thibeaux, College of Engineering, or (225) 578-0092. 

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