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November 15, 2023 Press Releases

A M King Crowns Auburn University the Winner in ASC’s 2023 Region 2 Design-Build Competition

Atlanta, GA — It was a prosciutto processing predicament at The Associated Schools of Construction’s (ASC) Region 2 Design-Build Competition last week. Ultimately the six-member team from Auburn University solved the complex puzzle posed by sponsor A M King.

This was the fourth time that A M King provided the project for the Design-Build portion of the five-part Integrated Project (IP) Delivery competition. Teams from four schools — Clemson University, University of Florida, Auburn University and Kennesaw State — took on the pseudo role of Design-Builder in constructing a new facility for Veronesi, S.p.A. Holding, Italy-based producer of cured meats. Student teams were informed that the facility should serve as the company’s U.S. headquarters and processing facility for European cured hams.

The battle began with each team receiving a congratulatory letter from A M King announcing their prequalification to bid on a new greenfield prosciutto processing facility in Harrisonburg, VA. The project scope included development of a 76-acre site in the Research Industrial Park within Rockingham County, VA.; three loading dock positions; 20 additional spaces for trailer parking/storage; and 150 employee parking spaces. Participants were thrown several curveballs related to the design of the 70,000-sf tempering, slicing, packaging, storage and shipping portion of the facility.

The greatest challenges included accommodating the Owner-provided racking and equipment – such as an Automated Storage & Retrieval System (AS/RS); developing rooms for distinct phases of the meat-curing process, each with specific temperature requirements; and coordinating clear heights and racking with the provided product-specific criteria. Approximately 3,000 sf needed to be allocated for Class A corporate office space (including a Food Safety/USDA office), employee welfare areas (including breakroom and locker room); and ancillary storage space.

Each team took this information and then developed plans to comply with the specified requirements. They communicated their plans of action to the judges through written submissions and in-person presentations.

“A M King was honored to once again sponsor the ASC Region 2 Fall Design-Build Competition,” says David Sawicki, A M King Business Unit Leader. “We continue to be blown away by students who participate in this event. They had 36 hours to provide a conceptual design, cost estimate, schedule, and a detailed explanation of their design approach. As usual, these teams rose to the occasion and delivered outstanding deliverables and presentations.”

Auburn University, the First-Place winner, included Tigers Kameron Mathews, Layla Harbison, Morgan Wiedmeyer, Rebecca Assen, Rodrigo Ortega, and Zoe Hilliard-Shepard. The team scored high marks for a stellar presentation, an on-target proposal, and social media savvy. The judges were particularly impressed with their preliminary research visit to a local food processing facility.

The University of Florida, Second Place winner, received high scores on project deliverables, specifically on budget, and presentation, including their shared roles/responsibilities and how they addressed owner key points.

The winners were announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday, November 9.

The ASC is made up of eight regions: seven regions covering the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and an international region currently with European membership. Region 2 covers eight southeastern U.S. states and Puerto Rico. The southeast region includes 28 accredited construction schools that stretch from Virginia to Florida to Mississippi.

This year, 30 teams from 15 universities competed in six categories: Design-Build, Concrete, Preconstruction, Commercial, Heavy Civil, and Shadow Competition. More than 200 students, 40 faculty, and 50 industry sponsors participated in the career fair and the student competitions that concluded with an award ceremony recognizing the top schools for each problem category.

“The ASC Region 2 met again this year in Peachtree City, GA for student construction competitions,” explained John Hildreth, PhD, PE – ASC Region 2 Director and Kimmel Distinguished Professor at Western Carolina University. “The number of students competing, and the level of the competitions continue to increase. We had nearly 300 students, faculty, and industry partners come together for competitions in six categories. The A M King team ran a fantastic Design-Build competition that challenged students to prepare a plan for a unique prosciutto processing facility. The students learn so much and greatly appreciate all the effort A M King puts into making the competition a success.”

A M King team members who participated in the competition were David Sawicki, Business Unit Leader; Catherine Knight, Design Leader; Alissa Brown, Project Manager; and Sarah Smith, Marketing Manager.

“A M King is committed to supporting and partnering with select universities in furthering design and construction education,” says Dan Crist, A M King Vice President. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the ASC sponsors, facility and students.”

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