The 32nd annual (ASC) Student Competition kicked off this week, and San Jose, CA-based Rosendin is looking to take advantage of the talent pool. As a sponsor of the Electrical Challenge section, Rosendin (formerly Rosendin Electric), is using personal experience from three employees who participated in the past as students to create “a completely different type of challenge” and hopefully find part of its future workforce in the process.

Held February 6 – 9 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, the competition attracts the best and brightest college teams from western states for an intense 3-day competition. This year 1,190 students from 53-universities were challenged to find solutions for complex construction projects and present their plan to a panel of judges.

“The ASC student competition takes a significant commitment from the students in addition to their existing coursework,” says Brandon Stephens, Rosendin division manager. “This event allows students that have the drive, to showcase their talents. From the industry side, it allows us to interact with the best and brightest that are entering our industry. For Rosendin and other specialty contractors it allows us to increase awareness to students about career paths as a subcontractor, as a lot of school curriculum is focused more on general construction rather than the specialty trades.”

Stephens participated in the ASC competition in 2003 and 2004 as a member of the team sent by Boise State University and was hired by Rosendin immediately after graduation. The other two competition judges from Rosendin also competed in the event a few years ago and now work as project managers at the company’s California offices.

Rob Clark competed with California State University, Sacramento, where his team won 2nd place in 2013 and 1st place in 2014. He accepted a job offer from Rosendin a few months later in Sacramento. Mark Stone was a team leader for California State University, Chico, which took 1st place in 2013. He started working for Rosendin that summer in San Francisco.

Because of their personal experience at the competition, the Rosendin judges know how important the event is for students. To this end they have created a unique Electrical Challenge that will “be unlike anything students have experienced before,” says Stephens, who created this year’s Electrical Challenge.

“Our intent is to challenge the student’s critical thinking and general industry knowledge with a focus on expanding the learning experience, rather than following a structured process where the winner is determined by the lowest price,” he says. “Our [Electrical Challenge] problem has a lot of areas where assumptions and decisions need to be made, so teams will be evaluated based on the best plan and approach rather than a correct answer.”

Historically, the electrical problems have focused predominantly on commercial building, which is an area that students are more familiar with as these buildings are part of their communities. But Rosendin wanted to challenge students with a real-world scenario, so they are using a data center which is not a facility that many people are familiar with, “but it is extremely relevant to the construction market of today.” The problem that students will work on during the event is consistent with the type of procurement needed for this kind of project work, says Stephens.

The competition challenge problem that Rosendin came up with was a phased data center that requires the teams to create a proposal on the second phase after finishing phase one. These teams will be required to take the phase one data that is provided, incorporate and re-estimate portions of the scope where the design has been modified, and factor in the phase one data to provide a comprehensive GMP, says Stephens.

“Additionally, the students will have to address man-loading needs/availability, as well scope gaps and contractual risk,” he says. “These are all factors we have to address with our proposals, so we added them into the challenge to give students as much of a real-life scenario as possible.”

Following the awards presentation for the competition, there was a career fair with 110 companies that are recruiting for new employees and interns. Rosendin set up a booth to continue conversations with students interested in a career or a summer internship at their corporate headquarters in San Jose. For more information on the event, visit: