Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Men of Heavy Civil

Armed with energy drinks, massive binders and enough laptops to stage a coup on Facebook headquarters, the Heavy Civil team worked through a practice problem a few weeks ago.

Freshman Cody Allison said he was looking forward to presenting in front of people who know what they're talking about. He's been working for Idaho Sand & Gravel for 9 years.

"I started right out of high school and was a foreman by 21," he said. He's hoping to advance in the field when his Boise State degree is complete, possibly in a foreign country. Maybe Australia.

While Cody did research, Junior Shane Medley was going through PDF plans and logging things into the project schedule. Junior Nick Meyer was focused on entering line item costs into a spreadsheet. And Seniors Matt Wilson and Jared "Jerry" Staub were examining the pipe work on the plans.

"We're measuring the engineers' work, trying to spot the discrepancies that might make a difference."

What he means is, the construction problems teams are given in Reno often contain elements meant to throw them off or check their level of care. Nothing is certain. Except for the team talisman that is Jerry's mullet.

"Power flows through the mullet," he joked. "There may be a ceremonial cutting at the competition."

For team captain and senior Steve Earl, the real power comes from the tightness of the group and their shared dedication to getting the job done. And that includes alternates Brack Judy, a senior, and Robert Nichol, a junior.

"We have the technical knowledge; now we need to pull it all together," Steve said.

Tomorrow, the teams hit the road for Reno. For inspiration beyond the mullet, they might remember the words of billionaire business mogul Warren Buffett, who wrote the introduction to the 125th anniversary of North American construction/engineering giant Kiewit:

Buffett said: Peter Kiewit didn't just build buildings - he built confidence and integrity. He built leadership.

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