George Brown College graduates are the first Canadians to win the CIOB Global Student Challenge
A trio of students from George Brown College (GBC) have made history being the first Canadian team to emerge as winners of the Chartered Institute of Building Global Student Challenge.
Lucas Dang, Mike Lino and Nicholas Lourenco, now construction management graduates, took on 53 other teams belonging to post-secondary institutions from around the world.
The competition, which kicked off in February 2018, saw the trio creating and managing a virtual construction company which they named, Stalwart Construction Group.
According to Blago Blagoev, a professor attached to the Angelo DelZotto school of construction management at GBC, it was based off a software developed by Loughborough University in the UK where it was designed as a teaching tool in their engineering program.
The software was recently integrated to the construction management program at GBC, which is when the building champs were exposed to this technology.
Blagoev said that the competition entailed multiple projects and a wide range of tasks, from competing for the projects, executing them, staffing and marketing.
He noted that the contest was comprised of several qualifying rounds, and with weekly submissions in the early stages of the competition, they placed in the top six. They were the only North American team to qualify in 2018 and went on to claim the title—a first for Canada.
“It’s essentially taking on four different director roles and you’re given a virtual company and trying to take it from its inception and try to build it as well as you can,” said Lino.
“You forecast and you make decisions at the beginning that ultimately decides where the company can go.”
When asked what led them to competing in this year’s CIOB Global Student Challenge, Lino indicated that it was Blagoev who introduced them to the competition, and they thought it was interesting.
The GBC team was sponsored by Clint Kissoon, the outgoing chair of the school of construction management and was supported by a group of faculty attached to the program.
“The fact that George Brown College from Canada managed to beat the school that started the software and has been using it for so long, that has something to say about the quality of students that we have here and our ability to spot such innovations and integrate them into the curriculum,” said Blagoev.
He noted that this victory will certainly put GBC on the map.
However, for Lino and his team, it was a humbling experience.
“It’s humbling to know the amount of work we put into it, it paid off,” said Lino “It was a stressful time so just knowing that we did win, all that stress was worth it.”
Lino, Lourenco and Dang have already dived into their careers in construction management, with Lino and Lourenco both being employed by Canadian companies while Dang has returned to his home country of Vietnam to work in the field.