Competing for a Sustainable Future

Each year, competition for the best young talent in the construction industry grows. Skanska has taken an innovative approach to recruitment by partnering with the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) for its annual student competition.  Held every year in Nevada, this event attracts students from top construction and engineering schools including Oregon State, Virginia Tech, University of Washington and University of Florida.


Project Executive Pat Prendergast discusses career opportunities at Skanska with interested student. Credit: Skanska USA.

“Between 2015 and 2016,  we have hired 33 candidates for positions on the East and West Coasts whom we found at this competition,” explained Skanska HR Service Manager Shannon Carver.

The problem statements and oral prompt portions of the competition are hypothetical, based on similar challenges Skanska teams have experienced on a project. Our team of judges looks for how individual students and teams adapt to changing circumstances, expectations and stress when scoring written responses and presentations.

Skanska sponsors the only Sustainable Building and LEED problem statement in the competition, drawing on our pool of sustainable projects.

This year, the Skanska competition problem statement focused on the Transbay Transit Center project in downtown San Francisco, which Skanska is currently building. The new center will replace the existing terminal and serve as a hub for 11 bus and rail systems, encouraging the use of public transportation and providing a more convenient, sustainable alternative for the estimated 100,000 daily passengers. At five stories tall, it will incorporate sustainable design features such as a 5.4 acre rooftop park.


Senior Project Engineer Shelby Ohlund reviews student resume as they fill out Skanska’s app-based recruiting questionnaire. Credit: Skanska USA.

“I have had the opportunity to participate in and lead the problem statement team,” explained Project Manager, Dan Fredrick. “It always amazes me that the schools come back year after year saying they are excited to see how we are going to challenge them.”

The three-day event is overflowing with opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage. While students work on their problem statements and presentations, the faculty and staff interact with and learn from industry leaders. Topics of discussion have ranged from sustainability and Great Boss strategies to diversity and inclusion.

The competition is also a professional development opportunity for Skanska employees. Over the course of five months, a group of Skanska employees from across Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona collaborate to produce the written and oral problem statements and prepare to recruit and interview potential candidates for employment.

“When we are creating these problems, we hope it will help students gain an understanding and appreciation of the green building methods that the construction industry employs, specifically Skanska, in day-to-day operations,” said Project Controls Engineer Brian Thomsen. “More than that, we hope that students will look to incorporate these ideas into their daily lives outside the classroom and in their future careers.”

As Skanska prepares for the 2017 competition, the team will look for ways to integrate Envision and other green strategies into the written and oral problem statements to continue to challenge students and share our continued efforts in building what matters.

For more about the competition, check out this video from ACS:


Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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