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Race To Build: Neumann Intern and Team Compete for a Cause

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Gavin Scroggin is a Sophomore Construction Engineering student at Iowa State University. From January to August of 2017 he is working as a Project Management Intern with Neumann Brothers. During his internship he has had two opportunities to utilize his construction and Project Management experience to help those in need with trips to South Carolina and most recently Bristol, TN. 

by Gavin Scroggin

I think giving back to a community is the greatest gift someone can give. Knowing that the skills I’m gaining, through my internship [with Neumann Brothers] and my time at Iowa State, allow me to help others is really gratifying. 

I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to assist families in need on two occasions in the past month, each time with other ISU AGC Student Chapter members (Iowa State University Associated General Contractors). The first trip was to Charleston, South Carolina where we fixed up a home that had been damaged due to natural disasters. The second trip, we visited Bristol, TN where we competed in the Appalachia Service Project’s (ASP) “Race to Build.”

Above: Home that Gavin and the ISU AGC Student Chapter built.

The 2nd Annual Race to Build competition was held outside the Bristol Motor Speedway and kicked off a few days before the NASCAR race. Our team competed against the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech to see which team could build a house the quickest. Safety was a major component. We had to follow proper construction safety methods and ensure each house was built safe and sound for the families who would move in and make these houses their homes. 

Thanks to my previous experience as a residential framer and my work alongside Neumann’s Berry Reeves (Project Manager) and Tom Moore (Superintendent), I was asked to assist in a management type role for the competition. I showed other team members how to complete the tasks they weren’t familiar with and helped to keep everyone busy and on schedule. We framed walls, set trusses, applied house wrap, set windows and doors, applied fascia, and installed vinyl siding – we were busy!

ISU ACG Student Chapter poses with ASP Cup

Above: The ISU ACG Student Chapter proudly display the ASP Cup!

The most rewarding part of the trip was the chance to meet the family who would be receiving the house we built – a single mom and her two children. They sat off to the side the entire time – rain or shine – and cheered us on. Their presence kept us going and we were able to get farther than even we had anticipated on the house because of them. When the competition was over, our team walked them into their new home and showed them all the work we had done. It was amazing and unforgettable! 

Progress on the house was carefully monitored by faculty of ASP, a guest judge from the Habitat for Humanity and the City of Bristol, as well as the architect of the home. Shortly before the Bristol race green flag, our team was announced as the winner! We were awarded $5,000, the Appalachia Service Project cup, and we were asked to return and compete against two new teams next year. As a team, we decided to donate our winnings back to the ASP to help finish the home we started. 

Above: Gavin Scroggin and the ASP Cup in front of the house he helped build!

If you’re looking for an opportunity to help families in need, I highly recommend looking into the Appalachia Service Project. The organization will be 50 next year and over the past 50 years they have assisted over 17,000 families. If traveling isn’t an option, I hope others will consider the needs and the people in their own communities. There is always something we can do to make our communities better. 

I’m so grateful to Iowa State and Neumann for allowing me these opportunities! I think these two trips have set me up to do better in both school and my remaining time with Neumann. 

*Read more about Gavin’s service trip to South Carolina here!