Construction management grad excels in competitions

Zach Alves
Zach Alves

Story by Daniel Ricci

Whether participating in triathlons, or competition teams, construction management grad Zach Alves is a dedicated competitor. Alves grew up in Fishers, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis, but knew that he wanted to go west to school. While he did not have a background in construction, Alves wanted to pursue a career with tangible products and an active, changing work environment. He also wanted a field where he could be a leader and a mentor. Construction management seemed like a good fit.

When he started looking at CM programs throughout the western U.S., Colorado State University was the obvious choice. Halfway through his CON 101 Introduction to Construction Management class he remembers thinking, “Man! Construction is a pretty cool industry.” At that moment he knew that he had made the right decision and he hasn’t looked back since.

Involvement with competition teams

Alves has been an active student and heavily involved with the construction management competition teams. He was on the Design-Build Associated Schools of Construction Team that placed second in 2016. He was also on the Sustainable/LEED Team in 2015, when the team placed second, and in 2014.

The competitions were an important part of Alves’ educational experience. “The competition teams allowed me to apply my classroom learning to real-world scenarios of construction estimates, schedules, and methods,” he said. Professor Ron Holt taught Alves in several classes and also worked with him on the Design-Build Team. Holt praised Alves’ growth and leadership as a student and team member, “He was the lead spokesman for the team and was instrumental in bringing back a trophy. Zach is one of those students that professors really enjoy having in class!”

Triathlons become a hobby

Outside of class Alves is the vice president of the CSU Triathlon Club and an active racer. He got involved in triathlons at age 10 after a funny conversation with his father, an active triathlete. One day his father asked him if he had any hobbies. “No,” said Alves. “Well, triathlons are your hobby until you find something else you enjoy,” said his dad.

As it turned out, Alves did enjoy it, and he has continued his involvement in the sport. He likes the variety offered by the combination of three sports and, while claiming that he is not very good at any single part of the event, is an accomplished competitor. In 2016 Alves achieved an All American honor from USA Triathlon, a recognition reserved for competitors in the top 10 percent of their age group.

‘An amazing experience’

The summer prior to his freshman year, Alves bicycled across the U.S. with Bike and Build, an organization that uses cycling trips to raise funds for affordable housing and build a culture of service and civic engagement. Along with 29 other participants, Alves rode over 3000 miles from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Canon Beach, Oregon. Along the way the group stopped in several cities to build with Habitat for Humanity. “To get to see the country, learn about the need for affordable housing, and meet so many people was an amazing experience!”

Alves will be taking a short break following graduation. He will be spending four weeks on a bicycle tour through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Once he finishes, he will be moving to Denver and starting his new job.  He recently accepted a position as a project engineer with Swinerton Builders in their Denver office. There is little doubt that Alves will bring the same maturity, dedication, and discipline to the next stage of his life as he brought to this one.

The Department of Construction Management is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.