First Annual Arden Olympics

As we celebrate the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the eyes of the world turn to Pyeongchang, we’d like to commemorate the occasion by sharing details from our very own “Olympiad” at Arden Engineering Constructors.  The first annual “Arden Olympics” were held earlier this year, and Team Blue took the gold.

The purpose of the “Arden Olympics” was to put junior members of our engineering and construction teams to the test in a “real life” on-site job situation.  Two teams, comprised of six members each, were chosen at random and given zero details regarding the competition until the day of the event.  After an initial meeting where the ground rules were discussed, Team Blue and Team Yellow were shown to separate, but identical, work stations that represented the “job site.”

The objective for each team was to successfully pipe off a VAV box in the most efficient and spec-compliant manner.  The manufacturer of pipe, valves, and fittings could differ from the spec, provided all characteristics were the same.  The team to successfully complete the task with the most points in the least amount of time would be deemed the winner.

The rules of the competition were as follows:

Soliciting information from anyone outside the team is strictly prohibited.

Every tool retrieved from the tool crib after 1:15pm will be a two-point deduction.

A team may declare “build” at any time during pre-fab. Once they declare build, every piece refabricated will be subject to a one point deduct.

Teams may visit build site and take measurements throughout the pre-fab duration. They may NOT bring any pipe or fittings into the build site until they declare “build.”

Teams cannot view the competitors site at all.

At any time, one member of the team may return to their computer to access the model for dimensions.

Each team will be assigned a mentor who will be providing limited information.

Teams were judged by the following rubric:

  1.  Safety (20 Points)
    1. Points will be deducted for violations – more severe/more points
  2. Estimating (20 Points)
    1. Accuracy of material quantities purchased/waste
  3. Pre-planning (20 Point)
    1. Accuracy of tool order
    2. Points will be deducted for every call back to tool crib
    3. Team Structure/Participation
  4. Pre-Fabrication (20 Points)
    1. Minimize labor during Build time
  5. Quality Control (20 Points)
    1. Spec compliance
    2. Quality of workmanship


In the end, while both teams experienced certain difficulties, Team Blue was able to come out on top.  And while fun was had by all, the exercise proved to be a major learning experience.  Al Moreau, who acted as mentor for Team Blue, noted that this exercise was a “home run in regards to making learning fun.  Educating all the cogs together makes a great wheel, and that has been the cornerstone of Arden Engineering from its first generation, and now the second.”

As for the participants, the major takeaway was a new appreciation of the work that takes place in the field.

“I thought this exercise was useful especially for someone like me who has done work in estimating but not a lot of work in the field. It showed me how much work actually goes in to installing a single piece of equipment and how coordination can greatly affect the efficiency of a project. It gave me a greater respect for the guys in the field because it gave me a small introduction to how things are actually completed on site and how difficult it can be.”  -Robert Melly

“I learned that something that may look simple on paper can be a lot more complex when you go to install it!  I have a greater appreciation of the pipefitting craft and the skills required to install high-quality work.”  -David Demers

“It was a great experience, learning how things work out in the field. We came across different real-time situations and even though we made some mistakes, at the end of the day we learned how to avoid them.  These are some of the things we learned from that exercise: 1. Always measure the drawings and check it against what we have in the field.  2. Re-check everything before staring work.  3. Why safety is important.  4. How to mitigate loss of time and material.

My respect for the people in the field has been doubled, considering the various conditions they have to work in.”  -Harsha Namana

“Arden Olympics was definitely useful. We learned what it is like in the field when communication and information differs from what they actually have to work with.This experience shows why we have different departments and different roles. Having CAD to draw, Foreman to review and provide info, and PMs really helps makes things get done right and accurate to make it easy for the men and women in the field to do their jobs with ease.

We learned that its not good to just go with the information we are originally given, and that we should always take field measurements to make sure everything is accurate before following exactly what the fabrication list says.”  –Gabe Ortiz

“I learned a couple of new things that aren’t in my department. I also saw the value of having the whole team tuned in together and working as a unit instead of individuals and how much time/effort/money that could save.”  -Huda Gad

Congratulations to all “Arden Olympians.”  We’re definitely looking forward to next year’s event!

Team Blue

David Demers

Huda Gad

Cherie Green

Robert Melly

Austin Luther

Christian Bean

Team Yellow

Jeremy Rogers

Gabe Ortiz

Ryan Mangini

Harsha Namana

Papa Sarpong

Matt Basile


Watch a time lapse of the event: