The University of Florida won the third annual Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress (RIAP) student competition at the host site of the 2017 International Roofing Expo in Las Vegas. The winners were announced Thursday night at the NRCA Industry Awards Ceremony and Reception.

This year, the Alliance competition features six teams from universities across the United States that were tested on their roofing, project management, estimating, safety, and quality control knowledge, as well as presentation skills. It’s the largest group to compete in what has become a hallmark event that promotes careers in roofing industry management. The University of Florida team also won last year's event. 

The six teams were asked to create a company bid on a roof installation project on the newly built T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Each team had to research the project, review the plans and specifications, and assemble a full estimate and proposal to submit a qualified bid package. They submitted written proposals and gave a maximum 15-minute presentation before a panel of industry judges on Thursday morning at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center’s North Hall. The presentations were followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer period. All presentations were open to the public.

Team Captain Caleb Strauss, who also competed in last year’s event, led the team of four from M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management in Gainesville, Fla. with a proposal submitted under the company name Orange South Construction. Their detailed presentation included walkthroughs on budgets, scheduling, inspections and a unique incentive program to keep workers on schedule. Their bid came in at just under $2.6 million.

A panel of seven judges from all sectors of the roofing industry mixed preliminary scores from the written proposals with scores from the oral presentations to determine a winner.

"The competition is outstanding and the caliber of students participating is really good and getting better," said John Geary, a former Firestone executive and repeat judge at the competition.  

The Florida team will receive a team trophy and a $5,000 L.B. Conway Scholarship for their school.

For more information on The Alliance’s student competition and information on the Alliance in general, please visit the Alliance website at