Construction Management Students' Senior Project Enhances University’s Rodeo Program.

Cal Poly construction management students Ryan Fiorio and Timothy Smith have designed a Rodeo Observation Deck for the Cal Poly Rodeo Program as a senior project through the Construction Management (CM) Department. Partnering with the rodeo program and Coach Ben Londo, the deck Tim and Ryan built will provide a platform to mount cameras that automatically track a rider in motion, for later analysis. This will help team members elevate their riding skills, and was a fantastic way for these students to put into action Learn by Doing here at Cal Poly!


Below is the news release announcing the completion of their senior project followed by a photo gallery that shows the original site of the project and the progress to completion. 


In the early photos, Ryan is in the yellow shirt, Tim in red and in the yellow vest lending a hand, is rodeo team member Quintin McWhorter. In the later photos, Ryan is wearing a burgundy shirt and Tim is in orange.


In the photo at the doorway, you’ll see them finishing up by drilling in the final deck screw. Thank you to their supporters and congratulations to them both on this major accomplishment!



Photos courtesy of Ryan Fiorio, Timothy Smith, and CAL POLY PHOTOGRAPHeR Joe Johnston.

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Two Cal Poly construction management students are putting the finishing touches on their senior project, a rodeo observation deck designed to record the practice runs of student riders.

Ryan Fiorio, of Gilroy, California, and Timothy Smith, of El Cerrito, California, partnered with Cal Poly’s Rodeo Program and head coach Ben Londo to conceive a platform in the practice arena to mount Soloshot cameras that automatically track a rider in motion to record the runs for later analysis and team improvements.

The students, who will graduate this summer from Cal Poly’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, met more than a year ago with Londo to learn about the project.

“We wanted to help students elevate their riding skills,” Fiorio said. “Building the deck as our senior project was a fantastic way for us to put Learn by Doing into action. We liked the challenges that this project presented to test our skills and we knew it would allow us to learn new things while constructing it.”

The project included design, fundraising and construction. Fiorio and Smith worked through some construction issues with Londo, a Cal Poly construction management alumnus, and their senior project advisor Dan Knight, a construction management faculty member. The students also collaborated with Arroyo Grande-based Harris Architecture and Design on drawings for the 1,200-square-foot project to ensure the deck was safe to accommodate the recording equipment and up to 75 people.

As the project was getting off the ground, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic presented a major challenge for the students.

“The fast-changing environment and economy significantly reduced our ability to fundraise as well as complete many other tasks,” Smith recalled. “We needed to raise close to $17,000 and persevered to raise the funds by reaching out to our contacts made through Cal Poly and summer internships.”

So far, the students have raised $11,000 for the materials. They are still seeking funds to complete their goal.

Londo praised their accomplishment: “These students have created a sturdy deck that provides a significant improvement in viewing practice runs, and its versatility enhances team meetings and creates a VIP viewing area for rodeo sponsors during events.”

As the deck nears completion, Fiorio reflected on the experience.

“Through this senior project we’ve both learned so much,” he said, “such as how to work better as a team and draw on each other’s various skills to create a unique solution to some of the problems that arose.

“This project feels like the perfect end to our college career even amid the current circumstances. It’s awesome for us to be a part of Cal Poly history and to build something that we can come back to and admire in the future. We feel our hard work will contribute toward maintaining Cal Poly’s Rodeo Program as one of the top programs in the nation.”

The public is invited to help the students reach their senior project fundraising goal by clicking this secure link: to Cal Poly’s giving site. Some recognition levels include tickets to a future Poly Royal Rodeo in Spanos Stadium. A formal dedication is being planned for a later date.

The rodeo observation deck, office (Building 77T) and practice arena are located on campus off of Mount Bishop Road. An online photo gallery of the construction process and nearly completed deck can be viewed at:


About Cal Poly’s Construction Management Program

The Construction Management Department, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is one of the most respected programs of its type in the country. With more than 500 full-time students, it prepares graduates to lead project teams of other professionals in the completion of complex infrastructure projects. These graduates are actively recruited by more than 200 firms spanning the globe. For more information, go to

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