THE NCE Communications Competition came to a fierce conclusion this week at the AME annual conference in Bath.
In a highly charged atmosphere, it was the team from Bechtel which won over a filibustering crowd and the judges to beat teams from Arup and WS Atkins/Essex County Council and scoop the £500 top prize.
The teams presented proposals for the regeneration of a fictional city centre to an audience of AME conference delegates doing a fine impression of a rowdy public meeting.
All three teams gave presentations that could have put their vastly more experienced audience to shame, but the judges decided the Bechtel team had done the most to build up a rapport with the public.
The judges felt all three individual team members, Darren Mort, Ruth Brooks and Mwitwa Chibwa, were frank and believable, and together managed the audience well.
However, they faced stiff opposition from the Arup team of Ian Davis, Paul Stephens and Natalie Kalfa, who captured the imagination of both audience and judges with a stunning powerpoint presentation showing a dynamic before and after virtual walk-through of the city centre.
Unfortunately, so good was the presentation that the audience was left less sympathetic.
The team from WS Atkins/ Essex County Council of Liz Partington, Andy Wybrow, Lisa Maguire and Tom Allen came third after enduring the audience at its freshest and most antagonistic.
It was a disappointing end for the team which had already come through a tough regional round by beating the last year's winners, the Royal Engineers.
This year's competition was the tenth and saw 35 teams entered nationally.
The competition is widely seen as an invaluable training opportunity and the AME is urging more companies to encourage their graduates to participate.