1st and 2nd at regionals

April 3, 2014

Spartan Spanners Steel Bridge Team:
First place – overall performance.
First place – economy.
First place – efficiency.
First place – stiffness.

Concrete Canoe Team:
Second place – overall performance.
First place – design paper.

The ingenuity and talents of two teams from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering helped bring home top honors from this year’s regional Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Competition.

The Spartan Spanners Steel Bridge Team is headed to nationals in May after receiving four first place honors for overall performance, economy, efficiency and stiffness.

Spartan Spanners are (back) Samantha VanVlerah, Evan Pomeroy, Chris Rothhaar, Ashley Roberts, Roberto De Silva, Eric Kamps, Victor Ruiz, Yerbol Zhakupov, Thomas Bonney, Jesus Sanchez, Blessing Tayisepi, Michael Norcia and (front) faculty advisor Frank Hatfield, Brennan Thorn, Ben Globke, Cody Thon, Jack Potterack and Khaled Alghafli.The Concrete Canoe Team finished second place overall and brought home the first place award for its design paper.

The competition is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction. The steel bridge regionals were hosted at the University of Detroit Mercy and concrete canoe races were at the Erie Metro Park, March 28-29.

It is the second year in a row that the steel bridge team won the regional contest and will represent Michigan State University at the national competition.

Steel bridge: Captains of the Spartan Spanners are Roberto De Silva, Ben Globke, Cody Thon, and Yerbol Zhakupov. MSU’s arch bridge spanned 18 feet, weighed 220 pounds and was constructed in 14 minutes, 45 seconds. The team didn't finish lower than second in any category, including lightness, speed and display. For more information on the Spartan Spanners, contact msusteelbridge@gmail.com.

Six bridge teams from Michigan and northern Ohio competed. The Spartan Spanners beat out the University of Michigan team, which placed second. Regional first and second place teams continue to compete at the 2014 National Steel Bridge Competition, which is May 23-24 at the University of Akron in Ohio.

Steel bridge captains are Roberto De Silva, Ben Globke, Cody Thon and Yerbol Zhakupov.Steel bridge captains are Roberto De Silva, Ben Globke, Cody Thon and Yerbol Zhakupov.Steel bridge captains are Roberto De Silva, Ben Globke, Cody Thon and Yerbol Zhakupov.

The Student Steel Bridge Competition contest challenges future civil engineers to display their skills in steel design, steel fabrication and teamwork. Steel Bridge requires students to design and build their product from scratch. After converting their design to shop drawings, teams build the structure piece by piece. Bridges are judged on a variety of qualities, including lightness, economy, appearance and various measures of strength and stability.

Concrete canoe: The team placed second overall in the competition, which is a personal best in recent years, said team captain Alex Blehm. The team brought home first place honors for the design paper and second for racing.

“We are really trying to vamp up our recruitment, outreach, and recognition in not only the civil department, but the whole college,” Blehm added. Those interested in knowing more about the concrete canoe team can contact Blehm at blehmale@msu.edu.

The National Concrete Canoe Competition provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with team and project management skills they will need in their careers. The event challenges the students' knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material. The organization’s first national concrete canoe contest was hosted in East Lansing by MSU in 1988.

MSU's concrete canoe team members are Erik Allore, Katie Ryan, John Brady, Rachel Wandmacher, Alex Blehm, Hans Smith, Steven Hilliard, Vince Tomczak, Eric Kastelic,  Nick Soumis, Eliseo Gutierrez Jr., Caroline Williams and Justine Williams. Missing from photo are team members Tony Brehmer, Laura Fielitz, Olivia Zachmann and Amy Kemp.