Tag Archives: engineering competitions

The Estimating Competition

Rob Parker

Rob Parker,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 22 February 2017

“Most importantly, take a deep breath, lighten up and HAVE FUN!”

As engineers, specifically civil, many of our projects tend to deal with infrastructure and as you may already be familiar with these projects get very expensive. With that being said, once a project is designed it goes out for bid, meaning many different contracting companies bid how much they think it will cost to build the project. Then, the lowest bidding company wins the project.

For the past three years I have been involved in the Estimating Competition, which is hosted by the Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) and this past weekend (Feb 17-18) Ohio University competed once again. As the name of the competition may give away, the main purpose of this competition is to estimate how much it’s going to cost to construct a certain project.

There are 11 schools that participate in this competition and the grand prize for the winning team is $3,000. The estimating portion of the competition occurs on a Friday where you have 8 hours to estimate the job and then on Saturday you present your project to the judges. The cool part about this competition is that the project that is provided for the schools to bid has already or is currently being built.

Even though the 8-hour estimating portion of the competition is a high-stress environment the competition as a whole is very beneficial. You are not only getting exposure to blue prints and how to navigate through them, but you are also surrounded by potential employers the entire time. I’ve received two co-op opportunities alone just through this competition.

OU 2017 Estimating Team

Even though we didn’t win this year, I still had a blast and if this wasn’t my last year of college, I would definitely compete next year. There are many hidden opportunities that come with being involved in an organization/competition and the estimating competition is just one example.

National WERC Competition

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 October 2016

As a senior, I decided to get involved in a few new student organizations within the Russ College of Engineering. One of these is the National WERC Competition, which challenges collegiate teams to develop viable solutions to real-world environmental/energy-related problems.

The competition has a few prompts to choose from, and teams can also choose to make their own project related to a current environmental problem. This year, our team of six chemical engineering students is creating a passive solar distillation process to treat acid mine drainage and turn it into clean water, while recovering the dried salts that remain. Our innovative design is entirely passive, using no electricity and requiring little to no human interaction.

Teams will not only plan how to carry out this process on a large scale, but they are also tasked with creating a bench scale model to represent how this process works on a small scale. In April, my teammates and I will spend a week in New Mexico, and go to New Mexico State University to present our design with our bench scale demonstration. Judges will grade the project based off numerous factors and give out awards to the top teams in each prompt category.

On the trip, students from OU also get to stop and do some sightseeing in New Mexico and Arizona, including hiking in the Grand Canyon. For more questions on about the WERC project, feel free to contact Dr. Ridgway.

Human-Powered Vehicle Team

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 September 2016

With the school year setting in, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Human Powered Vehicle team has begun its quest for the top. Each year, around 35 universities compete in a series of rigorous events and races with the vehicles they have designed over the previous year.

As a leader of the OU team, my passion and goal is to continue to help young, aspiring engineers through the engineering process from research to testing, and ultimately to show off what Ohio University students have to offer.

In my previous two years’ experience, I have learned a lot about not only bicycles, but also the engineering process, including many items that I have not yet learned in the classroom environment.

As this year rolls in, and I continue on to my second year as a leader of the team, I am looking to pass on that information to younger members so they can continue leading the organization to success after I have moved on. One of the most gratifying parts of this organization for me is being able to pass on the knowledge I have gained to other members.

The process of designing, analyzing, manufacturing, and testing a vehicle is neither a simple nor short endeavor. As a leader of such an extracurricular group, I realize that time while in college is precious and a juggling act between classes, extracurricular activities, personal life, and even work. I have devoted much of my time to the organization and am very grateful to see new and returning members devoting theirs to the organization as well.

While there are still many unknowns and hurdles to overcome, I continue to look forward to passing on knowledge and seeing the ideas members come up with to solve the challenging issues they face, with the hopes of bringing home a win for Ohio University come competition time.

Student Organizations for Everyone

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 3 February 2016
Student Organizations for Everyone –

One thing that is clear here at Ohio University is that there is a student organization for everyone. I am involved in several organizations, most of them centered around engineering. The organization that keeps me the busiest and I’m most excited for is the American Society of Civil Engineers. I have recently taken on the role of president of the organization.

With the organization we are preparing for many activities this semester. The officers have a student conference in Pittsburgh, our chapter is hosting the regional conference in April and our largest event, the Ohio Valley Student Conference is coming up in March. The OVSC competition is by far what every member looks forward to all year.

This competition consists of about 350 civil engineering students from 14 schools from Ohio, Kentucky and Pittsburgh. There are several different competitions that each school can participate in: concrete canoe, steel bridge, surveying, concrete bat, environmental, geotechnical, and basal wood bridge competitions. Students have been preparing all year for these competitions and the projects are in their final stages of construction. It’s a great time and a good learning experience. Who would have thought that a bunch of engineers could be so fun?!

2015 Concrete Canoe

This is last year’s concrete canoe team. Unfortunately, even though I was involved in the construction of the canoe, I am not in the picture. I also compete in the surveying competition and that occurs at the same time as concrete canoe.

Construction Estimating

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 29 November 2015

The air is becoming cooler and crisper and the days are much shorter. I cannot believe that we are done with November and moving in to the last month of the year. The semester is coming to a close and the project deadlines are approaching. There is nothing more that terrifies me than project deadlines and finals. Even though I am terrified to think of what is in the near future, I am still ready to tackle them head-on. I have found that I work and learn best when I am under a little pressure.

One of my favorite classes of the semester is CE 4160, Construction Estimating & Equipment. In this class, I have been working on roadway construction projects all semester. In this class we are divided up into groups and we are given a set of plan drawings to which we need to make an estimate of how much the project will cost to build. I like this class the most because it is most applicable to what I want to do once I graduate.

Another benefit of this class is that is directly related to one of the organizations that I’m in. The Civil Engineering Estimating Team does exactly what my class is teaching me. We get a set of plan drawings and we need to bid the project during a competition.

I find that I tend to like classes more that I can directly relate to outside of the class room. I am what they call a “hands on” kind of person.

Startup Weekend Athens

Zach Perrault

Zach Perrault,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 29 October 2015

Last weekend I attended Startup Weekend Athens, a contest where groups work to start a company in 48 hours.

On Friday, I went to the Ohio University Innovation Center with no idea what I was getting myself into. After a bit of introduction from the event organizer, people lined up to make their 60 second pitches for their proposed business ideas. Once everyone had given their pitch we voted on which ones should be pursued. I decided to join Amy Miller and her idea to create a virtual reality system where martial arts students could apply their skills in mock scenarios. I really liked Amy’s enthusiasm and a virtual reality system sounded like a really fun technical challenge.

The first night was mostly fleshing out the idea some more. Wilson, my fellow computer science engineering ambassador, and I went to our houses to pick up our workstations, grab our Oculus Rift and a Microsoft Kinect from our friend and ACM president, Charlie Murphy. We also acquired important brain fuel in the form of gummy worms and La Croix.

Wilson and I worked non-stop all weekend to get as impressive a tech demo as we could. On Saturday, the event organizers also invited coaches from the Athens area to help us with our startups. Nathan from the Create_space and John Bowditch from the GRID Lab both help us a lot with how to approach our technical hurdles.

On Sunday, We presented our startup and performed a demo of what we had been working on. It went really well! After presenting the judges deliberated while we had another delicious, catered meal from the contest. Then it was time for the judges to announce the winners. My team took second place!

It was so exciting for our hard work to have paid off. I went into Startup Weekend just wanting to build something but I got so much more. I learned a lot about business plans and how product is just a portion of what makes a successful business.

Precision Flight Team

Drago Cvijetinovic

Drago Cvijetinovic,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 12 October 2015

Seeing the faces of young and old alumni during Homecoming here at Ohio University struck me with one of the more eye-opening revelations than I’ve had before: how little time I have left to enjoy being a student! The weekend in its entirety flooded me with many good memories of my past here in Athens; in fact, the more I reminisced, the more it felt like I was still only getting started and four years ago sometimes still feels like yesterday, still finding my way around campus. It’s a strange reality to finally grasp the fact that this time next year – OU will be a thing of the past.

Recollecting some of that past, however, I can safely say that one of my best and most gratifying experiences I’ve had here would have to be participating as a member of the Ohio University Precision Flight Team. Consisting of not just flight majors, but any student interested in aviation, the flight team is an inspired group that utilize the knowledge they’ve gained in the course of their college career to compete against schools around the nation in a variety of events.

Flight team

In and through this team, I have met some truly amazing and unique individuals, who are not just a “team member,” but they’re part of the student body. It’s exciting to hear other folks’ stories on how they have gracefully fallen into aviation to the schools they’ve studied at and ultimately – all the places they plan on going!

It’s a little cliché, I know, but a quote that has always stuck with me in the aviation program is: “A mile of road will take you one mile, but a mile of runway will take you anywhere.” So despite how similar one student may compare to the other in where they are now, I’ve realized that everyone really does have their own twist and flair to their book of life–past and future.

As of right now, everything is looking good here at OU. Classes are in full swing and oddly enough it’s already at the halfway mark of the semester. Summer packed her bags and left for vacation while Fall arrived right on time.