Concrete isn’t typically a go-to material for nautical construction. But for hundreds of civil engineering students, the challenge of constructing and racing a concrete canoe in an annual competition held by the American Society of Civil Engineers provides hands-on design and project management experience.
Beta Engineering cosponsored the Louisiana Tech concrete canoe team at the regional and national ASCE competitions this year, along with Crest Industries, DIS-TRAN Steel, and DIS-TRAN Packaged Substations. In addition to gaining experience with developing concrete mix designs, students also build leadership skills, helping prepare them for future engineering careers.
Louisiana Tech University hosted the 2022 ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition June 3–5 in Ruston, LA. This competition was the culmination of 21 different regional competitions and included ASCE students from the U.S., Canada, India, and Puerto Rico. The competition includes multiple components to test students’ technical and practical knowledge, from different types of races on the water to technical proposals and presentations. The 2022 winning team was from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Several members of Beta Engineering attended the event, including Beta Executive Vice President of Engineering Ross Twidwell, who is a Louisiana Tech University civil engineering alumnus. Several interns from Beta who are students at Louisiana Tech came to cheer their team on during the races on Sunday. Beta civil engineer and California Polytechnic State University alumnus Andrew Brunton also attended in his role as chair of the 2022 ASCE Committee on Concrete Canoe Competitions.
Brunton has been a part of the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition in many roles over the years, first as a student participant, then as a judge, and currently as a committee member. He explained, “This year-long concrete canoe project provides the students hand-on experience and exposure to a variety of real-world challenges and skills needed to succeed in a complex project—from structural analysis, research and development, project management, scheduling, material procurement, concrete testing, quality control, technical presentations, and much more.”
Brunton aims to apply his unique perspective on the competition to continue improving it. Each summer ASCE updates the rules and changes the competition elements. Brunton said, “I try to take my multi-perspective view from being a participant, a judge, and on the committee, to try and help shape the concrete canoe competition to be an extraordinary ‘learn by doing’ and fun experience for all teams that participate—because as a student, it was one of the best and more rewarding experiences I’ve had.”