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College of Engineering, Computer Science & Construction Management

Chico State students win NPCA Design Competition

A handful of Chico State students flew to Louisville, Kentucky late last month, where they competed in the first ever National Precast Concrete Association, or NPCA, Design Competition.

Mohammed Albahttiti, Design Team Faculty Advisor, "The development of the competition involved the students designing for this year an underground water storage treatment facility for the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the New Jersey area."

Giovanna Vera, Civil Engineering Major, "They gave us the original cast in place plans, the original specs, and then we had to take that and make our own precast design that we would have to ship from California to New Jersey."

The students started working on the project early on in the fall semester, before turning in their final proposal in December. Then they spent a couple months perfecting their presentation, before delivering it in front of the judges.

Danny Lakowski, Concrete Industry Management Major, "Having these industry experts there judging us, you know, not only people who have done this their whole lives, but including the engineers who actually fixed this problem, so they know all the good, the bad. It was very, very exciting, but also, it was nerve wracking."

Ultimately though, when the dust settled, Chico would have cause for celebration, as they were awarded first place.

Vera, They actually had the real person who designed the precast structure come out and actually tell us what they did, and one of his opening statements was, 'Actually my design was closest to Chico State's.'"

Lakowski, "It was amazing, it was very rewarding for all the work that we put in and all the time."

However, the students didn't just got to compete, and some who went, weren't even part of the competition. They also got to experience a huge multi-day convention.

Aubrey Miller, Concrete Industry Management Major, "There was different classes that we got to go to that taught us about innovations in concrete and different types of precast. I actually got to meet tons of companies that offer internships for us, they were walking up to us saying, 'Hey we'd like to come to your college and talk to you about our company, or we'd love to know more about you as a person so you could maybe come internship with us.'"

In all, the week in Louisville was a great success, and something this group will never forget.

Lakowski, "Everyone there was so welcoming and friendly, we felt invited to everything that was going on. I don't know that any of us had ever been to Kentucky before, so even just being in the state and seeing how beautiful it was, was a new experience that was really enjoyable."