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Students clinch third in regional engineering competition

April 9, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's concrete canoe paddled into third place during a regional contest April 2-4, the best showing of the University's student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers since WMU began competing five years ago.

The University vied against seven other teams from Michigan and Ohio at the North Central Regional Conference at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich. The WMU team will not advance to the national event, which is reserved for those teams placing first or second, in this case Ohio Northern University and Michigan Technological University, respectively.

WMU's 25-member concrete canoe team took first place in presenting its 20-foot-long, charcoal-colored vessel, which included a five-minute talk about it and a question-and-answer period. The University's Black Pearl, named for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, placed second for the technical paper on the design and makeup of the canoe and third in overall display.

"The team is very excited since this is the highest place ever achieved by the concrete canoe team in the five years they have been competing. We feel it was tremendous team effort this year, and it will hopefully be a great springboard towards next year's competition," says Paul Pagano, a senior from Pinckney, Mich., who was team captain for the concrete canoe.

The team's industry advisory was Blair Bates of Building Restoration Inc. of Kalamazoo.

For the first year, WMU also entered a team for the steel bridge construction competition, a second event at the weekend competition. During its inaugural year, WMU's bridge could not hold the full 2,500 pounds required, and it tied for last out of six teams. Lawrence Tech won the steel bridge competition, followed by the University of Michigan and Michigan Tech.

Related article
Engineering students build concrete canoe, steel bridge

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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