Networking and outreach were key themes found at NPCA Foundation events at The Precast Show 2019 in Louisville. During the Foundation’s Board of Directors meeting, the board heard from Mohammed Albahttiti, Ph.D., Amanda Muller and several students from California State University, Chico’s Concrete Industry Management program. They updated the Board on the precast-specific course that Albahttiti developed for CSU, Chico using a grant from the Foundation. About 20 students are taking the course in Spring 2019, and it is now required for all CSU, Chico CIM students. Muller shared an update on a new lab the CIM program is developing and the need for donated equipment to outfit the lab. CSU, Chico CIM students Marlin McCain, Paige Silva and Giovanna Vera also spoke about their experience in the program and how attending The Precast Show helped them to broaden their knowledge about the concrete industry. In addition, Mustafa Marshal, Ph.D., from Idaho State University, updated the Board on the bridge and culvert studio program that is being jointly funded by the NPCA Foundation and PCI Foundation. Marshal explained the studio will consist of four individual semester-long programs focusing on bridges, culverts and seismic activity for these products, and, in addition to being available to students, the courses will also be open to department of transportation officials and specifiers. The studio program is scheduled to launch in the 2019-2020 academic year.
The Foundation also held a new student competition at The Precast Show. For the inaugural year, the competition was open to CIM schools. The New Jersey Institute of Technology and the CSU, Chico CIM programs both competed. The students were given a real-world project
that had originally been specified as cast-in-place. The students were challenged to convert the project to precast, and consider all of the production, operational, safety, cost and logistical facets of the project. Both NJIT and CSU, Chico’s teams presented viable solutions, leaving the judges with a difficult choice, but they ultimately selected CSU, Chico’s team as the winner. As the winning team, CSU, Chico received $2,000 for the students and a $5,000 donation to their school program. NJIT won a $1,200 prize for the students and $4,000 for its school program.
The Foundation capped off its networking and outreach for the week with a student/member networking event on the trade show floor. This annual event links NPCA members with students and faculty from across the U.S. to discuss opportunities for plant tours, internships and careers in the precast concrete industry.
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