PCL supported future engineers at the 2014 Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) held in London, Ontario, from January 29 to February 2, 2014.
Mitch Soetaert, PCL Industrial module manager and
guest safety judge, shown with the University of
Alberta’s Moo of A team, which took home seven
awards from the 2014 Great Northern Concrete
Toboggan Race in London, Ontario.
As a first-time title sponsor, PCL participated in the technical exhibit (career fair), provided two technical judges, and presented the Best Performing Toboggan and People’s Choice awards at the closing dinner.
The event is hosted by a different engineering department in Canada every year. Western University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering took up this year’s challenge, setting a record-breaking attendance of 466 engineering students from 21 colleges and universities across North America – on the 40th anniversary of this student-run competition!
The event challenges teams of engineering students to design, construct, and race a toboggan with concrete running surfaces that weighs less than 300 pounds, holds five passengers, and, most importantly, is safe.
Mitch Soetaert, PCL Industrial Management Inc's module manager and guest safety judge, said race participants were required to exhibit the same attributes that PCL looks for in the field: total teamwork during the design, construction, and testing of a successful project that is performed safely.
“Judging was an opportunity to take what I do every day and apply it to something completely different. It was our responsibility to make sure the students could climb into these things and race down the hill without getting hurt,” he added.
The race is a quick hurtle down a snowy slope in a “king-of-the-hill” format judged by industry professionals who critique each team’s sled design, technical presentation, construction, and performance. Among the awards given were those for most original/innovative design, best concrete mix, fastest race time, best team spirit, and best overall team.
Mark Henderson, PCL Toronto project manager and guest technical judge, said it was incredible to see the level of innovation from the students. “With respect to the concrete mix design, we saw lightweight concrete that actually floated, mixes that incorporate recycled motor oil as a super-plasticizer, and bamboo for reinforcement. After reviewing the technical proposals presented by these teams, it is safe to say the world of concrete will look very different in the future.”
PCL fills more than 500 co-op internships
across Canada annually. The GNCTR sponsorship presented our various companies, which serve buildings, industrial and civil markets, with an opportunity to connect with future engineers regarding these available internships, some of which evolve into permanent positions.
About the PCL family of companies
PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $7.5 billion, making PCL the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America. Watch us build at PCL.com.
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