MSOE’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers took first place in the regional Concrete Canoe Competition. The objective is to provide civil engineering students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and leadership skills by working with concrete mix designs and project management.  

This year’s competition was adapted to be 100% virtual due to the ongoing pandemic. While teams were not required to build a full-scale, 20-foot prototype canoe this year, MSOE students created a half-scale version, allowing them to bring their design to life.  

MSOE’s award-winning submission for the contest included a technical report; enhanced focus area report, which focused on the scaled down canoe and experimenting with new materials; peer review comments of the technical report; and a video with the theme of “Persistence in the Face of Adversity,” which focused on the concrete canoe experience of MSOE alumnus Steven Doocy ’11, ’12. Doocy is a program manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and lecturer in MSOE’s Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management Department.  

The technical report included the team’s canoe hull design and structural analysis on their proposed design to establish the minimum properties required for their concrete mix. Teams designed a prototype canoe 19 feet and 9 inches long with the racing capabilities, handling performance, seaworthiness and durability to withstand the rigors of a series of races. They also had to meet the requirements of allowable concrete materials and reinforcement, floatation and finishing/aesthetics.  

The theme of the 2021 canoe, named Eddystone, focuses on the rich history of civil engineering from primitive settlements to modern engineering marvels. The name Eddystone comes from the Eddystone lighthouse, designed by the father of civil engineering John Smeaton, which was the first structure to utilize what is now a precursor to portland cement. Eddystone features vibrant designs of the lighthouse and Milwaukee’s iconic Hoan Bridge against the deep gray canoe.  

After completing all the requirements, the team delivered a live remote technical presentation to a panel of judges, followed by a period of questions from the judges.  

Congratulations to Brandon Kennedy, captain; Rishi Patel, captain; Zach Binversie, ASCE president; Matthew Tonkel, construction lead; Justin Klamik, mix design lead; Gonzalo Palacios, work team member; and Dr. Fran Mahuta, team advisor, on their first-place win. They will move on to the national competition this summer.