Timber Strong Provides Real-World Engineering Experience

For the last three years, Simpson Strong-Tie has sponsored events at the Pacific Southwest Conference, a three-day competition promoted by the  American Society of Civil Engineers for civil engineering students. This year, 18  universities from Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii sent teams to Tempe, Arizona, for the competition, which was co-hosted April 12–14 by Arizona State and Northern Arizona Universities.

The students compete in numerous events over the three days, with the two main events being Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge builds sponsored by American Concrete Institute and American Institute of Steel Construction respectively. In the previous two years, Simpson sponsored Simpson Jeopardy and Timber Towers / Giant Jenga, but this year we were excited to sponsor the inaugural Timber Strong Design Build competition.

This new competition was the first opportunity we’ve had to showcase our connectors and fasteners in the work of college students. The Timber Strong event seemed to be a big hit with the participants. All the teams displayed impressive  enthusiasm, engineering know-how and creativity in their construction. No two teams had the same structure or pre-build philosophy and every completed structure was unique.

According to the description of the project scope:

“Throughout the design process, the teams will be required to create a preliminary design and final bid report. Additionally, each team will be required to discuss the integration of sustainable systems within the design of their model structure, such as rainwater capture systems or solar paneling . . ..”

Ashley Lopez, captain of the first place San Diego State University team, said, “There were many challenges within the project from the preliminary design to the construction process, but the most challenging part was leading the team as a female. Construction is a male-dominated industry, and I knew before I accepted the role of captain that I was going to have to go the extra mile to prove myself as fit to lead this team. Leading a team full of males was not the easiest but was worth it in the end.”

In case you were wondering about all four top rankings, here they are:

1st place— San Diego State University

2nd place— Arizona State University

3rd place— University of California, — Irvine

Honorable Mention — California State University, Los Angeles

1st Place San Diego State University
2nd Place Arizona State University

Timber Strong co-sponsors included the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, American Wood Council, and Bosch Power Tools. This was one of the best events of its kind we’ve ever been involved with!

We’re hoping to turn this into a national competition, in which universities from all across the country compete in a final event to crown an overall national school champion.