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06/02/2006
Hudson Valley Community College Wins First-Ever Award at National Steel Bridge Competition
Students finish first in "stiffness" category, 20th overall

CONTACT: Jason McCord (518) 629-8071 or (518) 629-7180
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, June 2, 2006

Members of the Hudson Valley Community College Steel Bridge Team stand on the bridge they built at the 15th Annual National Student Steel Bridge Competition held in Salt Lake City. From left to right, Daniel Ayers, Nathaniel Murphy, Mark Borthwick, Hannah Grass, William Bluto and Devin LeMoine.
Members of the Hudson Valley Community College Steel Bridge Team stand on the bridge they built at the 15th Annual National Student Steel Bridge Competition held in Salt Lake City. From left to right, Daniel Ayers, Nathaniel Murphy, Mark Borthwick, Hannah Grass, William Bluto and Devin LeMoine.

Students in Hudson Valley Community College's Civil Engineering Technology program have won the college's first-ever award in the National Student Steel Bridge Competition, in which they participated over Memorial Day weekend in Salt Lake City.

The bridge team, composed of nine Civil Engineering Technology students in Professor George Limbrunner's Bridge Design class, won first place in "stiffness," a category that measured how much the students' 596-pound steel bridge bent when 2,500 pounds was placed on it. Overall, Hudson Valley's team finished 20th out of 45 teams, beating teams from colleges such as Texas A&M, Ohio State University and the University of Connecticut.

This is the third consecutive year that students from Hudson Valley have participated in the competition, now in its 15th year. Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute for Steel Construction, the competition challenges students to design and build a steel bridge using real world engineering and construction techniques.

Hudson Valley's team qualified for the national competition by finishing third in a regional competition held in Rochester in late April. This year's team members are: Mark Borthwick, who served as captain; William Bluto, Devin LeMoine, Nathaniel Murphy, Hannah Grass, Dan Ayers, Justin Stallman and Michael Devoid. Borthwick, Bluto and Grass graduated in May. LeMoine, Murphy, Ayers, Stallman and Devoid still attend Hudson Valley.

Hudson Valley is one of the few community colleges to compete in the event; most teams come from four-year universities, and spend an entire year designing and building their bridge. Hudson Valley's teams complete their bridges in one semester, said Christine LaPlante, chairwoman of the college's Civil Engineering Technology Department.

"It is a testament to the program, the faculty, the college, but mostly, the students, that they can do so well against some very tough competition," LaPlante said. "Our students show that they can, and do, learn the 'real world' concepts that are so important for success in their professional lives."

Bridge team prepares for competition.
Bridge team prepares for competition.

The bridge team's trip was sponsored by the Faculty Student Association at Hudson Valley Community College, the Student Senate and the following individuals and companies: BBL Construction Services, Boswell Engineering, Callanan Industries,

Chazen Engineering & Land Surveying, Creighton Manning Engineering, CTD Engineering Services, Eastern NY Chapter American Concrete Institute, J & J Service, Kubricky Construction, Lansing Engineering, LeChase Construction Services, John D. Lewyckyj, Paul Male, Mesick-Cohen-Wilson-Baker Architects, Leonardo Harold Osborne, Steven Allen Rich, Rifenburg Construction, STS Steel, Tralongo Builders, W.R. Grace Co., Richard G. Wood, and Zaremba-Sopoka Associates.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and workforce and academic preparation programs offered through the Educational Opportunity Center. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.