A high school team from the Dallas, Texas area and a middle school team from Kansas City, Missouri are the top winners in the national "Construction Challenge" competition sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Earning runner-up honors were high school teams from Perry, Oklahoma and Oley, Pennsylvania and middle school teams from New Carlisle, Ohio and Graham, Washington.
More than 40 finalist teams participated in three separate challenges during the competition, which took place May 20-23, 2009 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville during the Global Finals competition of Destination ImagiNation (DI). DI is a challenge partner.
The student teams had qualified for the finals at one of 15 regional rallies held earlier in the year across the United States and Toronto, Canada. Since then, they had been designing, building and preparing for the national competition.
The students competed in these three challenges:
- Challenge 1: Infrastructure PR Campaign - Teams researched local infrastructure issues in their communities, proposed infrastructure improvements, and held live PR events to develop community support.
- Challenge 2: Manufacturing Design: Free Flow - Teams designed remote-controlled equipment to move materials to guide 300 gallons of water down a 32-foot course into a specific tank.
- Challenge 3: Service Tech: Piling it On! - Teams engineered a modular remote-control piece of equipment to move and stack boxes in a head-to-head Challenge. Teams had to make two repairs on their equipment, one of which required the technician of the opposing team.
AEM along with DI developed the Construction Challenge to engage students through a hands-on, educational experience that introduces them to construction careers such as engineers, equipment technicians and manufacturing professionals.
"The Challenge participants brought creative problem-solving skills to real industry issues," stated Dennis Slater, AEM's president.
This is the second year of the Challenge, which debuted in 2008. For 2009, AEM added a middle school competition level and held the finals in conjunction with DI's global finals in Knoxville. These updates helped contribute to the continued success of the event, noted Slater.
"We increased the level of participation and visibility of both the Challenge and our industry to the younger teams and the 10,000-plus students at the impressive Global Finals events. These were important steps forward for our workforce development efforts," Slater said.
The AEM Construction Challenge program offers an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and community leaders to learn more about rewarding industry career paths, and the important role of construction equipment in creating and maintaining the high quality of life enjoyed in North America and Europe as well as by increasing numbers in the developing world.
First place finishers from the regional rallies had competition expenses covered by a construction industry corporate sponsor. Second- and third-place regional rally teams could also compete at the national finals, covering their own expenses.