Cal Poly Steel Bridge Team Finishes Second at National Competition

May 25, 2015

In its highest finish ever, Cal Poly placed second overall at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) National Student Steel Bridge Competition at the Kansas City Convention Center on May 23.

Cal Poly Steel Bridge Team Finishes Second at National Competition

The University of Florida was first and the Ecole do Technologie Superieure of Montreal, Canada, finished third at the competition hosted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Sponsored by the ASCE since 1992, the competition allows collegiate teams to design, build and test steel bridges. Forty-seven teams took part in the event competing in six categories. Cal Poly earned second place overall by finishing second in efficiency, third in construction speed, fourth in stiffness, fifth in lightness, seventh in economy and 11th in display.

Cal Poly qualified for the national championships by winning the ASCE Pacific Southwest Regional Conference at the University of Arizona-Tucson in early April.

“Although we have been in the Top 10 at nationals for the last five-plus years, we are very proud to have come home with the best finish Cal Poly has ever had,” said Shayla Allen, team captain (Shoreline, Wash.). “This year the team focused on organization and perseverance. Despite many difficulties and problems that arose, we came together and found solutions that would keep us on schedule to meet our goals.”

In addition to Allen, the Steel Bridge team members included senior captains Eric Babin (Grass Valley, Calif.), Jeremy Gold (Rancho Palo Verdes, Calif.), Demi Pacifuentes (Long Beach, Calif.), and Angel Trejo (La Quinta, Calif.). Junior captains included Elizabeth Coffey (Fremont, Calif.), Drew Glover (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), Michael Clark (Sebastopol, Calif.), Jimmyhee Quach (Dixon, Calif.) and Tyler van Iderstein (Martinez, Calif.).

Allen credited early preparation and Cal Poly’s tradition of cutting-edge design for the team’s strong showing.

“One challenge the steel bridge team faces is new design specifications each year,” she said. “We spent a good portion of time reviewing the rules this year before we arrived at a final design. Each year we build off the advice and experience from past teams. This allows us to learn and improve each and every year.”

Allen, a senior civil engineering student, added, “the Steel Bridge project truly embodies Cal Poly’s motto ‘Learn by Doing.’ Students are presented with an opportunity to work on a project in all aspects of design, fabrication and business. The students also gain experience in a number of computer analysis programs, milling machines, shop technology and equipment, and improved communication skills in a team environment.”

For complete results, go to

Photo: The Cal Poly Steel Bridge Team included, front row, Eric Babin (senior captain), Shayla Allen (senior captain), Drew Glover (junior captain), Demi Pacifuentes (senior captain) and Angel Trejo (senior captain); second row, Jeremy Gold (senior captain) and Eric Kasper (faculty advisor); and back row, Elizabeth Coffey (junior captain), Tyler Van Iderstein (junior captain), Michael Clark (junior captain) and Jimmyhee Quach (junior captain)


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