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Sources: Chad Banka,;
and Brady Hedstrom,
News release prepared by: Megan Wilson, 785-532-6415,

Friday, May 15, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's Steel Bridge Design Team has advanced to the national Student Steel Bridge Competition May 22-23 in Las Vegas, Nev.

The K-State team placed second at the recent steel bridge design contest at the American Society of Civil Engineers Mid-Continent Conference, which was at the University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale, Ill. K-State was among 12 teams competing.

In addition, a three-member K-State team placed first in a surveying event, a side competition at the conference. In the timed competition, teams had to measure two sloped distances with steel tapes and a plumb bob, then measure elevations of two points with a level.

For the steel bridge competition, students design and erect a scaled steel bridge by themselves but may seek advice from faculty and student organization advisers. Judging criteria includes the aesthetics of the bridge and display, overall weight of the bridge, time to construct the bridge at competition and the deflection of the bridge with 2,500 pounds of weight loaded on it. Students typically design the bridge and find sponsorships in the fall semester, then fabricate the bridge in a department of civil engineering shop in the spring semester.

Chad Banka, senior, Overland Park, and co-chair of the K-State Steel Bridge Design Team, said the team barely missed coming in first at the regional competition.

"The team has worked very hard to get where we are today," Banka said. "At the regional competition, the difference in first and second place was 4.4 pounds, eight seconds of build time or a deflection of .031 inches -- that's about the thickness of seven sheets of paper. Anyone of those would have put us in first.

"We are not disappointed in any way. We are ready to place very well at nationals, and with the few changes we have made to our bridge since regionals, we are ready to take on the competition," he said.

Also serving as co-chair of the team is Brady Hedstrom, senior in civil engineering, Chapman.

The contest is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction, and co-sponsored by the American Iron and Steel Institute, Bentley Systems, the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation, the National Steel Bridge Alliance, Nucor Corporation and the Steel Structure Education Foundation.

The K-State team's faculty adviser is Hayder Rasheed, associate professor of civil engineering.

Members of the K-State team, all civil engineering majors unless otherwise noted, include:

Logan Mills, junior, Clearwater; Nathan Whitcomb, senior and a member of the first-place surveying team, Cottonwood Falls; Will Pyles, senior, El Dorado; Jacob Roth, sophomore in mechanical engineering, Ellinwood; Kenny Engholm, senior, Emmett; Brandon Heavener, freshman, Emporia; Rob Murphy, senior, Girard.

From Greater Kansas City: Allen Chestnut, senior, Mission; Sam Corey, freshman, and Laura Rachelle White, junior and a member of the first-place surveying team, both from Overland Park; Douglas Duncan, senior, and Cody Kalivoda, junior, both from Olathe; and Shane Albritton, senior, Matt Arnold, junior, Jon Spicer, junior, and Rachel Spicer, sophomore, all from Shawnee.

Steve Hammerschmidt, graduate student, Hays; Andy Shearrer, sophomore, Haysville; Brett Blackwell, senior, Herington; Trevor Fenton, senior, Holcomb; Kurt Hershey, junior, Hugoton; Jordan Dettmer, senior, Kensington; Jake Ferrell, senior, Leon; Jose Donjuan, junior, Liberal; Joey Holste, graduate student, Ludell.

From Manhattan: Chyngyz Sherniiazov, sophomore; James Philip Gibson, freshman in industrial engineering; Evan Post, sophomore; and Lance Stoddard, senior.

Elizabeth Rawson, senior, Marquette; Cody Cates, senior and a member of the first-place surveying team, and Michael Heigert, senior, both from Pomona; Scott Fischer, senior, Valley Falls; Tyler Ummel, junior, Wakeeney; and Pat Sheedy, graduate student, Yates Center.

From out of state: Wilson Smith, senior, Independence, Mo.; Stephen Kaiser, senior, Papillion, Neb.; and Eric Dvorak, senior, Cibolo, Texas.