Construction Challenge National Finals Competition

The Construction Challenge is one of the most important events the construction industry sponsors because it makes the whole country aware of the opportunities available in construction. The 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 we enjoy. The focus of the Stimulus Package on rebuilding the infrastructure dramatically illustrates this importance.

When you look around and personally see just how bad our bridges, roads, waterways, water and sewer systems and the rest of the infrastructure have become you simply can’t ignore it. You can’t pretend it isn’t in bad shape. It is. I don’t know about you but the realization hits home every time we experience a power failure, and over the years they have become more frequent and take longer to fix.

When you drive over pavement that shakes the fillings in your teeth loose, or you hit an unavoidable pothole, or the pavement joints sound and feel more like rumble strips than the road, you have to accept the fact that we as a country need help and that help can only come from the construction industry. Let’s face it, the construction industry is the medical profession that attends to our infrastructure needs.

It’s a tough and challenging industry, demanding, but also rewarding. Look around. Every single structure you see, every mile of road you travel, every airport you fly into or out of, every building you enter, every hospital you visit, every church you attend, every phone you answer, every light you switch on, every stair you climb, every path you walk, every home you occupy, all of this and everything else that gives us the quality of life we enjoy is because contractors and construction workers breathed life into the dreams and fantasies of architects, engineers and designers and gave us all that we desperately need to support our families and jobs. When you think about it, wasn’t it the greatest contractor of all who created, built and gave us this universe?

The industry needs to attract students so that it can continue to deliver the fulfillment of our dreams. The Construction Challenge, sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), is a giant step in that direction. It is a career education initiative that helps develop the workforce of the future with teen participants competing and solving infrastructure, design, and service tech challenges using teamwork, creativity and problem solving.

The national finals of AEM’s Construction Challenge will be held for the first time ever during the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals 2009, May 20-23 in Knoxville, TN, on the campus of the University of Tennessee. Construction Challenge participants will join thousands of other students on campus for the Destination Imagination Global Finals, the world’s largest creative problem solving program for kids.

Global Finals is a culmination of the creativity competition year. It brings team winners representing their state, their province, or their country to compete together at the annual international creative problem solving tournament. Destination ImagiNation Global Finals creates a place where creativity is not only accepted, but it is expected, and the results transcends language. Students in over 40 countries and the United States participate in Destination ImagiNation (DI). Its main program is an unconventional team learning experience where student teams everywhere solve mind-bending challenges.

AEM initiated Construction Challenge to spur interest in construction careers and the need to rebuild our infrastructure. In February 2009, more than 300 teams competed in 15 simultaneous qualifying rallies across the U.S. and in Toronto to secure their spot in the finals.

There are 46 teams from from 21 states/provinces that will compete with and against each other in the finals for scholarships and prizes, as well as learn new skills and network with construction industry leaders.

This year’s three challenges include:

1. Manufacturing Design – Free Flow: designing, manufacturing and testing an operating scale model of construction equipment that moves 600 gallons of free-flowing water down a course – with team-erected barriers directing the water into various holes
2. Service Tech – Piling it On: designing and building one piece of industrial “equipment” that will transport and stack building materials, with a twist: repair technicians from a different team must be trained to fix the team’s equipment, and two repairs must be made during competition
3. Infrastructure – PR Campaign: developing a public event to educate communities about local infrastructure issues – and solutions. Look for dazzling multimedia presentations about the need for roads, bridges, water and sewage infrastructure in local communities across the U.S. and Canada

2009 AEM Construction Challenge Finals Teams And Sponsors

Desert Wind Middle School
, Maricopa (Sponsored by New Holland/Kobelco Construction)
Gilbert High School, Gilbert (Sponsored by JCB)
Desert Ridge High School, Mesa

School of Engineering and Sciences, Sacramento (Sponsored by Kobleco Cranes North America)
Granite Hills High School
, El Cajon (Sponsored by Multiquip Inc.)
School of Engineering and Sciences, Sacramento (Two additional un-sponsored teams)

Overland Trail Middle School
, Brighton (Sponsored by John Deere Construction & Forestry Company)

Carson Middle School
, Greensboro (Sponsored by Sandvik Mining and Construction)

Perspectives IIT/Math & Science
, Chicago (Sponsored by Metso Minerals)
Bartlett High School, Bartlett (Sponsored by WackerNeuson Corporation)
New Trier High School, Winnetka

Lawrence High School
, Lawrence (Sponsored by Case Construction Equipment)

Southeastern Regional Vocational High School
, S. Easton
Elizabeth Hastings Middle School, Fairhaven (Sponsored by Liebherr Mining Equipment Company)
Stoughton High School, Stoughton

Cloquet Senior High School
, Cloquet

St. Therese Catholic School (Middle School)
, Kansas City
(Two teams competing, one team sponsored by American Rental Association)
Antioch Middle School, Gladstone

Manhattan Christian School
, Manhattan (Sponsored by Stone Construction Equipment, Inc.)

New Hampshire
Monadnock Regional High School
, Swanzey (Sponsored by Terex Corporation)

North Dakota
Northern Cass School (High School)
, Hunter (Sponsored by Trimble)

Whitmer High School
, Toledo (Sponsored by LBX Company – Link Belt Excavators)
Centerville High School, Centerville
Lorain Co. JVS (High School), Oberlin
Tecumseh Middle School, New Carlisle (Sponsored by Astec Industries)

Perry High School
, Perry (Sponsored by Ditch Witch)
West Middle School, Ponca City (Sponsored by AED)

Berks Career and Technical Center (High School)
, Onley (Sponsored by Volvo Construction Equipment)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School
, Nashville (Sponsored by Volvo Construction Equipment)

Cleburne High School
, Cleburne
Wylie High School, Abilene
Dallas Area Team – with students from Martin High School (Arlington), Richardson High School (Richardson), Pearce High School (Richardson) and Parkhill Jr High School (Richardson) (Sponsored by Kobleco Cranes North America)
Wylie Jr. High School, Abilene (Sponsored by Mahindra)

New Horizons Regional Education Center (High School)
, Hampton (Sponsored by Liebherr Construction Equipment Company)

Meridian High School
, Bellingham (Sponsored by Cygnus Business Media)
Puget Sound Skills Center (High School), Burien
Frontier Jr. High School, Graham (Sponsored by Atlas Copco Construction Tools LLC)

Little Chute High School
, Little Chute
Hartford Union High School, Hartford (Sponsored by Metso Minerals)
Hamilton High School, Milwaukee
Kenosha School of Enhanced Technology Curriculum (Middle School), Kenosha (Sponsored by Astec Industries)

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Fisherville Junior High School
, Toronto (Sponsored by Manitowoc)
Lakeshore Collegiate Institute, Toronto
Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School, Toronto (Sponsored by International Truck)

The Construction Challenge Finals schedule can be found here. We will post the results as soon as they are available.

Greg Sitek

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