The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) named the university host for its prestigious National Concrete Canoe Competition.
Florida Tech is only the second university in Florida to host the 30-year-old event, and will be the only one to host it twice come June 6-9, 2019. Florida Tech previously hosted the event in 1999, and concrete canoes first floated in Florida waters in the 1991 competition at the University of Central Florida.
Under the guidance of Professor Paul Cosentino, who continues to serve as advisor to Florida Tech’s ASCE student chapter, the Panther team won the 1997 competition, defeating teams from University of Alabama and University of California-Berkley.
The 2019 contest is expected to include 26 teams from universities across the United States and Canada, and one international university. They will compete against one another by racing student-designed canoes built entirely out of concrete. Races are expected to be held at Melbourne’s Ballard Park on the Eau Gallie Creek.
In addition to race day, the event will also feature a display day for the teams, their canoes and their projects, and a presentation day where teams make a professional presentation about their projects.
“It is truly a remarkable event that teaches students engineering skills outside of the classroom and exposes them to teamwork, leadership and professionalism,” said senior Quinn Duffy, a civil engineering major and president of the ASCE Student Chapter at Florida Tech who is chairman of the competition and lead author of the winning proposal.
But the competition also starts before any concrete is mixed as universities jockey to host the event, which brings 400 or more students, support staff, spectators and others to campus.
Florida Tech’s winning bid was distinguished by its high level of student involvement. In addition to Duffy, chapter members Malaak Araujo, Lara Eremita, Maria Felicita, Victoria Pavsic, and Derek Ratcliffe helped write and present the proposal.
“This school is too good not to be recognized for its excellence, and this event will showcase Florida Tech and exactly what kind of students we produce,” Duffy said.
Other events during the contest will take place around the Space Coast. Initial plans call for visiting notable attractions such as the Kennedy Space Center, Brevard Zoo, and Cocoa Beach Manatee Sanctuary Park.