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Hawaii ACE Mentor Program Takes Top Honors in National Design Competition

Sat June 30, 2007 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The ACE Mentor Program of Hawaii took home top honors as the winning entry in the first annual CIRT-ACE Design Competition conducted in conjunction with the Construction Industry Round Table’s (CIRT) Spring Conference in Washington, DC. Hawaii had been one of three national finalists vying for a first place prize of $3,000 and bragging rights as the best student design presented by an affiliate.

“Our team has learned how to collaborate to create a final product, as well as meet deadlines — all of which are very important life skills,” stated the Hawaii team.

Chief Judge Charles Thornton, pointed out that the official package also reflected these sentiments when it noted that, “more important than the actual design solution, are the methods and processes used to arrive at a solution.”

The design competition was launched as a collaborative effort between CIRT, which represents the senior executives of many of the leading firms heavily involved with ACE, and the ACE Mentor Program of America as a means for CIRT to support the program as well as bring attention and focus to its important efforts to reach out to high school students who may be interested in better understanding design in the construction industry. To that end, ACE has been expanding rapidly over the past few years with a volunteer network of mentors and students arrayed in a national affiliates system.

The design challenges were actual projects that attempted to stress the practical aspects of the profession, particularly with respect to constructability, use of materials, meeting deadlines, and establishing reasonable expenses or budgets. The three national finalists submitted entries tackling different challenges:

• Hawaii’s entry, titled “A Honu World,” offered a whole new approach to children’s playgrounds where island history, tradition, ecology, and fun all came together in the shape of the sea turtle (“honu”).

• New York City’s team presented “The SHELL-ter” a single person, self-contained shelter intended for use in case natural disasters or emergencies displace a large number of people in a given area.

• Kansas City’s team designed a small sports complex using sustainability approaches and methods named “The Darwiche Memorial Sports Pavilion” (in honor of a teenage girl killed in a nearby neighborhood) that would offer kids and young adults an oasis of sporting and community activity to escape the local streets.

The teams were judged on four major elements: creativity, quality of presentation, design process, and design elements/aspects. The thought and effort that went into each of the entries, including the honorable mentions (from Fredrick, Md.; Dallas, Texas; and Rhode Island), reflected on the collaborative approach created between the students and mentors, which is at the very heart of the ACE program.

“The true goal is to judge the ability of the students to make coherent, well thought out, clear presentations on their team’s design/construction approaches within the project’s objectives,” stated Mark A. Casso, president of CIRT.

The Round Table intends to hold its second design competition in 2008.

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