Irvine, Calif. — Michael Baker International is mixing creativity, showmanship and a little elbow grease to support an important cause in Orange County, Calif. Employees in the company’s Irvine office rolled up their sleeves for the 2015 Canstruction Orange County competition, part of a national effort to raise awareness of the ongoing problem of hunger in local communities around the world. Competitors are stacking canned goods in inventive ways at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. through September 27.

This is the fifth year that Michael Baker’s Irvine office has competed with other architectural and engineering firms in Orange County to design and build thematic structures made entirely out of canned food. The completed designs remain on display throughout the month of September for review by both judges and the public. Following the event, Canstruction donates all canned food used in the creation of the displays to local hunger relief organizations.

“During Michael Baker’s yearlong 75th anniversary commemoration, we’re committed to showing how we at Michael Baker strive to give back to our communities,” said Michael A. Tylman, Irvine office executive for Michael Baker International. “It’s part of our local focus.  Our involvement in Canstruction’s mission ‘to feed and inspire the world — one can at a time,’ demonstrates how ‘We Make a Difference’ in the communities we serve.”

“Michael Baker’s long-running participation in this competition makes it clear that they understand the need to feed those less fortunate in our communities,” said Mark Lowry, executive director of the Orange County Food Bank. “We’re always excited to see what they’ve designed and how they bring their vision to life.  And it’s all for a very important cause.”

Michael Baker’s Canstruction entry, “Riding a Wave of Emotion…We emoti-CAN End Hunger,” took 16 team members more than seven hours to complete. The team modeled the structure after the ever-popular emoticons used in texting and email.  It stands 10 feet wide by 10 feet long and nine feet tall. The structure is comprised of more than 5,000 cans of food and sports beverage bottles collected by Michael Baker employees.

Recognized as an innovator in promoting global hunger relief, Canstruction hosts annual competitions and exhibit events in more than 150 cities around the world, leading to the collection and donation of nearly 30 million pounds of food to the needy since 1992.  The American Institute of Architects, Can Manufacturing Institute, and the Society for Design Administration support Canstruction in this important effort.