TAMPA, FLA. — The Florida Prestressed Concrete Association (FPCA) has announced that a team comprised of six University of South Florida civil engineering students finished in first place overall in the national Student Engineering Design Competition (also called the “Big Beam Contest”) sponsored by PCI and Sika Corp.

In this annual design competition student teams representing over fifty major universities across North American, are given a real world engineering design problem and then with the supervision of a faculty advisor and the support of a local prestressed concrete producer, the students design, help fabricate, and then test a precast/prestressed concrete beam.

After the final beam testing, the students complete a detailed report and based on that report are judged on the basis of design accuracy, cost, accurate prediction of load capacity, report quality, innovation and practicality of design.

The winning student team members from USF’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are: Rick Cole, Justin Duncan, Frank Holz, Joe Paleveda, Jonida Pone, and Christopher Snee. Faculty advisor was: Dr. Rajan Sen. The sponsoring precast concrete producer was Standard Concrete Products Inc., Tampa (John Robertson).

Students from the winning team will share in a total of $2,000 prize money awarded by the SIKA Corporation. FPCA though the FPCA Education Foundation will award USF’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering an unrestricted gift of $2,000 for the student team’s winning efforts.

The students from the winning team, faculty from USF’s College of Engineering and representatives of Standard Concrete Products will be honored at an awards ceremony to be held in Tampa, Fl on Friday, Oct. 29, 2010.