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Florida Mentor Student Team Finds Way to Untangle Intersection on way to National Championship

Thu, May 02, 2024 2:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

On the road to their national crown, a student mentor team from Northeast Florida was able to navigate a crowded course, to claim top honors in the 2024 CIRT National Design + Construction Competition. Three “Worthy Finalist” mentor teams competed in the final “in-person” round before a distinguished panel of five-judges vying for the top prize of $5,000 and bragging rights as the national champions. The eventual winner, in a closely contested three-way match, went to the ACE Mentor Program from the Jacksonville, Florida area for their entry solving a highway interchange congestion problem in Boston, MA. The overall competence and creativity in converting an existing tangle of lanes, off ramps, and side roads, into a safer more fluid interchange, that recaptured land for parks, bicycle paths, and walkways, won over the judges.  

The 18th annual competition was part of the Construction Industry Round Table’s (CIRT) spring conference held in downtown Washington, D.C. The three finalist teams survived a grueling process emerging from three categories out of an overall record-tying 64 entries from 24 ACE Mentor Program of America Affiliates. Illinois led all states with a total of nine (9) submissions. Overall, the competition attracted more than 500 students and some 200 plus mentors to submit entries. The panel of judges was led by
Thomas Gilbane, Jr. (Gilbane Building Co.) in the “Thorton Chair” (named in honor of Dr. Charles Thornton, founder of ACE Mentor of America), with: Dan Johnson (Mortenson); Karmyn Babcock (The Weitz Group); Ray Sedey (McCarthy Holdings); and Mara Johnston (Keystone Global/Amaracon Testing and Inspections) joining him.

The order of finish for the competition was:

  • 1st Place and a prize of $5,000 went to: ACE Mentor Program of N.E. Florida, Creekside ACE National Team 1, for their Highway Interchange entry “North Star Interchange 
  • 2nd Place and a prize of $3,000 went to: ACE Mentor Program of Greater New York, NYC DDC/SCA Team 8, for their Olympic Stadium/Iconic Structure entry “Le Stade Eiffel – The Eiffel Stadium” and
  • 3rd Place and a prize of $2,000 went to: ACE Mentor Program of New Jersey, Hawkitects Team, for their Shoreline Design entry “Duo.”

After carefully analyzing the presentations as well as the underlying entry’s design/construction approaches within the project’s objectives, the five-judge panel balanced the outcome on the basis of the two major elements: quality of presentation and competence of the overall entry. The winning team’s solution exhibited a very strong responsiveness to the criteria with particular attention to: (i) finding an ideal site that was in major need of reconfiguration and redesign; (ii) identifying additional intra-modal forms of transportation that could benefit from their proposal, in addition to (iii) reclaiming sufficient land to create a green space/park affording other activities and safe transit across the dense traffic areas that previously were too hazardous for pedestrians. Six other teams were also recognized in the 2024 competition as either First Runner-Up ($1,000 prize) or Second Runner-Up ($500 prize) in each of the tree different design challenges or options. Among this elite group were:

Highway Interchange (out of 4 entries): 1st Runner-Up: ACE Mentor Program of Southeast Nevada, Team Traffic;  2nd Runner-Up: ACE Mentor Program of Southeast Nevada, LV Harmony Team;
Olympic Stadium/Iconic Structure (out of 23 entries): 1st Runner-Up: ACE Mentor of Program of Los Angeles Metro Area, STEM Academy of Hollywood; 2nd Runner-Up: ACE Mentor Program of Illinois, ACE Chicago Team 5; and
Shoreline Design (out of 37 entries): 1st Runner-Up: ACE of Program of Connecticut, ACE New Haven Team 1; 2nd Runner-Up: ACE Mentor Program of Southeast Nevada, MJDL Designs Team.

The CIRT National Design & Construction Competition is a collaborative effort with the ACE Mentor Program of America.

You can watch the Competition in its entirety HERE and see photos from the competition HERE.

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