American Structurepoint Named Design Firm of the Year

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Just wow! Everyone at American Structurepoint is so honored to be named 2018 Design Firm of the Year by ENR Midwest. We are beyond gratified and so honored to achieve industry recognition for delivering quality projects for the communities we serve.

A blog on the ENR website said this about us, “The depth and breadth of American Structurepoint’s work really set the 52-year-old firm apart … and won over a majority of the voting editors at ENR.”

Several of our projects celebrated grand openings in 2017, among them the BlueSky Technology Partners headquarters, Purdue Technology Center Aerospace, the South Bend Smarts Street initiative,  and the State Route 83-Mills Road Roundabout in Lorain County, Ohio. Other projects had groundbreakings in 2017 – the Market Avenue Phase III road project in Terre Haute, the CEDIA headquarters in Fishers, and the 35,000-sft Hammond Sportsplex and Community Center.

We also were part of a team honored by ENR Midwest for the 2017 Project of the Year, the East End Crossing project. American Structurepoint designed Section 6 of the East End Crossing that included 4 miles of SR 625, reconstruction of two interchange ramps, and designing 17 bridges.

ENR Midwest  has tracked our growth over the past several years. American Structurepoint has consistently held a spot in the top 15 of ENR Midwest’s Top Design Firms ranking since 2010. We jumped two spots to No. 13 this year with $82.27 million in revenue in 2017, up from the $74.36 million in the previous year.

Our people make all of this possible. Our employees continually demonstrate the drive, talent, and commitment to delivering excellence and innovation to our clients on time and on budget. I am so proud of the entire American Structurepoint team and even better, looking forward to delivering top-notch projects for each and every client in the years ahead.

 

 

 

American Structurepoint Project Used in Purdue Roundabout Study

106th Street and Springmill Road, Carmel, Indiana

The 106th Street and Springmill Road roundabout project was used as a major source of data for a new research study at Purdue University. Best Practices for Roundabouts on State Highways (SPR-3530) has been published in the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP) series, with the help of American Structurepoint resources.

This report presents a series of research findings from an investigation into roundabout operations. It offers a comparison of several analysis tools for estimating roundabout performance. It also offers a review of roundabout lighting practices, as well as a review of considerations for roundabout site selection.

Several American Structurepoint employees assisted with the research for this project, including Craig Parks, who served on the research SAC committee.

The JTRP series is incorporated in the Purdue Library Digital Commons collections, and usage statistics are tracked via Google Analytics. Click here to read the report.

Mimicking Solutions in Nature to Improve Structural Performance

biomimicry
Engineers are always searching for innovative solutions to address the needs of clients and to answer global issues. Through the study of biomimicry, engineers apply sustainable design principles based on those already perfected in nature. Examples of this “bio-push” include the invention of solar cells inspired by plant leaves and the creation of high-strength fibers developed from spider silk, which may have applications in high-performance technical textiles, sporting goods, medical textiles, or surgical products.

Purdue University’s Pablo Zavattieri, assistant professor of civil engineering with a courtesy appointment in mechanical engineering, is studying marine life to find a solution for the creation of stronger structural materials. “Materials in nature not only satisfy a structural function in many remarkable ways, but they also sense, adapt, and self-heal,” Zavattieri says. “Nature builds strong and tough materials using modest building blocks.”

By studying how the nacreous (thick inner) layer of an abalone shell is able to have toughness, strength, and stiffness simultaneously, Zavattieri’s long-term goal is to create stronger walls and structural components of bridges, roads, and buildings that can save energy and “self-heal” or adapt during natural disasters. The concept for these multifunctional materials and other ideas were also inspired by his discussions with biologists, materials scientists, chemists, physicists, and other engineers working on structural challenges.

Zavattieri, who has a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering and a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics, previously received a National Science Foundation Career award to explore some of the bold and innovative ideas regarding to biomimetics. I was fortunate to hear about his more recent research during the Purdue University School of Civil Engineering Advisory Council meeting on April 12, 2013. As a member of the Advisory Council, I provide advice and counsel to the School of Civil Engineering on industry trends and opportunities for civil engineering students, graduates, and faculty. However, at this particular meeting, it was I who learned some new and valuable information about advancements in engineering from Zavattieri, who spoke during the session.

During his presentation, Zavattieri discussed the lessons engineers can learn from marine life. The abalone shell, specifically, is composed of fracture resistant materials. The nacre of an abalone shell is a tough and ductile bio-composite that is optimized for tension through a well-designed microstructure based on sliding, locking “tablets” that distribute damage or strain while upholding their toughness. According to Zavattieri, such advanced, high-performance materials will be essential for future human well-being and will be the foundation for emerging technologies. The study of biomimetics helps address this critical need.

Read more about Zavattieri and other innovative engineers here.

Purdue Panel – Consulting in an Engineering Space

College Students

On April 2, 2013, I was honored to participate on a panel at Purdue University, where I had the opportunity to speak to students enrolled in an elite capstone course called the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. The course, with 16 handpicked students consisting of mostly seniors, worked in teams of four and has been engaging with local business clients on a consulting project all semester.

My spot on the panel delved into my experience leading an engineering consulting firm. From this engagement, it was important for the students to note that with consulting the overall goal is to become the trusted advisor—for everything. A consultant should provide value, create things that make the client’s life easier or more profitable, produce results, and generate more value than the competition.

Lastly, the students also learned if an engineering consulting company like American Structurepoint wants to produce effective results, it must “think backwards.” Creativity and people skills are essential. Be likeable, trustworthy, innovative, make informed decisions, and gain experience. Put yourself in the clients’ shoes.

ASCE 2013 Bridge Bust Competition Teaches Hoosier High School Students Valuable Engineering Skills on a Global Scale

Everyone on the planet today is so close, so connected. There’s no doubt we all play in a “global sandbox.”

Civil engineers solve global infrastructure problems. Their solutions have an enormous impact that affects generations. What better way to teach aspiring engineers about the real-world application of engineering concepts than by telling high school students about my own passion for engineering?

I was fortunate to be invited as the featured guest speaker by Purdue University and the Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers to present my thoughts on civil engineering to more than 100 students from 13 different high schools across Indiana. These students were participating in the 34th Annual ASCE Bridge Bust Competition, held on March 1 at the Armory on the Purdue University Campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.

I not only gave the students a pep talk for the balsa wood bridge building competition, but I encouraged them to consider engineering as a career path. Engineers are decision makers with unique problem-solving abilities and are grounded in a strong math and science background. We are creative thinkers who can use our analytical skills to develop amazing solutions. We are natural leaders who work well in teams and possess a strong work ethic. You put all this in a bowl and stir it up, and you get vision! And it takes vision to solve the world’s infrastructure problems on a global scale.

The Sky’s the Limit

Replicating the world’s infrastructure problems on a smaller scale, the Bridge Bust Competition gave students the opportunity to use balsa wood and glue to design and construct a “bridge” that was aesthetically pleasing, demonstrated sound structural concepts, and maximized the ratio of the load capacity to the bridge mass. They used advanced math, science, physics, and technology skills to solve their first civil engineering “problem,” similar to the bridge engineers working at American Structurepoint. Bridges were judged in two categories—structural strength and aesthetic qualities.

The valuable lessons students learned from the competition included how to:

  • Arrange the members and connections in a bridge for efficiency, strength and constructability to carry a load;
  • Select durable, renewable materials;
  • Meet all the geometric constraints of size, including width, length, and height;
  • Satisfy aesthetic standards;
  • Deliver the bridge project on time and ready for use; and
  • Build a bridge at a reasonable cost.

By using their best judgment and “hidden” engineering skills, the students successfully solved the bridge problem just like engineers did 150 years ago, and in many ways, like our engineers do today, using the same principals.

In the real world, their efficient designs would translate into saving time and money for a client. A successful bridge project would not only help connect two roads, bringing towns and people closer together, but it may also spur economic development and job growth. I personally believe these types of achievements by civil engineers on a global scale will help drive the world economy in a more positive direction.

Students from the Plymouth Community School Corporation won first and second place for structural strength, while students from Northwestern and Paxton won first and second place, respectively, for aesthetics. Coming in third for structural strength was Greenwood, and in third for aesthetics was Centerville. The first place team in each category was awarded a $100 cash scholarship. The second place team in each category was awarded a $50 cash scholarship. The third place team in each category was awarded Purdue University apparel.

After congratulating the winning students, I encouraged all the participants of the Bridge Bust Competition to major in engineering, because with an engineering education, the opportunities are endless. The sky’s the limit!