Built Different: UF Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Defeat Regional Competition

The University of Florida’s American Society of Civil Engineers (UF ASCE) Concrete Canoe and Eckhoff Steel Bridge teams made history, again. The two design teams placed first in their regional competitions and the collective group, UF ASCE, placed first overall at the Southeast ASCE Student Symposium which was held from March 23 to 25 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.  

Concrete Canoe 

The Concrete Canoe team paddled its way to first place with Incinegator, named due to the coal incineration along the side of the canoe. The team described it as “a canoe prepared to ignite a fire in its wake.”  

“We aimed to highlight life-cycle sustainability assessments as a tool to make concrete environmental gains in the face of a changing climate,” said Lance Fischer, a fourth-year environmental engineering student and project manager on the team. “Many hours went into finishing the canoe over the past two months.” 

Jackson Carcaba, a third-year civil engineering student and also a project manager on the team, credits the group for the effort put forth from the beginning. “We have 12 core captains and 14 technicians that make the execution of the project possible. Lance and I may have gotten most of the praise, but they all made our lives easier through their commitment to their respective duties, and I can’t express the level of appreciation I have for every one of them.” 

The team is preparing to scorch the competition at nationals in the ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championships at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville on June 10. 

Steel Bridge 

This year, the Student Steel Bridge Competition tasked students to design an innovative prototype bridge that could be used on the Sweetwater River to provide San Diego National Wildlife Refuge visitors access trails along the river.  

“The ASCE Regional Conference hosts more than just the Steel Bridge Competition. It is a good opportunity to learn more about the other design teams in the organization, get to know fellow students, and show our support for them,” said Anthony Perez Ortegon, a second-year civil engineering student and logistics manager on the team. 

Joseph Brock Sullivan, a first-year structural engineering graduate student and project manager on the team, said the group’s success came from the support of faculty and advisors along with hard work and determination of team members. 

“Winning is obviously the biggest highlight of the competition. After nearly nine months of preparation and hard work, nothing is more gratifying than knowing that we are the best in our region and will compete on the national stage again,” Sullivan said.  

Winning your region to earn a place in this annual national competition is a tremendous accomplishment for any school,” said Robert Thieke, Ph.D., a concrete canoe faculty advisor and civil engineering department head. 

UF will be competing for an unprecedented third consecutive national championship in steel bridge. 

The Student Steel Bridge Competition National Finals on June 2 will be hosted at the University of California, San Diego.  


Reba Liddy 

Marketing and Communications Specialist