T&D World Magazine

Students Meet Construction Equipment Challenge

A team of Perry High School students has been selected a regional winner in the Construction Equipment Challenge competition sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), an international trade association representing companies that manufacture equipment, products and provide services used worldwide in the construction, utility, agricultural, mining, and forestry fields.

The seven-member team from Perry is sponsored in the event by The Charles Machine Works, Inc., manufacturer of Ditch Witch equipment, and a member of AEM.

The Perry team was one of more than 150 teams participating in regional competition held in five states on January 12 and is the only team from Oklahoma entered in the event. They travel to Las Vegas to participate in the finals March 10-14, held in conjunction with the 2008 ConExpo-Con/Agg show, the largest construction trade event in North America. Fifty-one teams will compete in the final competition.

"The kids were excited to come away from the Texas regional rally qualifying for the nationals, and now we're focusing on preparations for final competition," said Jeff Zagar, Perry High School technology education teacher and team manager. Team members are Daniel Cross, Trevor Kukuk, Dakota Johnson, Kelsey Cave, Cassandra Bratcher, Amy Bieberdorf, and Evan Williams.

Zagar said competition consists of three segments:

  • A Dialogue component that include research-based presentations and debates about industry infrastructure issues and how they affect quality of life;
  • The Road Warrior segment challenges each team to use a "box" of parts and pieces to explore infrastructure issues and suggest and implement a solution with team- created ideas for equipment;
  • The Product Development segment focuses on research, design, and development and on marketing communications methods to promote industry products and services.

Construction Challenge final competition will be held over three days followed on the fourth day with award ceremonies. In addition, team members will have the opportunity to tour the show and meet with exhibitors.

Commenting that the construction industry will create more than one million new jobs by 2012, AEM senior vice president Al Cervero said the Construction Challenge was developed as an effective way to share that information and to educate the public about the growing demand for skilled workers.

"We were looking for a new way to reach young people, parents, teachers and counselors with the variety of career opportunities the construction industry has to offer," said Al Cervero, AEM senior vice president.

To develop and implement the Construction Challenge, AEM partnered with ImagiNation, Inc., a community-based organization that has developed programs that build participants’ creativity, problem solving, and teamwork skills.

Based in Perry, Oklahoma, The Charles Machine Works, Inc., is a leading manufacturer of underground utility construction equipment. The Ditch Witch product line includes trenchers, horizontal directional drilling systems, vibratory plows, vacuum excavators, compact skid-steer loaders, electrical utility locators, and related products.


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