CH2M HILL served as a platinum sponsor for the Georgia Regional Future Cities competition held on January 26, 2013 at Southern Polytechnic State University. As one of the largest regional competitions, the Georgia event attracted 104 teams from 29 middle schools.
Employees were excited to support this event to inspire the next generation of innovators and city leaders with a total of 15 CH2M HILL employees from the Atlanta offices volunteering with the program through team mentoring, judging and volunteering the day of the competition.
“Both my wife, an interior designer, and I, an architect, volunteered for this event not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. It was a fun-filled morning that was not only enlightening but also educational. It is really amazing what middle school students learn these days. The student’s enthusiasm, thoughts, imagination and ideas for what a future city of 150 years out would be like were just amazing. It was a fun experience and we as architects, interior designers, engineers, and professionals should get more involved to support these children, after all they are The Children of the Future,” shared volunteer Jan Wisniewski.
Atlanta staff examine the model from Queen of Angels Catholic School in Roswell.
Cindy Miller, a mentor for a team from Queen of Angels Catholic School in Roswell, Georgia arranged for her team to meet CH2M HILL water engineers in the Atlanta office beforehand to present their city and prepare for the competition.
Close-up of the city model from Queen of Angels Catholic School in Roswell.
Special awards judging
CH2M HILL sponsored three awards at the competition: Most Holistic Approach, Best Research Essay and Best Management of Water Resources.
“As a special awards judge, I was able to meet the student competitors, witness their presentation skills, acknowledge the parents and proud coaches standing by and interact with members of my business group that I had not yet met. It always gives me amazing pride and delight to see the perseverance and experience the brilliance of each child – knowing that my future will be that much more sustainable with minds like that at the helm,” shared Maia Watkins.
Saint Theresa School received the award for Best Management of Water Resources.
“The experience of judging was very rewarding as a person and professionally. It was wonderful to witness students with such knowledge and enthusiasm around the technical aspects of city operations. I am looking forward to participating again next year,” said Tami Hamilin.
Proving real-world context at the finals
David Bell in the Water Business Group served as a finalist judge and spoke to the students prior to final judging about CH2M HILL and the importance of storm water management in city planning now and in the future.
“It was a great experience and very impressive to see the creative talent pool that is coming down the pipeline,” David said. “These kids are smart and can think very holistically about to how to solve complex problems. It was also great to see the teamwork involved to prepare their models and their presentations.”
Can’t volunteer at the competition, there are plenty of opportunities to support Future City
Employees also appreciated the opportunity to support Future City in advance of the final competition day. The city model and presentations are one and two of the five components, with the Virtual City Design, Research Essay (this year’s theme was Rethink Runoff), and City Narrative making up 190 of the total 400 possible points for each team.
- The award for best research essay went to Snellville Middle School.
“As far as encouraging others, I would highlight that the role I played (as an essay and city narrative judge) allowed me to invest a handful of hours over a 2- to 3-week period at my convenience. It gives you the satisfaction of supporting the program without worrying whether it will fit into your schedule. The essays and narratives were very interesting and made me see the importance of exposing these young students to real issues and mentors who have science, technology and engineering experience,” said volunteer Frank Smith.
Engineer Nick Gritz added, “While acting as a judge for the SimCity models I was blown away by the amount of detail and design that went into the simulation. The students had to consider city zoning, different ways to generate power, and waste recycling.”
Thank you to all the Atlanta area employees who volunteered to support Future City:
- Heather Bowman
- Thomas Ross
- Betty Wood
- Susan Canon
- Maia Watkins
- Kevin Middlebrooks
- Jan Wisniewski
- Irene Nath
- Nick Gritz
- Frank Smith
- David Bell
- Paige Horton
- Angela Barch
- Tami Hanlin
- Bethany Myers
- Cindy Miller