Prepare as a Sixth Grader

By Edgar Ortusiastigue, CH2M HILL associate project manager

Edgar with a Future City

On January 19, I had the terrific opportunity to act as a judge for the Southern Nevada Regional Future City competition. The day started with a 2.5 hour drive from beautiful Barstow, Calif. to Las Vegas, Nev. The competition started with a kickoff celebration where the kids were reminded the main purpose of the event was to have fun and they had no reason to be nervous.

Judges hard at work assessing the city designs and models.

I was under the impression that I was going to have more than enough time to rank/judge/comment my 6 teams (almost 4 hours) but I was wrong! It was amazing to see these kids in action; they had all their design points covered from sustainability, safety, transportation, entertainment to energy and water consumption. One team started the presentation in a foreign language because their future city was location in France; it was amazing to witness the preparation that the kids put into this event. I was so impressed. There was one team that incorporated a “natural” water treatment plant with specific plants based on the climate of their city’s location. There was another team that incorporated a “safe” elementary school with bullet proof and high-tech sensor cameras due to the events in Newtown, Conn. It is an amazing opportunity to be part of these events as a volunteer; the kids really admire and want to be engineers or scientist. It was very gratifying to me when one student asked me if I would be willing to build a machine to eliminate all plastic bottles because they pollute his park. Everybody should volunteer in their local communities, it was a great way to network, support our company’s efforts and have fun. At the end, the 5-hour round-trip drive was definitely worth it. I was reminded that we need to be more creative, think outside our boundaries, prepare and lead as a sixth grader would in a Future City competition.

One of the student’s city models.










It’s Engineers Week, take this fun quiz

According to a 2012 survey by Manpower Inc., engineering ranked globally as the second most difficult jobs for employers to fill and engineering ranked no. 1 in the Americas. And, a recent survey by Harris Interactive found that 85 percent of kids say that they are not interested in a future engineering career.

The need to develop a robust talent pipeline of technical talent is a business imperative for CH2M HILL. That is why we have supported Engineers Week—taking place this week February 17-23—for more than 15 years as our flagship educational outreach program. Each year hundreds of CH2M HILL employees go into schools and after-school programs to share their passion for engineering and engage thousands of students across the country in fun, hands-on activities in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of engineers.

In celebration of EWeek, we invite you to test your knowledge on the outlook of the engineering industry and learn some fun facts about engineers at CH2M HILL through this EWeek quiz. Review the correct answers.

CH2M HILL mentored team from NYC advances to national finals

Students and judges hard at work on the regional competition day

On January 19, CH2M HILL mentors joined 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from Columbia Secondary School (CSS) – a math, science and engineering focused middle school in Harlem, at the SONY Wonder Technology Lab in the heart of mid-town Manhattan for the regional Future City competition. This was one of several regional competitions that CH2M HILL supported through its sponsorship of the  2013 National Engineers Week Foundation’s annual Future City Competition. The Competition is designed to spark 6th, 7th, and 8th grade student’s interest in science, technology and math through a fun, interactive challenge in which kids conceptualize, design and build cities of the future with guidance from professional folks from the A/E/C industry.

Sunshine City Winning Team Model

This year’s competition theme was, Rethink Runoff: Design Clean Solutions to Manage Stormwater Pollution. As a leading stormwater engineering firm, CH2M HILL had 10 New York City staff mentor middle school students at CSS. Beginning in October 2012, mentors supported students at CSS through in-class visits, lecturing on urban planning and stormwater management, and leading a hands-on exercise demonstrating basic infiltration principles. Volunteers also spent time reviewing and commenting on the student’s essays in the office. On January 19th, several CH2M HILL employees were on-hand to serve as judges at the New York City regional competition.

The dedication of mentors and volunteers paid off with multiple wins for CSS teams at the regional competition including:

- Best Stormwater Management Strategy, Sunshine City
- Most Futuristic Design, New Sugar City
- Best Airport System, Watergreen City
- Best Education System, New Sugar City

Sunshine City team wins 1st place at the NYC regionals

And a special congratulation goes out to the 1st place winners, ‘Sunshine City’, who advanced to the National Competition in Washington, D.C. during National Engineers Week 2013. Today the team was busy reconstructing their model for the final Students and judges hard at work on the regional competition daycompetition. Preliminary judging takes place on President’s Day with the final presentations and national winner crowned on February 19.

“Seeing the dedication, excitement, and ingenuity of the kids participating in Future Cities reminded me of my days as a student. It was participation in events like this that gave my education greater purpose and direction and ultimately led me to a career in engineering. It is so fun to have a chance to pay it forward and invest in the future of engineering,” said Kate Marney, project engineer and New York City Future City Mentor.


Another Great Year

Stacey Lamer, CH2M HILL, Future City Mentor

Team Tempestas Aqua: (from left back row) Luke Longren, Sophia Swanson, Elizabeth Zollner, Laura Phillips, Cailyn Zicker, Lily Kenn, and Jane Schinkel (not pictured).

The Great Plains Region Future City Competition was held at Kansas State University on Saturday, January 25, 2013 with 62 teams in attendance. Team Tempestas Aqua from West Middle School in Lawrence, Kansas fared well despite the illness of a speech team member on competition day. Their narrative was ranked 1st. And they received the Mother Earth Award for a design that had the most innovative concept for improving the environment. Check out their poster: CCC Poster 20×30.

The winning team, Manh Me Re from Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, Colorado, will represent the Great Plains Region in Washington on February 15–20, 2013.

CH2M HILL’s Most Holistic City Award went to Team Hydration Nation from Yeokum Middle School in Belton, Missouri.

On another exciting note, the Southwest Middle School Future City Team from Lawrence, Kansas participated in the CH2M HILL sponsored Rain Barrel Workshop. Their efforts during the Great Plains Region Future City competition were recognized on Channel 6 on February 3, 2013.

Team Tempestas receiving the Mother Earth Award.

TEMPESTAS AQUA Team’s City Narrative In the early 21st century a small community in Ireland was struggling to manage runoff. Now, in the year 2162, that same community is one of the most advanced cities in the world. Tempestas Aqua (Latin for stormwater), is named after the very element that had caused a severe economic decline in the past.

Tempestas Aqua is a beautiful city off the coast of Ventry Bay, a small harbor in County Kerry, Ireland. This 150 year old city has a population of 8,000 people with a median age of 33 years old. It is known for its beautiful seaside, ranging from dramatic cliffs to stunning beaches. Tempestas Aqua is a popular destination for swimming, surfing, and sailing, as well as a resting spot for seals and other aquatic animals.

Tempestas Aqua Model

Because of Tempestas Aqua’s beautiful landscape and archeological ruins, it is a popular tourist city. People flock from all over the world to see the Dunbeg, an Iron Age defense fort, and the 1650’s Knight of Kerry Rahinnane Castle. These historic sites are married with unique current-day infrastructure that is built to be energy efficient while also adding to the natural beauty of the nearby Mount Eagle by incorporating biomimicry. Almost every structure is built with natural limestone, which is the native rock in that area. Dingle Peninsula is one of the few areas in the world where Gaelic is still spoken—a key reason why this isolated community has maintained its rural heritage while embracing new technological advances.The CCC (Condensation Collection Canopy), Sky Generator, and PARA (Piezoelectric Air Redirection Array) were developed by forward-thinking engineers to provide water management and clean energy for the entire city. The CCC is a radar-activated, nearly-invisible net that collects precipitation above the city and funnels it to the Sky Generator, a high-tech hydropower plant that achieves near 100% efficiency. The excessive rainfall that once hindered the city now produces enough energy for nearly the entire population. The CCC also provides more than enough water for vertical farm irrigation, as well as for human consumption. All energy not produced by the CCC is generated by floating windmills. The PARA is a net-zero energy system providing a clean impervious landscape for all pavement systems using piezoelectric power produced by vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The city is economically driven by tourism and fishing which provides an adequate tax base to support city services. Tempestas Aqua has exceptional medical facilities. The city public hospital, Cathrach Phoibli Ospideal, has medical staff highly skilled in advanced procedures, further attracting visitors and residents. Tempestas Aqua’s well-trained police department has virtually eliminated crime within the city, and the ambulance and fire response time is less than two minutes. There is a primary, middle, and high school, all of which are ranked in the top 100 nationally. There is also a veterinary clinic and a wildlife conservation center.

With all these innovations, the beautiful landscape, and a very unique culture, Tempestas Aqua is one of the top destinations in the world.