Western Engineering students win Ontario Centres of Excellence Connections Competition

Western Engineering students placed first overall in the University category of the Connections Competition at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery Conference in Toronto this week. The team from Western, who partnered with the City of London, presented their design project of a cable-stayed pedestrian bridge.

The team, comprised of Rob Volcko, Thomas Zolis, Emily Keyes, Marco Furano, and Arthur Gonzales, was tasked with designing a wheelchair accessible pedestrian bridge over the CN Rail tracks within the Talbot Street right of way at Bathurst Street as requested in the City of London’s Transportation Master Plan and the SoHo (South of Horton Street) Community Improvement plan. Their design was a 25-metre span cable-stayed structure with reinforced concrete piers, traction bearing elevators, and a full glass curtain wall finish.

Western’s team finished ahead of other teams from the University of Toronto, Queens University, the University of Waterloo, and McMaster University to capture the $2,000 first prize.

“We want to extend our sincere thanks to our internal and external project advisors, professor D. J. Harman and Dwayne Buck,” said team leader Rob Volcko. “Along with various teaching assistants and professors at Western, they provided our team with invaluable suggestions and feedback on many occasions, bridging the gap between classroom design and industry.”

OCE’s Connections program brings together final-year college and undergraduate university students and innovative Ontario companies to give students the opportunity to apply technical and professional skills to real-world problems. Connections helps students grow as innovators and leaders in business through hands-on learning experiences by working directly with industry experts.

Participating institutions submit their top projects for consideration for the Connections Competition at Discovery. A panel of judges review the submissions and pick finalists who present their projects at the conference where awards of $2,000 are presented for Best University and Best College Project.

The OCE Discovery Conference is Canada’s leading innovation-to-commercialization conference, showcasing leading-edge technologies, best practices and research in Ontario.