University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Pitt-Johnstown Engineers Win Mid-Atlantic ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition


Pitt-Johnstown’s Concrete Canoe team won the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Concrete Canoe Competition at the Mid-Atlantic ASCE Student Conference, which the university hosted on April 12-14, 2019.

The team earned an invitation to the National Concrete Canoe Competition (NCCC), on June 6-8, 2019, at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. Pitt-Johnstown placed ninth at last year’s NCCC competition.

This will be Pitt-Johnstown engineering’s ninth NCCC entry in the past 12 years.

Brian Houston, an associate professor of civil engineering, has been the team's academic advisor for 15 years.

The 2019 team members include: Antonette Augustine, Bryce Biddle, Samuel Caplea, William Dam, Jedidiah Elam, Dominic Greives, Brian L. Houston, Alexa Janikowski, Christopher Joseph, Crystal Kaczmarczyk, Ashley Kushner, Maxine Mains, Jordan Matus, Alexandra Maughan, Jillian McGuckin, Richard Orr, Ian Ostrowski, Stephen Patterson, Andrew Seeger, Seth Shaffer, Alexander Shopene, Rachel Stockert, Justin Towsey, and Paige Velemirovich.

The Concrete Canoe competition requires students to collaborate as teams and use engineering skills to design and construct a seaworthy canoe made entirely of concrete. Each team must compete in four categories: Design Paper, Oral Presentation, Final Product and several racing events for a chance to move on to NCCC, also known as “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering,” where the winner will compete against 24 other teams from throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, India, and China.

“ASCE is thrilled to invite the winners of the Concrete Canoe ASCE Student Conference competitions to compete at the national level at the Florida Institute of Technology” says Robin A. Kemper, P.E., LEED AP, F.ASCE, F.SEI, President of ASCE. “The Concrete Canoe competitions, at both the local and national levels, challenge students academically and athletically. Students use innovation, teamwork, and civil engineering knowledge to solve a unique challenge. The Society is proud to recognize the work these students have put in throughout the school year and wish them luck at the National Concrete Canoe Competition in June.”

In its 32nd year, NCCC challenges civil engineering students to apply the engineering principles learned in the classroom to a real-world task, while utilizing project management and team building skills. The Concrete Canoe program consists of both athletic and academic events. The competition is designed to test the knowledge, creativity and stamina of each team. Over the course of the school year, teams around the world plan, research and construct a canoe out of concrete. The competition evaluates teams on design and construction, a technical design report, a formal business presentation and five different races—men’s and women’s slalom races, men’s and women’s sprint races and a co-ed sprint race.

The NCCC is organized by ASCE and hosted annually by a university student chapter, thanks in part to funds provided by the ASCE Foundation.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World. 

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation’s infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit or and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.