SUNY Canton Steel Bridge Team Finishes Second in Regional Competition


The SUNY Canton American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Student Chapter is vying to build one of the best bridges in the nation following a recent second-place regional finish.

Optimism is running high among the Steel Bridge Team members. They consider their strong showing at the AISC Upstate New York Regional Student Steel Bridge Competition, held April 21 to 23 at Cornell University in Ithaca, on trend with their previous successes.

Steel Bridge team holding banner in front of Nevaldine Hall.

The students performed flawlessly during the timed build part of the competition,” said Associate Professor Adrienne C. Rygel, Ph.D., the head faculty advisor for the team. “They were perfectly in sync and demonstrated a practiced rhythm. They were working and communicating well with one another.”

Students are challenged to design and build a scale model steel bridge based on a real-world scenario. The team is evaluated based on predefined parameters set by AISC. This year’s design was based on a Bailey Bridge, which was developed in Britain for use during World War II. The portable prefabricated structure is known for its strength and efficiency.

Steel bridge team assembles a championship bridge.

SUNY Canton finished second in speed, third in lightness, third in aesthetics, second in estimated cost, and second in economy. Overall, they placed ahead of teams from Clarkson University, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Cornell University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The University at Buffalo team took first place.

Steel Bridge team in regional competition at Cornell University.

Student Chapter President and Project Manager Benjamin P. York of Auburn said he was particularly proud of the team during what he described as a rebuilding year. The 2021 competition was held virtually and 2020’s competition was cancelled due to COVID-19. “The bridge performed amazingly,” York said. “We had a clean, quick run without any penalties.”

York is graduating from SUNY Canton’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, is the senior-most member of the team, and serves as the build team captain.

In addition to York, students on the SUNY Canton Steel Bridge Team include:

  • Stephen Dahl, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Auburn.
  • Mathew Greene, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Waddington.
  • Forest Hall, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Pulaski.
  • Andrew J. Hanss, an Engineering Science major from Rochester.
  • Truman A. Jones III, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from the Bronx.
  • Nathaniel O. Klinger, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Cato.
  • Peter W. Parrish, an Engineering Science 2+2 major from Edwards.
  • Ryan Permaul, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Franklin Square.
  • Chandradat Rampat, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Fort Drum.
  • Eric Roach, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Waddington. Roach is the Vice President of the Steel Bridge Team.
  • Waleed Safdar, a Civil Engineering Technology major from Brooklyn.
  • Muhammad H. Shabbir, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Kingston.
  • Ladonna S. Smith, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Mount Vernon.
  • Ronald J. Wood-Terrance, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Bombay. 

Additional faculty and staff advisors for the Steel Bridge Team are:

  • Instructional Support Technician Neil A. Haney, who served as the primary welder and fabricator of this year’s bridge.
  • Instructional Support Associate Andrew L. Reiter, who assisted Haney with construction.
  • Assistant Professor Aksel Seitllari, Ph.D., who teaches in the college’s Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Engineering Technology programs.

The SUNY Canton College Foundation, Inc., has launched a fundraising campaign in support of the Steel Bridge Team to help defray the cost of attending the AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition, which will be held May 27 and 28 at Virginia Tech University. The team received a substantial contribution from Donald F. Garrett, class of 1972, and D. Garrett Construction, Inc., last fall. The Foundation is also able to provide significant annual support of the Steel Bridge Team through endowed funds established by Robert H. Woolf, class of 1958, and Richard N. Pierson, class of 1968.

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.