Lakehead University earns first place at the Student Steel Bridge Regional Competition

Team photo

From left, Philip Duke, Matthew Scott, Damien Grayda, Paul Graham, Felix Lasalle, and Cory Hubbard
(technologist), Dr. Yanglin Gong (faculty advisor) won first place at the regional competition.

April 13, 2022 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

The team representing Lakehead Engineering has won first place overall at the Student Steel Bridge Regional Competition held in Illinois April 7 to 9, organized by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

This year’s competition included eight categories: aesthetics, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, structural efficiency, cost estimation, and overall performance. Lakehead’s team placed first in seven of the eight categories and came second in the other category.

Dr. Yanglin Gong and technologist Cory Hubbard supervised the team, comprised of fourth-year Civil Engineering students Damien Grayda, Paul Graham, Philip Duke, Felix Lasalle, and Matthew Scott.

The Lakehead Engineering team won the competition for Western Great Lakes region, hosted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They were the only Canadian university in this regional competition that featured over 400 students from 13 American universities.

Dr. Juan Pernia was faculty advisor for the ASCE student chapter. Technologists Morgan Ellis, Kailash Bhatia and Stefanie Stangier also acted as machinist advisors to the team. Josh Fiegehen, representing the student chapter, participated in symposiums and presented a technical paper.

“The whole Lakehead Engineering team has made us proud,” said Dr. Janusz Kozinski, Lakehead’s Dean of Engineering.

“It is an extraordinary achievement that demonstrates the excellence of our students with the support of all their supervisors. We will be cheering for them at the Nationals next month,” Dr. Kozinski said.

The annual Student Steel Bridge Competition, which began in 1987, challenges student teams to develop a 20-foot-long steel bridge to fit a given hypothetical environment.

Each team must determine how to design and fabricate a bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction at the competition. Bridges are then load-tested and weighed.

After triumphing in the regional competition, Lakehead’s team will go up against top universities from across North America in the National Finals from May 27-28 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.




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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2022 World Universities Rankings for the third consecutive year, and in the top 100 of 1,115 universities from around the world in THE's 2021 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit