Saint Martin’s University Engineering Team Wins First Place in National Big Beam Competition for Second Consecutive Year

Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

A team of Saint Martin’s University students won first place in the national 2018 Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Big Beam Competition. PCI’s 2018 Big Beam Competition included entries from colleges and universities across the U.S. This is the second consecutive year that Saint Martin’s students have placed first in PCI’s Big Beam Competition. The first-place finish earned the team a monetary prize of $2,000, in addition to other prizes. Saint Martin’s concrete beam achieved a score of 57 points overall.

A team of Saint Martin’s University students won first place in the national 2018 Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Big Beam Competition. Photo courtesy: Saint Martin’s University

The annual contest requires each team to design and fabricate a precast/prestressed concrete beam to contest specifications, then test it until it fails, measuring the actual results against their pre-test calculations and other factors. After testing, teams send their results to PCI, where they are judged on several factors, including efficiency of the design and the beam’s highest load capacity. The Saint Martin’s students fabricated and submitted a prestressed concrete beam named “Snap, Crackle, Pop,” which was constructed with the help of the team’s sponsor, Concrete Technology Corporation (CTC) of Tacoma.

Jill Walsh, Ph.D., PE, assistant professor of civil engineering, served as the team’s advisor, and team members included captains Joel Rodgers and Jarad Roschi, Luis Camacho, Turner Kremen, Carthney Laukon, Jesse San Nicholas, Tyler Sloan and Chase Weeks.

“I am exceptionally proud of Dr. Walsh and her students,” said David Olwell, Ph.D., dean of the University’s Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering. “Only one other school has ever been back-to-back Big Beam champions – Notre Dame. Our students have shown again that our programs, faculty and graduates are among the best in the nation. CTC has been an awesome partner and we are very grateful to them, and especially Mr. Austin Maue.”

“Concrete Technology Corporation (CTC) was excited to see the continued success of Saint Martin’s University in the PCI Big Beam Competition,” said Austin Maue, design engineer at Concrete Technology Corporation. “The team should be exceptionally proud of their accomplishment given the quality of competition and number of competitors. Winning this competition is no easy task and to win back-to-back is remarkable. The knowledge gained by team members in both design and construction will prove beneficial as they continue their education and begin their careers. CTC would like to congratulate the students and faculty of Saint Martin’s University on a job well done!”

“Big Beam is an incredible opportunity for the students to put theory into practice, work together and learn from previous designs,” said Walsh. “I’m proud of the students for taking the initiative to participate in and learn from this competition. The support of our industry sponsor, CTC, and generosity of Prof. John Stanton and the University of Washington for including our beam on their testing day is immensely appreciated.”

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 26 majors and ten graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email