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Student Day 2017 Continues the Tradition of Educating Young Engineers

on March 2, 2017

On Tuesday, February 28th, 2017, we welcomed over 30 undergrad and graduate students from six schools for our 6th annual Student Day event at the Atlas Tube facility in Chicago, IL.

Co-Sponsored by, Deep Foundations Institute (DFI)  and the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA), Student Day gives aspiring engineers an opportunity to learn about deep foundations and structural engineering from industry professionals. The highlight of the event is the mill tour where students get to witness, in person, the manufacture of HSS and ERW piling products!

We kicked off the event with Marvin Phillip, corporate metallurgist at Atlas Tube. Mr. Phillips presented on the metallurgical considerations for ERW pipe piling and HSS manufacturing process. This classroom style introduction before seeing the production of pipe and tube live helps students understand what’s going on when they tour the mill. For a closer look, watch how our straight-seam ERW pipe piles are manufactured here.

Our second presenter was Gary Seider, Engineering Manager, Civil and Utility Helical Products for CHANCE® Civil Construction, a subsidiary of Hubbell Power Systems. Gary introduced students to Helical Piles along with their specs and design. Most students did not know what a helical pile was before the event; Student Day gave them the opportunity to learn more on this important geotechnical product. During his presentation, Mr. Seider showcased a real world example where helical piles helped Xcel Energy engineer a solution to a transmission line replacement they had.

When Mr. Seider concluded his discussion, we took a break for lunch and networking. Students from the various schools (Bradley University, Iowa State, Purdue, University of Illinois at Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame) got a chance to meet one another and discuss areas of interest in geotech and structural engineering with our speakers.

The third presentation was given by Brad Fletcher, Senior Sales Engineer with Atlas Tube. His topic was an Overview of Hollow Structural Sections which resonated with the students studying in structural engineering. His presentation also highlighted recent project’s that Atlas Tube supplied material on including Yankee Stadium (ERW Pipe Piles) and U.S. Bank Stadium.

Our final presenter for the day was Silas Nichols, the Principal Geotechnical Engineer with the Federal Highway Administration. Mr. Nichols presentation discussed research and practice advances in driven piles and introduced students to a new database the Federal Highway Administration is working on. The new database will contain information on driven products for use in bridge design (including ERW pipe piles). To conclude his presentation, Silas showed students the continued geotechnical work on I-65N at Wildcat bridge near Lafayette, IN.

After the presentation, the students and speakers went on a tour of the Atlas Tube manufacturing facility. Students enjoyed seeing firsthand how HSS and ERW Pipe Piles are produced. Our tour guides were available to answer all the intricate questions they had on the products we produce every day.

Once everyone returned from the plant, the students found out they could keep their hard hats which was a crowd pleaser – for many students, this is the first hard hat they have ever owned. To conclude Student Day in 2017, we raffled off an Amazon Echo to one lucky student! Thanks to our esteemed speakers and students who came to Student Day 2017! If you learned something, make sure to tell your professors to work this annual event into next year’s lesson plans!