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Steel Structure Trivia: Solar in the City
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM.


Last week, project team members of Chicago’s Solar Canopy, a Merit award winner in last year’s AISC IDEAS2 awards program, were presented with awards from AISC for excellence in steel-frame building design during a ceremony at the project site. The 11-ft-tall prototype structure, conceived by Carbon Day Automotive to promote sustainability initiatives in Chicago, consists of three tons of Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) and is designed to harvest solar energy for use in powering electric/hybrid vehicles. Pictured (L-R): George Wendt and Ken Pecho, Chicago Metal Rolled Products (AISC Member); Michael Dimitroff, Chicago Park District; Gordon Gill and Robert Forest, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture; Bob Sinn and Chris Erwin, Thornton Tomasetti; and Hal Emalfarb, Carbon Day Automotive. Photo: AISC


Trivia Question:


Owned by the Chicago Park District, the Solar Canopy was unveiled in a temporary location in Douglas Park as one of the focal points of the International Olympic Committee’s visit to the city. The structure found its permanent home in 2010 in what Chicago location?




The Solar Canopy was relocated in 2010 to Chicago’s Northerly Island, a 91-acre peninsula located just south of the Adler Planetarium and east of Soldier Field, and has been actively charging electric vehicles there ever since.


Congratulations to our sole trivia winner: Nathan Lang, senior project engineer with Merrill Iron & Steel, Inc. in Schofield, Wis. (an AISC member and AISC certified fabricator).


cmrp-pipe-bending.jpgChicago Metal Rolled Products (an AISC member) was the steel bender-roller for the project and provided a tour of their Chicago facility following the awards presentation. The left photo (click to enlarge) shows one of their machines used to bend steel pipe into compound curves, like the ones that create the Solar Canopy’s tree-like form.


A detailed project description and additional photos of the Solar Canopy can be found in the 2013 IDEAS2 Awards article from the May 2013 issue of MSC.





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Steel Sculpture Competition Entries Due Sept. 2
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 27, 2014 at 5:17 PM.

Make your structural steel vision come to life! How? By entering AISC’s fourth annual Steel Sculpture Competition!
AISC is searching for the greatest steel sculptures. If you’re an AISC full or associate member, join this year’s competition and create your own innovative steel sculpture for a chance to have your company featured in MSC and more.
Here are the rules:


  • The sculpture must be steel (and only steel), but shapes, sizes and steel type can be your personal preference.
  • The sculpture must be made entirely by your staff.
  • The finished sculpture must fit in a 2-ft by 2-ft by 2-ft box (for shipping purposes).
  • All entries must include a title and the name of the company submitting the project.
  • There’s no theme! But keep in mind these characteristics of steel: adaptable, economical, quick and sustainable.

Submit photos of your sculpture by September 2, 2014 to AISC’s Jenny McDonald at  
From September 8-12, all entries will be posted to AISC’s Facebook page ( where they’ll be voted on by fans. The top five finalists will be put on display at the 2015 NASCC: The Steel Conference, March 25-27 in Nashville, where the ultimate winner will be chosen by attendees. The winner will also be featured in MSC and receive a catered lunch for their company.
Learn more about the competition at  
lunch-atop-a-skyscraper.jpgRead about this year’s winning sculpture, “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper,” in the May issue of MSC.
The competition is part of SteelDay, the structural steel industry’s largest educational and networking event, held nationwide. It’s scheduled for September 19 this year; mark your calendars! If you’re interested in hosting or attending an event, visit





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Steel Shots: Capital Wheel to Open Friday
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 22, 2014 at 1:28 PM.


Soaring 180 ft above the Potomac River waterfront at National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Md., the Capital Wheel, set to open in time for Memorial Day weekend, will join a growing number of large-scale observation wheels around the globe as an iconic, world-class attraction. The wheel’s 150-ton steel grid base structure was fabricated by Cianbro (an AISC member and AISC certified fabricator) at its Baltimore yard. The individual components were then delivered by barge and erected on site. Photo: Courtesy of Terex Corporation


The idea of an observation wheel as a tourist draw dates back to 1893 when the world’s first Ferris wheel (also supported by steel), designed and built by George Ferris, Jr., wowed attendees at the Chicago World’s Fair. Since that time, the scale and sophistication of observation wheels has steadily grown.


At 180 ft, the Capital Wheel at National Harbor, a 300-acre multi-use waterfront development just south of Washington, D.C., will boast some of the most iconic vantage points imaginable, offering views of the White House, Capitol building, National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery. It features 42 enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas, each seating eight, and will operate year-round.


To learn more about the Capital Wheel, visit The site features a two-minute video that shows how it was built, as well as time-lapse footage of its construction progress. You can also find photos and updates on the Capital Wheel’s Facebook page:

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Structural Analysis Night School Begins June 23
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 20, 2014 at 3:25 PM.

Registration is open for AISC’s new Night School course “Classical Methods of Structural Analysis,” which begins June 23. The course consists of eight webinar sessions on Monday evenings beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and will address many of the classical methods used in the analysis of structures before the advent of the computer, which will aid in understanding modern analysis and design requirements for structural steel.


This course is intended to help structural engineers provide better service to their clients by improving their understanding of structural behavior and refreshing their ability to use the tools necessary for quick preliminary evaluation of structures.


Session 1: June 23  -   Introduction and Basic Concepts
Session 2: June 30  -   Strain Energy and Real Work
Session 3: July 14   -   Deflections by Virtual Work
Session 4: July 21   -   Moment Areas and Elastic Weights
Session 5: July 28   -   Indeterminate Structures and the General Method
Session 6: August 11 - Indeterminate Structures by Slope Deflection
Session 7: August 18 - Approximate Methods and Moment Distribution
Session 8: August 25 - Classical Approaches Applied to Second-order Analysis


Attendees can either register for the entire eight-session package, one attendee per connection, and receive up to 1.2 CEUs/12 PDHs and 1 “EEU” certificate upon passing a series of quizzes and a final exam, or, register for individual webinars, with an unlimited number of attendees per connection, and receive 0.15 CEUs/1.5 PDHs per session.


For additional information about the course, registration details and pricing, visit

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Nucor Promotes Chad Utermark to Executive Vice President
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 19, 2014 at 4:12 PM.

chad-utermark.jpgNucor Corporation announced last week that Chad Utermark, vice president and general manager of Nucor-Yamato Steel Company, has been promoted to executive vice president of beam and plate products. Joe Stratman, who has served in the position since 2007, will continue to focus on the business development activities for which he assumed responsibility in 2010.


Utermark began his career with Nucor as a utility operator at Nucor Steel-Arkansas in 1992, became shift supervisor in 1995 and was promoted to hot mill manager in 1999. In 2003, he transferred to Nucor Steel-Texas as their roll mill manager and was promoted to general Manager in 2008 and vice president in 2009. He has served as vice president and general manager of Nucor-Yamato Steel Company since 2011. He also has served on AISC’s Board of Directors for the past two years.


Leon Topalian, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel Kankakee, Inc., will become vice president and general manager of Nucor-Yamato Steel Company. A replacement for Topalian will be named at a later date.


John Ferriola, Nucor’s chairman, chief executive officer and president, commented, “The promotions of Chad and Leon result from the thoughtful and orderly succession planning that has been a significant strategic initiative through the Nucor organization in recent years. Chad will be a strong addition to our executive management team and will continue the success that Joe and his team have achieved in optimizing existing operations and completing strategic acquisitions to profitably grow Nucor’s beam and plate businesses.”


To learn more about Nucor, visit

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Steel Shots: 9/11 Memorial Museum Opens
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 16, 2014 at 3:56 PM.


Visible not only from inside the building but also from the memorial’s plaza, the two 70-ft-tall steel tridents installed in the museum’s entry pavilion serve as a visual reference to the original World Trade Center—and actually stood next to each other on the eastern facade of the original North Tower—as well as a symbol of endurance. Photo: AISC


President Barack Obama joined Sept. 11 survivors, victims’ families and rescue workers yesterday to commemorate the opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. It opens to the public next Wednesday.


The Museum’s 110,000 sq. ft of exhibition space tells the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, personal narratives and a collection of monumental and personal artifacts. The space includes two core exhibitions at the archeological heart of the site: the memorial exhibition, called “In Memoriam,” and a three-part historical exhibition that explores the day of the attacks, what led to them and their aftermath.


More than 8,000 tons of structural steel was used in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which was designed by Davis Brody Bond. The entry pavilion, designed by architect Snohetta (Adamson Associates was the architect of record) and structural engineer Buro Happold, uses 1,200 tons of steel, fabricated and erected by AISC member/AISC Certified Fabricator/Advanced Certified Steel Erector W&W/AFCO Steel.


“The magnitude of the historic importance of the site and its symbolism made it essential for us to find a balance between the collective and the individual experience,” said Steven M. Davis, FAIA, founding partner of Davis Brody Bond. “We relied on four principles to guide our work: memory, authenticity, scale and emotion, hoping to provide the most sensitive, respectful and informative experience for visitors.”


Added Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snohetta: “As a reflection of the present, the Museum pavilion we designed serves as a bridge between the memory of past events embraced by the Memorial design and the trust in the future, signified by the neighboring office towers.”


The article “Trident True” from the January 2014 issue of MSC provides additional details about the towering tridents. To learn more about the 9/11 Memorial Museum, visit


Earthcam has also released a time-lapse video of World Trade Center Plaza in conjunction with the dedication of the Memorial Museum. In the video, webcam images collected over the past 10 years are assembled to document the rebuilding and construction of the site. 


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Vision Task Force Foretells How Projects Will Be Built in 2021
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 16, 2014 at 10:02 AM.

The Vision Task Force of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ buildingSMART Alliance has launched, a new website that offers a glimpse into the not-too-distant future of the building industry.


The Alliance is the developer of the nation’s BIM standard, the National BIM Standard - United States (NBIMS-US). Its NBIMS-US Planning Committee formed the NBIMS-US 2021 Vision Task Force (VTF) last year to focus on defining, forecasting and, in some cases, guessing at the future of the building industry to gain insight into what the NBIMS-US will need to be able to support that future.


“The initial effort of the 2021 Vision Task Force was to ask subject matter experts from every part of our industry to provide short essays about the nature of their role, profession or industry as it will be in 8-10 years – a timeframe we believe it is possible to reasonably predict,” explained Chris Moor, chair of the NBIMS-US Project Committee and VTF, and AISC’s director of industry initiatives.


The VTF collected nearly 40 of these essays, and then spent considerable time researching additional sources about the future of the industry.


“We then wove this knowledge together into a single, compelling and tangible vision of how a construction project may be built in the future, including the technologies and processes that would be in common use,” said Moor. “We delivered this vision in both novel and newspaper article formats to capture the imaginations of different audiences.”


The website offers the reader the opportunity to download a story delivered via a choice of two literary vehicles—a short novel and a fictional newspaper article—through which to explore the design, construction and opening day of a fictional children’s care center in Springfield, U.S., and to meet the key players of the team that created the project.


Major findings among the VTF’s essays and other research used to develop the story fall into six broad categories: Sustainability; Facility Management and Operations; Data, Interoperability and Integration; Building Codes, Specifications and Standards; Technology; and Processes, Efficiency and Collaboration. All of the categories are expanded on in the summary within the publications.


But while these categories identify some of the anticipated progress of the industry during the next decade, what was more revealing was just how the industry might get there.


“Everything we discovered points to an industry looking for solutions; looking for a better way. And it’s up to the owners, the government and everyone who wants our industry to succeed to embrace the challenge of finding those solutions,” added Moor. “We have to find a way to get there. We need mandates, investment, a cultural shift and a brand new educational platform to help the industry become more efficient.”


To learn more about the buildingSMART Alliance, visit


You can also meet George Jetson, the steel fabricator of the future, in Moor’s article “Tomorrowland” from the October 2013 issue of MSC

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2015 AISC Milek Fellowship Call for Proposals
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM.

University faculty are invited to apply for AISC’s 2015 Milek Fellowship, which is given to a promising university faculty member to conduct structural steel research. The award amount has been increased to a four-year, $50,000-per-year award for a total of $200,000. The winning faculty member will also be recognized in industry publications and receive free registration to NASCC: The Steel Conference for the four years following their selection as an AISC Milek Fellow.


The Milek Fellowship program is designed to contribute to the research careers of young faculty who teach and conduct research investigations related to structural steel, while producing research results beneficial to designers, fabricators and erectors of structural steel.


The award recipient is also to use the fellowship to support students with high potential to be valuable contributors to the U.S. structural steel industry. Funds are provided to conduct research that meets the long-terms needs of the industry, assist in leveraging additional outside funds for fellowship-related research and develop graduate students for academic and design careers in the industry.


The selected faculty fellow is required to fund at least one doctoral candidate during the Fellowship. The chosen student(s) will be named AISC Graduate Fellows and featured in MSC.


Proposals will be accepted until September 15, 2014. Required application information includes:


  • Candidate’s name, affiliation, mailing address, telephone and email address

  • Description of the research to be conducted

  • Discussion of the relevance and usefulness of the research to structural steel construction (design, detailing, fabrication, installation, maintenance, renovation, materials, management, protection from corrosion etc.)


The award is named after William A. Milek, former AISC vice president of engineering and research, in recognition of his invaluable contributions to AISC and the structural steel industry.


For complete information about the Milek Fellowship program, past faculty fellows, AISC research interests and the full proposal requirements and application, visit

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Free Chicago Loop Bridges Event May 25
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 14, 2014 at 11:01 AM.

Spending your Memorial Day weekend in the “Windy City”? Chicago Loop Bridges is sponsoring a free day at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum on Sunday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to recognize the four Chicago Loop bridges celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2014. (Note that all of the Loop’s 18 bridges are steel!)


The bridges with milestone anniversaries this year are: W Monroe St. - 95 (1919); N Clark St. - 85 (1929); N State St. (Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge) - 65 (1949); and W Randolph St. - 30 (1984). The museum will feature a special display about the history of these fascinating movable bridges, and free souvenir magnets will be offered while supplies last. Jim Phillips of Chicago Loop Bridges will also be available to answer questions.
mich-94-top.jpgThe museum is located at 376 N. Michigan Ave in the SW bridgehouse of the Du Sable Bridge (also known as the Michigan Avenue Bridge), shown in the photo at left. Beginning at river level and spiraling five stories up, the museum provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore a historic landmark bridge house and the inner workings of Chicago’s most famous bridge.
For more information about the event, contact Jim Phillips at 312.540.0696 or

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Student Steel Bridge Teams Ready for National Competition
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM.

nssbc_web_ad.jpgNearly 50 university teams will converge at the University of Akron in Ohio May 23-24 to compete in the 2014 ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC). Approximately 200 student engineering teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and China participated in a total of 18 regional competitions, and the top teams from each region will have a chance put their skills on display at the national level.  


Congratulations to this year’s qualifying teams! They are:

1. Arkansas State University
2. California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
3. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
4. Clemson University
5. Colorado School of Mines
6. Ecole de Technologie Superieure
7. George Washington University
8. Georgia Institute of Technology
9. Kansas State University
10. Lafayette College
11. Lakehead University
12. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
13. Michigan State University
14. Milwaukee School of Engineering
15. Minnesota State University, Mankato
16. Missouri University of Science and Technology
17. New Jersey Institute of Technology
18. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
19. Oregon State University
20. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
21. Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
22. Southern Polytechnic State University
23. SUNY College of Technology at Canton
24. Texas A&M University
25. The Citadel
26. The College of New Jersey
27. Trine University
28. Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico
29. University at Buffalo, SUNY
30. University of Akron
31. University of British Columbia
32. University of California, Berkeley
33. University of California, Davis
34. University of Central Florida
35. University of Connecticut
36. University of Florida
37. University of Hawaii at Manoa
38. University of Michigan
39. University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown
40. University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
41. University of Southern California
42. University of Tennessee at Martin
43. University of Texas - San Antonio
44. University of Virginia
45. University of Wisconsin at Madison
46. Washington State University
47. Western Kentucky University
48. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
49. Youngstown State University
The NSSBC challenges teams with building their own designed and fabricated steel bridges under the pressure of the clock. Bridge rankings are based on a variety of factors including: construction cost, construction speed, total bridge weight and bridge stiffness.
To learn more, visit

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