Auburn Hills, MI – Patti Engineering, Inc., a control systems integration company based in Auburn Hills, MI with offices in Massachusetts and Texas, served as a Special Award Sponsor for the 2012 Michigan Regional Future City Competition which took place January 30, 2012 at The Suburban Collection in Novi, MI. Patti Engineering sent a team of electrical engineers to review and judge the entries.
Hazel Park Junior High School from Hazel Park, Michigan was the recipient of the Patti Engineering “Best use of Automation Technology” award for their implementation of automation technology in their futuristic “Solar City” design. Teacher Susan McQueary and her team of 25 earth science class students all worked together as a team building, researching and putting together their final project.
The Future City Competition challenges students to design a city of the future – and have fun doing it. The overall national theme was “Fuel Your Future: Finding New Ways to Meet Our Energy Needs and Maintain a Healthy Planet”.
This program was designed to promote technological literacy and engineering to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. The program fosters an interest in math, science and engineering through hands-on, real world applications and helps students better understand the practical applications of mathematical and scientific principles.
From start to finish, volunteer engineers, scientists, teachers and parents mentored the student teams to build their cities. All cities were required to display residential, commercial and industrial areas, power plants, transportation systems, community services and communication systems. Other issues addressed were environmental controls, traffic density, taxes and operating budgets.
According to McQueary, teamwork played a huge role in making decisions and finding the research information needed to build and put together their very own futuristic city. Cooperating with each other and coming to the best solutions is a hard task to accomplish with so many opinions at stake. Focus groups were designed so that opinions would be shared, valued and looked at as possibilities to the perfect solution. In the end, each of the 25 students on the team had a hand in putting together their “Solar City” to bring to the competition.
“These students are very proud of their own work, and the presenters were the most proud of what they have accomplished. Being young engineers for the first time, in front of engineers questioning them on their work, made them work harder. They are our future,” commented McQueary. Student presenters Erin Thomson O’Neill, Jeremy Shields, and Tyler Santwire created the presentation and were able to answer the appropriate questions for Patti Engineering’s team of judges.
According to Ken Kutchek, vice president of operations at Patti Engineering, Hazel Park Junior High School earned the Patti Engineering Best use of Automation Technology award based on the review of their concepts and design. The automation technologies planned for Solar City that stood out were:
- The use of robotics in farming for the planting and picking.
- A central control room to monitor and control city functions.
- A waste water treatment facility used to recycle water was located under the city.
- Fossil fuels were not used, solar power converted to electricity with the excess daytime solar energy captured and stored at power plants to be distributed as needed throughout the day and night.
- Wind and waste were back-up energy sources to the solar power.
The young aspiring engineers showed how automation technology was incorporated into their design. They also demonstrated an understanding of energy management, building automation systems, preserving our natural resources and the need for control systems integration to make it all work together.
The Future City Competition is a national program sponsored each year by the National Engineers Week Committee. The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) is the coordinator for the Michigan Regional Competition. More than 600 students from 25 schools participated in the regional competition.
Last year’s champion, the team from St. John Lutheran School in Rochester, took first place to win this year’s Best Future City. The St. John’s team will go on to compete in the National Future City Competition in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 19-25. The winner of the national competition will receive a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
Sam Hoff, president of Patti Engineering confirmed his belief in the value of the Future City Competition, “This is a phenomenal program for Michigan students. We were very impressed with the many displays and choosing just one city for the Patti Engineering Best use of Automation Technology award was a difficult task. We are proud to support the Engineering Society of Detroit’s efforts to inspire the next generation of engineers.”