Civil engineering alums Jacob Graham ’21, Brian Perhamus ’21, and Joshua Gordon ’21, along with their faculty advisor, civil and environmental engineering professor Clay Naito, won the award for best video and took third place overall in the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute’s 2021 Engineering Student Design Competition.

In PCI’s Big Beam competition, students design, build, and test a 20-foot, precast, prestressed concrete beam. Entries are judged on a variety of criteria, including the beam’s performance in stress tests that simulate the types of real-life conditions structural building and infrastructure components must endure to ensure life safety, as well as the quality of their analysis and reports and a video overview of their project. 

The national competition, which is in its 21st year, teaches college students important structural engineering skills in an applied learning environment that will benefit them in their future professions. 

Graham and Gordon are continuing their studies and are currently enrolled in the Rossin College’s 10-month Master’s of Engineering in Structural Engineering (M.Eng.) program.

The Lehigh team’s winning video can be seen on PCI’s Big Beam Channel on YouTube. The team’s PCI producer was High Concrete (David Schneider) of Denver, PA. 

“The Big Beam competition is an outstanding opportunity to introduce the next generation of designers to precast, prestressed concrete design and construction,” says PCI President and CEO Bob Risser. “By working with PCI member producers, the students get hands-on educational experience as well as learning about the precast concrete industry. We hope the experience leads them to understand the benefits of precast, prestressed concrete throughout their professional careers and the value of participating in PCI.” 

View the complete competition results here.

2021 Lehigh Big Beam team

Lehigh's 2021 PCI Big Beam competition team

Clay Naito

Clay J. Naito, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, is an active member of PCI and was elected as a PCI Fellow in 2019. Over the years, he has advised numerous successful student teams in PCI’s Big Beam competition.