Construction Technology Pilot Project Prepares University of Alabama Students for Workforce
BIRMINGHAM, AL — With graduation looming, many seniors at The University of Alabama are busy preparing for final exams. For a select group of students, wrapping up the semester means presenting the findings from a research project to management at Brasfield & Gorrie.
The research project is the result of a partnership that began in September 2015 between Brasfield & Gorrie and The University of Alabama’s STEM Path to the MBA program.
“Brasfield & Gorrie helped us to identify a real-world issue,” said University of Alabama Executive Director for Innovation Initiatives Rob Morgan. "They provided us with sponsored equipment and personnel to guide and monitor our students’ activities. They also provided a site that we could not duplicate on campus."
An innovative program unique to the Culverhouse College of Commerce, STEM Path to the MBA allows undergraduates in engineering, science, and mathematics to learn business skills and take an early track to earning an MBA. Each year, students in the STEM Path to the MBA program work on projects with local companies. Brasfield & Gorrie teamed with Jovix by Atlas RFID Solutions to offer students the opportunity to apply technological applications in a construction environment.
Morgan said the support from corporate partners is invaluable. “It’s hard to get companies to think through all of the elements necessary to put together a project that a group of students can work on for an entire year.”
During the spring semester, the students visited B&G Equipment and Supply to test equipment tracking systems provided by Jovix by Atlas RFID Solutions. This technology is designed to help monitor logistics, and track parts and equipment on active construction jobsites. As part of their final examination, the students will present their research outcomes to the management at Brasfield & Gorrie.
Additionally, Brasfield & Gorrie sponsored a second project where that group of students tested a monitoring system that is able to detect the probability of equipment failure. Cranes, a mainstay on construction sites, were used to test the monitoring system. This predictive analysis is expected to help prevent schedule delays due to the breakdown and repair of major equipment on construction projects.
According to Brasfield & Gorrie Regional Director of Virtual Design and Construction Russ Gibbs, these projects expose students to technology careers in construction. “The construction industry today isn’t what it was 10 years ago,” Gibbs said. "We are currently identifying and using innovative solutions and these students are on the forefront of what’s to come."