Last weekend, a group of Haynes Whaley Associates employees became the “Can-Do Engineers” to build the Bridge to End Hunger.
The group participated in Canstruction, an annual design competition, sponsored by the design and construction industry, which benefits the Houston Food Bank. The mission of the competition is for teams to build Canstructures out of cans of food and other non-perishable food items. The goods will then be donated to help feed Houston’s hungry. This event took place at one of Houston’s “most happening” mixed-use developments, CityCentre (a project containing several structures engineered by Haynes Whaley Associates). There were a total of 38 teams in the competition this year.
For Haynes Whaley Associates’ team, the event marked the culmination of two months of planning and countless hours of developing, preparing and worrying about our design. We finally breathed a big sigh of relief as our Canstructure was completed as designed.
The HWA team successfully built a Canstructure featuring a 6 ft tall and 12 ft long wall, made up of over 3000 cans of Chef Boyardee and refried beans with the message End Hunger created with cans of SpaghettiOs. In front of the wall was a scenic design which included an impressive arched bridge made with 1500 tuna cans topped with cans of Ranch Style Beans representing a road. The bridge was built over a river made with water bottles and a field of green grass made with packages of ramen noodles.
The HWA Canstruction planning team members were Tan Tran, Chris Hill, Charles Ma, Jenna Beth Whaley, Kim Baker, Oscar Valdez, Nathan McGraw, Paul Rangel, David Santino and Derick Thompson. The build day team was Tan and his son Brian Tran, Chris, Charles, Jenna Beth, Oscar, David, Paul and his wife Becky, and Jennifer Ju. Mr. Wally Ford came out early in the morning to help unload the truck.
The build day started at 7:00 am and our first task was to unload the food and supplies for the build and deliver to our site. With our efficient team, unloading took us less than an hour. At 9:00 am we were all ready to go. We had prepared and practiced several times before the actual build day and were surely glad that we did. The trial runs helped us make corrections to the build methods and know what to prepare for so we could limit any surprises during the actual event. Our team completed our build around 3:00 pm. One thing that I regretted not doing prior to build-day was checking out the site, so our design could have been adjusted to work better with the layout. But, we were able to improvise and make adjustments on site.
Thank you to our fellow team members for all the hard work and to HWA for providing the opportunity for a great experience. The event was a success, as we accomplished what our team set out to do: give back to the community and provide an opportunity for fellow employees to interact outside of the work environment.
At the final count, HWA’s team made a contribution of over 5000 food items that will be donated to the Houston Food Bank.