Positive destruction: Hatch sponsors bridge-building competition

Winner Remon Essa (left) is seen with his winning bridge.
Winner Remon Essa (left) is seen with his winning bridge.
Hatch was back to sponsor the 32nd annual Bridge Building Competition held by the Department of Building and Construction Sciences Department at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The C$3000 tuition prize was awarded to the bridge that carried the greatest number times its own weight. Third-year civil engineering student Remon Essa took first place in the competition and set a record for the most load on a bridge (2604 pounds/1181 kilograms) and the second-best performance rating for carrying 5020 times its own weight.

"Just when we thought the students had reached the peak performance with Popsicle sticks and Lepage's white glue, we were proven wrong," cheered Matthew Shelley, technologist, Department of Building and Construction Sciences and one of the competition facilitators. "A record was set back in 1997, with a bridge that held 2503 pounds (1135 kilograms) and 5303 times its own weight. Many have tried to surpass this record, but none have succeeded—until this year!"

Remon, who was born in Iraq and came to Canada via Syria, was overjoyed by the win, noting how much the prize means to him. "I have struggled a lot to get here," he said, beaming as explained his personal journey to the competition. "I was working as a cleaner four years ago when we came to Canada, but my brother is a civil engineer and he inspired me. I wanted to do something more."

This isn't the first time Remon has placed in the competition. The talented honor student took best performing 1st year prize in 2017 and won the entire competition in 2018. He plans to graduate next December and clearly has a bright future ahead.