Student Success

Teamwork and technical knowledge combined to earn a group of recent Lethbridge College graduates national acclaim. Civil Engineering Technology alumni Jordan Dyck, Harrison Hadford and Sishminder Singh claimed third place in the Canada-wide Technology Accreditation Canada (TAC) 2021 Technology Report contest.

As part of their Civil Engineering Technology program, Dyck (Carpenter Apprentice 2018 and Civil Engineering Technology 2021), Hadford (Wind Turbine Technology 2016 and Civil Engineering Technology 2021) and Singh (Civil Engineering Technology 2021) had to submit a Technology Report as their capstone project that explained how they used applied research to create a solution to a technical problem or issue. The trio formed a team and submitted a report titled Structural Effects of Spray-Applied Polyurethane Foam Insulation Within a Wood Framed Wall Section, which tested whether spray insulation could add strength to walls in new houses.

“As we reached our third semester, I got a text from Harrison saying, ‘we need to form a supergroup,’” says Singh, explaining that the idea for basing their research around insulation and framing came from Dyck. “After we graduated, [Civil Engineering Technology instructor] Dr. Sampath [De Silva] emailed us saying he wanted to send our report in for the contest and we did. It feels great that a simple idea put into action got us third place at the contest. It was a complete team effort.”

The college’s Civil Engineering Technology program earned TAC accreditation in 2020, making students eligible for the national contest. According to Dr. De Silva, earning third place in just the second year of eligibility is a credit to the work of the students.

“These three were among the very best in the class, and if you put three bright students together like this, the output is obviously very good,” says Dr. De Silva. “Now when they want to apply for jobs or do anything else with their careers, they can cite that they finished in third place in this national contest.”

The trio constructed scaled-down sections of walls and used the college’s universal testing machine to determine if those treated with spray-applied polyurethane insulation were stronger than those without. Their findings showed the insulated material provided only a marginal increase in the compressive strength of the wall system. However, wall systems containing SPF as an insulation were more consistent in their compressive resistance before the point of failure.

“I enjoyed seeing our idea progress into tangible results and being able to provide answers to questions with certainty,” says Hadford, who earned the college’s Governor General’s Award as the highest academic achiever in 2021. “Also, crushing things with a hydraulic press is fun.”

The contest, open to TAC and Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB) nationally accredited programs, saw 24 reports submitted from across the country. A panel of TAC auditors from select engineering technology and applied science disciplines formed judging panels to conduct an initial rating of the reports. The top two reports in each discipline group were assessed by a final judging panel of three certified professionals. Reports were scored on their topic selection, methodology, research, analysis, conclusions, originality, innovation and presentation.

“The recognition and success in the tech report competition has been a highlight of my academic career and is an honour which will not be forgotten,” says Dyck. “The incredible teamwork and mentorship are the most rewarding part of this project, which for me, has solidified the immense joy of learning beyond the classroom.”

As part of the third-place recognition, Dyck, Hadford and Singh earned a $300 cash prize.

“Each year, the Technology Report Contest showcases the incredible talent possessed by students in TAC and CTAB nationally accredited programs,” says Technology Accreditation Canada Executive director Richard Stamper. “Congratulations to the team of Harrison Hadford, Jordan Dyck and Sishminder Singh for their third-place finish with an outstanding report on structural effects of spray-applied polyurethane foam insulation.”

Lethbridge College’s Civil Engineering Technology program prepares students for a future spent shaping the look and design of their communities, from buildings to bridges to water and sewer systems. Students spend year one getting a comprehensive introduction to engineering fundamentals and develop a practical understanding of engineering design in year two, becoming familiar with the latest tools and software in use throughout the industry. More information is available on the Lethbridge College website.