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Energy, Environment, STEM

Arizona Team Places Second in National Future City Competition

Personal Note: This posts also appears as a news release for the Future City Competition – Arizona Region.

Phoenix, AZ: The region competitions were tough, yet within reach for each of the 37 teams that secured their 1st place position. These 37 teams would now position their sights on the national competition just a few short weeks away. This is the path taken by Arizona Region’s 1st place winner, the City of Bahal from Veritas Home Schoolers of Phoenix. The National Future City Competition is one of many events hosted by the National Engineering Week Committee.  The competition began on Sunday, February 17, 2013 and concluded on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, and not before recognizing the City of Bahal, with the dynamic threesome – Timothy Graunke, Rachel Fisher, and Jesse Friedman –  as the 2nd place winning team.

Rehearsalon02062013Left to right:  Jesse Friedman, Timothy Graunke, and Rachel Fisher – practice session with some members of the region’s planning committee on February 6, 2013 at Burns & McDonald offices, Phoenix, AZ.

What would be different about their presentation this time in front of a larger audience and with other regional winners with similar goals and dreams for this competition. How many more technical details could they squeeze into a seven-minute presentation? Words…so many…yet so few to describe a future city in India in the year 2163.  Would more information detailing how energy is generated in the city assure the judges that they have a high efficiency and low polluting emissions source? How much time should they spend on stormwater management? After all, they were asked to address stormwater management and pollution control in their city and write about it for the essay. However, that was before Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction for residents along the eastern seaboard, and is certain to change the way that government and emergency professionals prepare for hurricanes and other storms, and the management of stormwater left in their aftermath. One of the signature project’s that the City of Bahal boasts about is its Stormwater Control System (SCS) that prevents stormwater runoff pollution through onsite rainwater harvesting, cleaning, percolating, and redirecting technologies.

PackingModel_02142013Preparing the 3-D model for shipment to Washington, DC. (February 14, 2013)

Is there anything that they didn’t think about that was surely to be asked by an engineer from one of the professional societies, or one of the competition judges? Practice, practice, practice was one strategy used to assure a spot in the national finals, and additional research on technology and other topics were a must! Not to be overlooked was the need to secure their 3-dimensional model so that it would not sustain major damage during shipment. Can you imagine unpacking your model to discover that it is in hundreds of pieces? That has happened more than once at this national competition over the past 20 years.

“Our team had three short weeks to prep for the national competition,” states Mike Andrews, region coordinator. “This group wasted little time making sure that their presentation and answers to a myriad of possible questions were “spot on” to the individuals that they would be speaking with in Washington, DC. They really want the audience to feel that they are living in a city 50 years into the future.”

TeamonAirplane_02162013Left to right:  Rachel Fisher, Jesse Friedman, and Timothy Graunke – practice session on the air plane ride to Washington, DC. (February 16, 2013) The City of Bahal, Arizona Region’s 1st place winner for the 2012-2013 Future City Competition, wasted little time figuring out what they needed to be doing to prepare for the national competition.  They had several rehearsals from a professional coach and long-standing member of Toast Masters, underwent a drill session with members of the local planning committee who challenged them with even tougher questions than those asked during the region finals, and they dug deeper in their research to better answer some of the questions that had already been asked, or were considered but not asked. Every spare hour of time was utilized to ensure that this presentation went well.  That included taking advantage of the plane ride on the trip to Washington, DC. No one can argue that this was time well spent.

And when it was over, the sound of victory was oh so sweet!

Team Members & AZ Supporters just before national presentation (Left to right: Rachel Fisher, Cambrie Hickman, Jeremy Graunke, Timothy Graunke, Jesse Friedman, and Robin Hickman)

Team Members & AZ Supporters just before national presentation (Left to right: Rachel Fisher, Cambrie Hickman, Jeremy Graunke, Timothy Graunke, Jesse Friedman, and Kathryn Graunke)

Awards and Prizes

The 1st thru 5th place winning teams for the 2013 National Future City Competition are:

1. New Jersey
2. Arizona
3. Philadelphia
4. Texas Central
5. Mid-Atlantic

The 1st place winner of the National Future City Competition won an all-expense paid trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, AL for each team member.

The 2nd place winner received $5,000 from the National Society of Professional Engineers’ (NSPE) Educational Foundation.

The 3rd place winner receives $2,000 from the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) – USA.

Other awards were also provided by professional engineering societies and industry. All teams were eligible to compete for these prizes.

The Arizona Region is appreciative of all of the schools, teachers, parents, sponsors, and volunteers who participated in the 2013 competition and previous competitions over the years. Most importantly we’d like to thank parents and staff of Veritas Homeschoolers, and Kathryn Graunke, teacher, and Matthew Graunke, engineer mentor for all the help and support that you showed in creating a national winner for this year’s competition.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

About the Future City Competition:  The Future City Competition is a national program sponsored by the engineering community to promote technological literacy and engineering to middle school students. The program fosters an interest in math, science, and engineering through hands-on, real world applications. The competition is open to all public, private and parochial schools. The National Finals of the Future City Competition are a featured event during National Engineers Week with students from across the country competing in Washington, D.C. The Future City Competition offers students a fun way to learn about engineering and cities of the future.

Since the National Engineers Week Future City Competition began in 1992, it has been recognized by the education and engineering communities as an innovative program and has also been recognized by the White House. The National Science Educational Leadership Association has endorsed the program


About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.


3 thoughts on “Arizona Team Places Second in National Future City Competition

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