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SDSU's NECA Student Chapter performs well in inaugural year

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Denise Cortez, the bright and energetic San Diego State University coed, and her fellow students on the Project Team knew the odds were against them finishing in the top three thereby qualifying to compete in the finals at the NECA National Conference.

(Learn more about SDSU's NECA Student Chapter and follow them on Facebook.)

The competition was tough. There were 14 other universities, most of whom had participated in this challenge before and it was the San Diego Chapter’s first-ever competition. None of that mattered to Cortez's team as just the opportunity to enter the 2011 ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge was enough to keep this amazingly talented NECA SDSU Student Chapter highly motivated.

The Aztec Energy Design-Build team was comprised of six students from the SDSU Construction Engineering and Electrical Engineering program. The goal was to identify the means and design a project to best save electricity in the University Towers Dormitory. Led by Cortez, Student Chapter President and Construction Team Manager, and under the supervision of Dr. Thais Alves, Assistant Professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, the energy auditing began.

Project Team member Carlos Jimenez volunteered for the position of LEED Specialist and Financial Analyst collaborating with Jordan Kennedy, LEED Specialist and Mechanical Engineer. Teague Mays became the Project Manager with Derek Coyle as Lighting Specialist and Chris Olmsted serving as Energy Specialist.

With a full proposal submitted at the end of the school year, the team waited through the summer as each proposal was judged for technical content, team skills and client participation. In addition, teams were asked to advance efforts on their campus to improve energy awareness of students. Our Student Chapter took this to heart, proposing a finance plan that would encourage students to invest in the project thereby allowing the University to remain debt free. After serious deliberations by the judges, the NECA/SDSU Student Chapter finished fourth, missing out on the top three by just 4.08 points. In the process, they beat out some major contenders including Georgia Texas, Texas A&M and Purdue.

One would have thought the students had actually made it into the finals by their exuberance at being so close. They have vowed to return next year even stronger.

Congratulations to the finalists, Milwaukee School of Engineering, University of Washington, and Youngstown State University. We wish you well in the upcoming Green Energy Challenge final round, but with this friendly footnote: Next year, game on!

The NECA /SDSU Student Chapter wishes to recognize and thank those from NECA who provided guidance and patience throughout competition.

Financial support provided by:

* Mr. Richard McBride of Southern Contracting

* Mr. Timothy McBride of Southern Contracting

* The NECA Board of Directors

Technical support provided by:

Baker Electric, Neal Electric, Synergy Electric, the NECA Staff, Patrick Knighton and Bert Richardson from the Electrical Training Center and Glen Wallis from the IBEW Local 569.

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