Collaboration between UNL’s Raikes School students and Kiewit employees produces innovative software solution for tracking materials on construction sites.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management defines their two-semester Design Studio project as “insanely smart students working in teams to build insanely great software products.” Supported by industry partners, Raikes School students use agile engineering, lean business development, and interdisciplinary design to produce a functional and innovative software product for their company sponsor.
The Kiewit-sponsored student project team took the gold this year, clinching the runner-up spot out of 19 projects for high performance, excellence in collaboration, and quality of product produced. The Kiewit team created a Material Tracking System, successfully delivering components for an active sensor network, tracking software, and sensor electronics designs for tracking frequently moving construction site materials. This innovative solution was a full stack development project involving hardware design and fabrication and software development.
The Design Studio students identified how to best provide this innovative solution to Kiewit after a trip to the Kiewit Offshore Services yard in Corpus Christi, Texas, where they “learned more about the problem in a couple days than they could have in a semester of meetings,” said Mark Antonson, Director of Design Studio at the Raikes School.
Design Studio students Lucas Hall, Alex Czarnick, Mark Nail, Andrew Phares, Conner Bell, and Alex Richardson worked with the Kiewit team. Kiewit was there every step of the way to provide guidance, industry insight, and career-readiness opportunities.
“The Kiewit team was incredibly helpful during each step of the process. Kiewit helped the team gain a great understanding of the customer that we could not have received otherwise,” Hall said. “Kiewit provided resources for success, and connected us with their vendors and other parties to provide knowledge on the specifics of the project, such as hardware selection. Overall, the Kiewit team was extremely helpful, and their contributions allowed the project to succeed.”
Kiewit stakeholders Tim Lonas, Dan Nash, Kellie Negley, Ravi Karri, Megan Wilson, and James Henry acted as team leaders for Kiewit’s first-ever time participating in the Design Studio. Through their guidance, Kiewit came in second only to Microsoft’s team, who took the winning spot.
“Everyone involved in this project from Kiewit was asked to do so as an additional responsibility to their day-to-day tasks. That speaks to our core value of stewardship,” said Dan Nash, manager, Innovation. “Kiewit getting recognized for efforts in technology alongside the likes of Microsoft and some great local startups is a real honor, and something Kiewit Technology Group can be proud of.”
Antonson also highlighted how relationships like the one between Kiewit and UNL are essential for the vibrancy of the technology sector in Nebraska and beyond.
“We rely on sponsors like Kiewit to bring real-world challenges for our students to solve in Design Studio. I think Kiewit winning the Gold project this year is a testament to the great mix between these two Nebraska institutions,” Antonson said. “We hope the partnership can continue. We saw such great interaction between Kiewit employees and the student team this year, and I think a lot of that can be attributed to both sides speaking the same language in terms of culture and values.”
Learn more about this project in a short video Showcase Presentation by the Raikes School students.