Nebraska team wins national engineering design contest for middle school students; competition featured on PBS this week.

Bentley Systems Incorporated CEO Greg Bentley awarded the team from Bellevue, Neb., first prize at the 2003 National Engineers Week Future City Competition. This is the fourth consecutive year that Bentley has served as principal sponsor of the annual competition and hosted the regional winners at the finals. As part of its award, the Bellevue team will receive an expense-paid trip to the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., also courtesy of Bentley.

The competition will be featured on PBS across the United States during four consecutive episodes of ZOOM that will debut on most affiliates this week and air through Thursday, April 3. ZOOM cameras followed a team from Abington, Pa., as the students prepared their entry for the 2002 competition and qualified in the national finals in Washington D.C.

The Future City Competition challenges seventh- and eighth-graders to build a futuristic city using both virtual and physical models. Each city incorporates residential, commercial and industrial areas, power plants, roads, and power distribution networks. Students are advised to make considerations for energy and cost efficiencies, pollution levels, and traffic density. Future City teams are represented by three students from a single school and supported by an advising teacher and an engineering mentor.

“The National Engineers Week Future City Competition encourages thousands of middle school students from across the country to expand their horizons and consider future careers in technology and engineering,” said Carol Rieg, national director of the Future City Competition. “Bentley’s support during the past four years has been crucial to the continued growth of the Future City Competition, enabling it to become the nation’s premiere engineering contest for seventh- and eighth-graders. The company’s support of educational initiatives inspires the next generation of engineers.”

The team from Nebraska’s Mission Middle School in Bellevue received first prize for Candeo Glacia, its future city located on the South Carolina coast that is designed to offer high-quality living and innovative technology. The team’s city name is derived from a term for “glowing ice,” which refers to the hydrogen fuel extracted from underwater methane deposits. Industrial activity on the city centers on clean, inexpensive hydrogen power production. Mission’s representatives included Megan Horton and twins Casey Laski and Mitchell Laski, along with teacher Susan Hester and engineering mentor Lt. Cmdr. Freddie Bazen of the U.S. Navy.

“The Bentley Education Network is proud to honor engineers, and we are happy to support this program, which gives young, aspiring engineers an opportunity to experience the important work that professional engineers do,” Greg Bentley said. “Engineering plays an important role in enhancing our quality of our life, our safety and our economy, and we are committed to supporting programs that cultivate and inspire the next generation of talent.”

This year more than 30,000 students from over 1,000 middle schools participated in the competition. As principal sponsor, Bentley funded transportation and lodging for the 30 regional winning teams who participated in the competition in Washington D.C. Joining Bentley to present the competition’s top prizes was Lockheed Martin CEO and Chairman Vance Coffman. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Samuel Bodman also addressed this year’s finalists at the competition. CEOs from IBM and Dupont have co-presented the top award in past years.

Once again Bentley sponsored the Philadelphia regional competition of Future City, which this year was won by a team from Drexel Hill Middle School. Students Philip Crone, Marina Kec and Rachel McKlindon designed Octavia, a city named after Marco Polo’s mythical spider-web city. Teacher David Granger served as adviser, while William Waldron of Cingular Wireless was the team’s mentor. The Drexel Hill team was one of 30 regional finalists who were invited to participate in the finals.

For more information about the Future City Competition, see To inquire about becoming an engineering mentor or competing in the 2004 competition, write or call 877-636-9578.