R.A. Smith National, an engineering and surveying firm with operations in Pittsburgh, recently demonstrated the use of GPS to students enrolled in survey courses at nearby Point Park University. This year marks the sixth year that the firm extended the opportunity to the civil engineering technology students at the local university. It is the first year that two sessions of the survey course were offered due to increased enrollment.

Pete Brothers, survey manager at R.A. Smith National, has conducted the hands-on GPS demonstration during fall in each of the last six years. The demonstration has been well received and appreciated by the students and instructors. John Harrocks and Dan Powell, also of R.A. Smith National’s Pittsburgh office, assisted Brothers with the first day of the two-day presentation.

Earlier this year, R.A. Smith National sponsored a project for the capstone course that runs during the summer term at Point Park University. A project was created and outlined by R.A. Smith National’s civil engineer Anthony Simelis, who is a 2010 graduate of Point Park University.

This year, a group of five civil engineering technology students worked closely with R.A. Smith National to create a site plan, identify zoning criteria, work through grading concepts, and establish and design a stormsewer system for the capstone project. The final project was presented in August to the class, faculty and industrial sponsors. R.A. Smith National plans to continue its sponsorship of a capstone project annually.

The GPS demonstrations and capstone course sponsorships have been initiated and led by John Frydrych, R.A. Smith National’s eastern regional manager. Frydrych has volunteered as an active member of Point Park University's industrial advisory committee since 2003. In this role, Frydrych provides guidance for the program's curriculum, monitors trends within the industry, and assists with the accreditation of the CET program by the accreditation board for engineering and technology.

About R.A. Smith National Inc.

R.A. Smith National Inc. is a consulting engineering firm that provides multi-disciplinary services to federal, state and local government, along with the land development industry. Our comprehensive services include civil engineering, structural engineering, surveying, construction services, ecological services, landscape architecture, irrigation design, water resource engineering, geographic information systems (GIS), visualization and 3D laser scanning.