photo of Florida steel bridge University of Florida
The University of Florida steel bridge team made it four championships in a row.

The University of Florida won its fourth (fourth!) straight national championship over the weekend at the 2024 Student Steel Bridge Competition National Finals at Louisiana Tech University.

The scary thing for the other competitors?

Taylor Rawlinson, who’s been the faculty advisor since 2019, thinks this year might truly be just the start of something.

“This year I really started to see a lot of the things I've been hoping for come together,” said Rawlinson, Ph.D., associate engineer at the University of Florida. “The team has really grown. I've seen a lot of professional development from the team, putting on design workshops and fabrication workshops and really just trying to get more people involved.

“I’m extremely happy with the culture that they’ve built. We’ve got a lot of really great students.”

The Student Steel Bridge Competition is a partnership between ASCE and the American Institute of Steel Construction. This year’s competition required teams to build a 20-foot clear span over an 8-foot river with a design envelope allowing only girder or underslung truss bridges.

Florida was first out of the 47 qualifying teams in both the lightness and economy categories en route to topping the overall standings. University at Buffalo finished second overall, followed by Lafayette College in third.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology earned the Robert E. Shaw Jr. Spirit of the Competition Award; Lafayette received the Frank J. Hatfield Ingenuity Award; Arizona State University took home the John M. Yadlosky Most Improved Team Award; and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas won the Team Engagement Award.

For the University of Florida team, more was more this year. The team focused on recruiting more engineers, and it paid off.

“Honestly, we had very small teams for the first three championships,” Rawlinson said. “The last few years, we have had very, very good project managers, but they were just spread so thin and had to work so hard to get everything done. This year, we also have very good project managers, but we were able to spread the work around a little bit more, introduce more people to the project, and get more people involved – which is my ultimate goal as the faculty advisor.”

The winning Gator Steel Bridge team includes: Anthony Ortegon Perez (project manager), Donald Stowell-Moore (project manager/assembly team), Damian Blanco (fabrication manager/assembly team), Emma Robert (fabrication manager), Artem Egorov (design lead), Josh Lucero (design lead), Victor Levin (design intern), Maxwell Fletcher (administrative lead), Scherezada Lozada (finance lead/safety steward), John Willetts (technician), Saharah Alamgir (technician), Thomas Mackle (technician), Joseph “Brock” Sullivan (graduate advisor), and Fletcher D’Arcy (graduate advisor).

See the complete results from the 2024 Student Steel Bridge Competition National Finals.

photo of Florida steel bridge University of Florida
The University of Florida steel bridge team celebrates their victory at the awards banquet.