Skip to main content
UW-Madison engineering students working on their ECIC proposal.
April 25, 2023

Badger engineers take on Electrical Contracting Innovation Challenge

A team of six undergraduate students from the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department are participating in the Electrical Contracting Innovation Challenge (ECIC) for the first time this year.

Hosted by ELECTRI International in partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the 2023 ECIC challenges student teams to serve as the electrical contractor for the Oglethorpe University Emerson Student Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

In this role, the students provide technical analysis and project management services. The outcome of their work includes a proposal for the project, along with a kick-off meeting agenda, submittal log and submittals, purchase orders, prefabrication plan, and change orders, among other items.

Electrical contracting is a new field of expertise for the students, but they’re navigating the learning curve together with ease. Each team member brings something to the table, including previous coursework and internship/co-op experiences in project management and construction. The mix of past work experience and study on campus are proving important to working through complicated, high-level scheduling and estimating processes.

Industry support from Maiken Westphal of Westphal & Company and Sean Hood of Affiliated Engineers, Inc., along with assistance from faculty advisor Dr. Awad Hanna and student advisor Lauren Welker, have been essential to the project.

“We’re thankful for everyone who has helped us understand various processes, why they happen, and the best ways to approach them. Our team is motivated to tackle big challenges and learn from them with an understanding of our individual strengths and how to allocate our talents accordingly,” shares the team.

An electrician demonstrates how to bend electrical conduit pipes for a group of engineering students.
The ECIC team learns about electrical contracting during a tour Westphal’s prefabrication shop.

Composed of Kristin Heise, Elyse Miramontes, Alexa Rademacher, Colin Schiesl, Sophia Wendelburg, and Michael Warntjes, the UW-Madison team is proud of their work and hopes to see the University participate again in the future.

“It’s been a rewarding experience. We started from ground zero, built a dynamic team, and are going in depth on topics we haven’t had the opportunity to explore before.”

An international jury of contractors and industry professionals will evaluate the ECIC submissions and choose three teams to present their projects at the annual NECA Convention and Trade Show in September. Competition results are anticipated this summer.