Imagine trying to draw an elephant without ever having seen an elephant. How would you know what size to make it, or how long to make its trunk? How would you even know it had a trunk for that matter?
A group of engineering grad students from University of Wisconsin-Madison recently got to take a look at their “elephant” and experience first-hand just what goes in to making Mid-States’ precast beams, columns, wall panels and hollowcore. Prior to their April visit, none of the students in this class of Professor Gustavo Parra’s had ever toured a precast plant. And they had certainly never seen what they were drawing actually being created before.
Outfitted in hard hats, safety glasses, reflective vests and, for those who didn’t come in steel toes, a set of “clompers,” it sounded like a herd of Clydesdales walking through the yard to tour the Wetcast, Elematic and Cage Tie buildings. Naturally curious, it wasn’t long before the students were engaged in conversation with plant leaders, peering into and climbing onto the beds and photographing the equipment.
Questions flowed freely as the students learned more about the elements they had been drawing in class. One student even commented that while it is easy to do the calculations, it was nice to see the real world application of what they were calculating. Another added it was exciting to be able to picture in her head what she was drawing for her homework and exams now.
Of course, we didn’t let them into the plant without first teaching them more about precast, with part of the presentation led by Mid-States structural engineer Vas Dudnik, who also studied under Professor Parra while a student at UW-Madison.
With a vision to change the world by being the safest and most innovative precast building company, visits like this are exciting for Mid-States as we get to meet the next generation that will help us achieve our mission: to partner with our customers to innovate, design and build meaning buildings in which to live, work and play.