Building an edible project

January 2010 » Exclusive
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger—€™s GingerBuild Contest gets everyone in a festive mood.

Don’t say that engineers aren’t creative. At least, that’s not the case with folks at 420-person national engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. (SGH) where our employees got into the holiday spirit with a friendly gingerbread structure building competition.

Employees throughout our five locations competed in December 2009 in our second GingerBuild Contest. The competition yielded 11 teams with a total of 52 employees from all offices participating.

According to SGH GingerBuild rules, structures must accomplish the following:

  • be inspired by a SGH project,
  • be completely edible (no glue, staples, nails, etc.), 
  • include gingerbread in some fashion, and
  • not include materials from a professional baker or a gingerbread/edible structure kit.

SGH CEO Glenn Bell chose the first, second, and third place winners, and employees voted on our internal web site, SGHnet, for their top choice for the Corporate Staff Favorite category.

A three-person team of structural engineers called Facetnation won the Corporate Staff Favorite category with their rendition of Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida (see photo). SGH rewarded an additional eight hours of vacation time to each member of the winning team.

For the remaining winners, Bell said he based his decision on the following judging criteria:

  • structural stabilityc
  • SGH project inspiration
  • use of edible materials, including the use of gingerbread
  • detail
  • creativity

“This was hard because all of the entries were excellent,” Bell said. “All the teams demonstrated the creativity and ingenuity that SGH brings to all our projects.”

The winners, which were announced on Dec. 18, are as follows:

 First place: In addition to Corporate Staff Favorite, Facetnation’s rendition of Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, (see photo at left) also placed first — winning another eight hours of vacation time for each team member as well as the coveted GingerBuild Trophy.

“I had a real appreciation with how difficult it was to construct,” Bell said, adding that there is a lot of detail work associated with the design.





Second place: Our accounting group showed that they could also strut their creativity by capturing second place. The four-person team of accountants, named the Jelly Bean Counters, decided to build a gingerbread structure based on our long-term efforts to provide an excellent workplace (see photo at left). SGH recently captured first place in Structural Engineer’s 2009 Best Firm to Work For rankings as well as first place in the 2009 Best Firm to Work For rankings among large civil engineering firms by CE News magazine. The team recreated the October cover of Structural Engineer magazine announcing SGH as the Best Structural Engineering Firm to Work For.

The team’s creative interpretation of a project is what stood out, Bell said. “It speaks to the collaborative work that is helping to make SGH the very best firm that it can be.”

For their second place finish, the team won four hours of vacation time for each member.

Third place (tie): A six-person team of engineers called Gingerdesic Dynamo contributed another rendition of Spaceship Earth (see photo). “This project is near and dear to me. It was four years out of my life when I was working on this project,” Bell said. “I appreciated the difficulty in the execution of this design.”





A six-person team with a mix of administrative assistants and engineers called Team Nuclear also won third place with their rendition of the Mühleberg dam, which is part of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant in Mühleberg, Switzerland (see photos). “The rendition is related to our evaluation and work on the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant,” Bell said, adding that he liked the design’s detail, beauty, and creativity. “The team members’ creativity showed through with the use of broccoli as greenery,” he said.

The third place prize included a $35 recognition Gift Card for each team member.

The GingerBuild Contest has brought together employees from all offices and fostered collaboration among technical and non-technical staff as well as between technical divisions. The contest helps us to maintain a fun, creative work environment and to celebrate some of SGH’s landmark projects. Some employees are already planning their projects for next year’s contest! — Julianne Nevins, Director of Human Resources at SGH

Upcoming Events

See All Upcoming Events