Driven by the tireless efforts of industry leaders and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa alumni Jeff Kalani and Ryan Yamauchi, a targeted campaign raised more than $700,000 to provide much-needed upgrades to the civil and environmental engineering labs at UH Mānoa.
Six labs that have been officially renamed to reflect their industry sponsors were on display at a special open house celebration for supporters on the UH Mānoa campus on June 16. These labs include:
- SSFM Structures Lab
- Bowers + Kubota Lecture Hall
- Jacobs Traffic and Transportation Lab
- YKE Geotechnical Testing Lab
- GCA Hawaii and HC&D Concrete and Materials Lab
- Element Environmental and AECOM Environmental Lab
In total, more than 80 individual and corporate donors contributed to the campaign that spanned five months.
“Championing this fundraising campaign was an honor and Jeff and I are so grateful for the many donors that made it a huge success,” said Yamauchi, president of Element Environmental. “Mahalo for helping us build a better future for our college, our faculty and our students.”
The labs each created a plan to utilize their funds based on their individual needs, which vary from equipment purchases and repairs to software and facilities upgrades.
In the Jacobs Traffic and Transportation Lab, Associate Professor Guohui Zhang has big plans. “Funds will be used to purchase high-performance computer stations, traffic simulation software, and portable traffic data analysis devices to facilitate our research and teaching activities at various levels,” said Zhang. “They will help upgrade our transportation research infrastructure and rebuild our research capacity for our students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty to pursue excellence in scholarly work.”
The SSFM Structures Lab will focus on purchasing testing equipment with a variety of educational uses. Professor Ian Robertson said, “The generous donations to the SSFM Structures Laboratory have enabled us to purchase a five-foot square seismic shake table that will allow us to demonstrate dynamics of single and multi-degree of freedom structures during undergraduate and graduate classes on structural dynamics and seismic engineering.”
Additional uses include open house demonstrations simulating various structural system responses to earthquakes and K–12 educational competitions to construct earthquake-resistant structures, as well as for faculty and graduate student research in the field.
Ongoing industry support
UH Mānoa’s College of Engineering is grateful for the strong support it has received from local industry over the years, creating a win-win situation for its students, the engineering community and the state.
“When practitioners from the engineering and construction industry make contributions to the UH Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, they not only support the school. The funds directly affect the students in the form of upgrades to classrooms, equipment and better methods of instructional delivery,” said Assistant Professor Randall Akiona. “Everyone benefits when our graduates enter the ‘real world’ if they can enjoy an improved college experience.”