A student drives a Ford mustang in the Wreck Parade followed by a SPOT robot.

School of Building Construction Undergraduates
Brought a Robot to the Wreck Parade

School of Building Construction Undergraduates
Brought a Robot to the Wreck Parade

The familiar sound of the Ramblin Wreck’s “Aah-OOOOO-Gah” horn always starts the Ramblin Wreck Parade during Homecoming. But the usual applause and shouts of support for friends stopped after the first few classic cars rolled down Ferst Drive.

Instead, exclamations of “Woah!,” and the rustle of cell phones hoisted to take videos filled the air.

That’s because the School of Building Construction’s classic car entry — a 1965 burgundy Ford Mustang with white leather interior, festooned with construction decor and a hand-painted banner — was followed by close industry friend Brasfield & Gorrie’s Spot robot.

As Naomi Censullo, owner of the Mustang and new Bachelor of Science in Building Construction (BSBC) student, drove in the parade, she was as impressed as the crowd.

“I loved having Spot behind us, it was a crowd pleaser. And it was absolutely hilarious to see him moving, just mimicking a dog perfectly,” Censullo said. “It was a great way to demonstrate to people that construction is forward thinking. And Spot is an innovation. That robot is an example of innovative technology being used on construction sites by huge construction companies like Brasfield & Gorie.”

Fellow BSBC student Caleb Enterkin (wearing a gold School of Building Construction hardhat) walked alongside the Mustang and Spot, proudly representing his school and his newly reinstated major.

“I think everybody loved it,” Enterkin said of the School’s Wreck Parade entry. “The main goal was exposure, and I think people definitely got the message that the School of Building Construction is here.”

A Proud New Chair

Parade watchers take a photo of the SPOT robot with their cell phones.
Photo: School of Building Construction
New chair Ece Erdogmus (center, in the white knit cap) takes a photo of the Spot robot during the Ramblin Wreck Parade.

Greeting her students and the robot covered in their lessons was Ece Erdogmus, the new chair of the School.

“I’m not going to lie, I teared up a little bit when I saw them come around the corner, because that sight was a representation of so many things for me professionally and personally," Erdogmus said.

"Professionally, I thought of the amazing future ahead for the School of Building Construction with its passionate students and talented faculty, research work on the latest technology in construction, and our vast construction industry support. Personally, it was a reminder that I am at the beginning of a new chapter for me and my family; starting many new traditions like attending the very unique Wreck parade with my kids."

“These students are not only brilliant but are trailblazers,” she said. “It takes a lot of courage and trust in an institution and its faculty to sign on for a brand-new degree. We really appreciate them for choosing us and trusting their future with us.”

The parade capped off a week of advisory board and student networking events for the new chair. “There’s been a lot of excitement in our building, with our industry friends (many of whom are alumni) meeting our new undergraduate students. We are very fortunate to have such a strong construction industry in the region that is ready and eager to support us in our academic endeavors” she said.

“We really thank Brasfield & Gorrie not only for lending us Spot the robot dog, but for being one of our strong industry supporters and friends.”

"Brasfield & Gorrie’s collaboration with Boston Dynamics to use the robot Spot is a wonderful example of the construction industry implementing technology to address construction challenges," said Chad Waters, a Regional Preconstruction Director with Brasfield & Gorrie. "We jumped at the opportunity to showcase how we are leveraging innovation in the construction industry."

BSBC Students Spread the Word

Building construction students crouch next to the Spot robot.
Photo: School of Building Construction
Caleb Enterkin and Naomi Censullo pose next to Spot.

"It is also exciting to see Georgia Tech reactivate the undergraduate building construction program not only because I am an alumnus, but because Atlanta's construction industry needs the talent that Georgia Tech develops," Waters said.

Censullo had the opportunity to meet Waters prior to the parade, and shared her thoughts on the major they now share. She was especially impressed by how willing the advisory board was to mentor the new undergraduates.

“I love ‘BC’ so much that I became an ambassador for the School,” she said. “I’m really passionate about advocating it to people.” And it doesn’t hurt that surveys find majors related to construction have high value and low unemployment rate.

“We are on construction sites, we’re seeing our future firsthand. We read from the textbook and then the next week go to a construction site and actually see work like foundations being laid. I’m being exposed to my career before I even enter the field,” she said.

Censullo was a Computer Science major before transferring to the Building Construction program.

“If you want something that is going to challenge you every single day, consider building construction,” she said. “Every project is different. You could be building the same thing, but that doesn’t matter because the site’s different, the crew is different.”

“If you’re a problem solver, if you like a little difficulty, and if you love people, this is the career for you,” she said with a smile.

Media Inquiries

Ann Hoevel
Director of Communications
College of Design
E-mail Ann Hoevel
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