College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ABE past meets present at beam signing

Beam signing
Beam signing
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering students sign the last structural support beam to be placed in the new ABE building complex.

Ask any student, and they’ll say that their experience on campus left a mark on them.  On a windy VEISHEA Friday, students and faculty of the department of agricultural and biosystems engineering past and present were able to return the favor. The construction crew working on the new ABE complex left out one of the last structural support beams for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to sign before going into place to create the building’s penthouse. The occasion was marked with speeches, competitions, and reunions.

“I have to pinch myself – that it is finally here,” said Charles Sukup.

Sukup, an alum of the department himself, is president of the family owned Sukup Manufacturing Company and who has generously donated to the building.

“I graduated in the fall of 1972, and even then, we had been in need of a new building for decades. My whole family has a connection with Iowa State University. I’m glad we can return the personal care that the faculty showed me when I came here,” Sukup said.

Just like Sukup’s business, the building of the new complex has been an ABE family affair.

Andy Bates, project manager from The Weitz Company, graduated in December 1999 with a degree in agricultural engineering. He described the building process as a collaborative effort between architects, contractors, and engineers. And their work really showed.  Bates announced that the construction crew has approximately two more months of outside work, weather permitting, and will then begin on the inside.

“We’re excited to give you the building you’ve been wanting for quite some time,” Bates said. “It feels pretty good to be able to give back to the ABE faculty.”

Dr. Steve Mickelson, ABE department chair, thanked the speakers and handed out permanent markers for people to sign the beam. The white beam was quickly covered in signatures and graduation years, which gave rise to a friendly competition of determining whose graduating class was the oldest.

“This is a very exciting time in the construction of our new ABE Complex.  We were thrilled that the construction manager of the project gave the faculty, staff, students and ABE constituents the opportunity to sign the last structural beam to be placed in the Sukup Hall building.  We are all anxious to move into our new ABE home,” said Mickelson.

The ABE complex project is on track to be completed by June of 2014.