Development Authority of Lumpkin County collaborates with UGA engineering students

Listen to Dr. Durham and his students share their experience collaborating with the Development Authority of Lumpkin County.

A total of 60 University of Georgia (UGA) Civil Engineering Project Management Class students spent the Spring 2021 semester producing design and construction reports related to a proposed industrial development project for the Development Authority of Lumpkin County.

“We have such talented, hardworking, professional students at UGA,” said Dr. Stephan Durham, UGA Engineering School Assistant Dean for Student Success and Outreach and Professor of Civil Engineering. “Their ability to combine the technical knowledge with the practical know-how is going to make them sought-after engineers in their professional careers.”

The UGA Engineering School requires all students to complete at least one experiential learning experience program before graduating. The design and construction project for the Development Authority of Lumpkin County fulfilled this requirement by allowing students to work as engineers in training, connect with a client, understand the client’s needs, initiate a productive meeting, and expand other soft and hard skills.

The 60 students were divided into 20 project groups. After final evaluation, the top two groups were asked to present the project recommendations to the Development Authority of Lumpkin County Board of Directors and partner agencies.

“The Development Authority proactively supports experiential learning experiences with our workforce development partners,” said Executive Director of the Development Authority of Lumpkin County Rebecca Mincey. “These students have provided the Authority with a product we will be able to use to market the proposed development to future prospects.”

Community-based, real-world projects serve to help students connect the technical knowledge they learn in the classroom to the practical application of solving problems. Dr Durham and his students also received the 2021 Lowery Gillespie, Jr. Engineering Curriculum Enhancement Award based on this experiential learning project.

The Development Authority of Lumpkin County’s mission is to enrich local employment, the county tax base, and business opportunities while honoring the community’s history, natural beauty, and character. By Visiting, Acknowledging, Listening, Utilizing, and Engaging, the Authority’s VALUE Program connects businesses with resources designed to help grow operations, increase sales, identify new markets, and engage the community.