The Peter Kiewit Institute in the News PKI In the News. Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:37:00 -0500 en-us NU's Budget to ask for $20 million to support economic competitiveness Wed, 03 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0500 By Kate Howard / World-Herald staff writer LINCOLN — The University of Nebraska’s two-year budget request will ask the state for $20 million in investments to support “economic competitiveness.” The Board of Regents will vote next week on the budget request, which will focus on funding universitywide initiatives such as the Innovation Campus, the Rural Futures Institute and the Peter Kiewit Institute in the 2015-17 budget. NU also is planning to request an overall 1 percent operational budget increase. The university system now receives $540 million in state appropriations. But the request also will include scenarios for an increase of up to 3.3 percent if faculty and staff salaries are increased. The university’s request is due to the governor and Legislature in September, and it won’t include specifics on salaries until University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney faculty complete collective bargaining. NU is calling the $20 million investment request an economic and workforce development initiative. Some projects the state has already financially supported are included in the plan: The Health Science Education Complex at UNK got $15 million for construction from the state in 2012, and the Innovation Campus was launched in part with a $25 million state allocation in 2011. “The university has a long and successful history of partnering with the state to achieve our shared goals for attracting and developing talent, fostering research and innovation, and providing affordable, high-quality education that meets Nebraska’s workforce needs,” NU interim President James Linder said in a statement. “We expect to continue that partnership.” Also requested: help with implementing the growth in enrollment, faculty and research to beef up the Peter Kiewit Institute, funding for research in rural economies at the Rural Futures Institute and help with national security projects at the National Strategic Research Institute. The budget documents don’t spell out how the $20 million would be allocated to individual programs if awarded. NU also plans to ask for “targeted investments” in the two-year budget: $13 million in talent enhancement for faculty and staff salaries, $1 million toward the Collegebound Nebraska tuition program for low-income students, $1 million toward “college pipeline” programs to improve college-going rates and $5 million for “NU Programs of Excellence.” Contact the writer: 402-444-3185,, World-Herald editorial: Right strategy for PKI’s future Fri, 11 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0500 In the late 1990s, the Peter Kiewit Institute was created with two key goals in mind: Boost the pool of engineering graduates for the local employment market. And put Nebraska on the radar screen for cutting-edge engineering studies. Outside studies in 2008 and 2013 looked at PKI — a collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska at Omaha — and both studies concluded that despite progress on some fronts, PKI was falling short. More needed to be done to strengthen the ties to local industry’s needs, the consultants said. PKI needed to be more assertive and ambitious in obtaining major research grants (a key goal the NU Board of Regents had underscored in creating PKI). The institute needed to carve out appropriate scientific niches in which to specialize. And, in the words of the 2008 report, it needed to “develop better synergy between the component units of PKI”: UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology and UNL’s College of Engineering. At the start of 2014, the encouraging news is that PKI is poised for major improvement on all these scores. At its last meeting, the NU Board of Regents approved a wide-ranging collaborative agreement worked out last year in a series of positive meetings by leaders from UNO and UNL. The agreement is now official NU policy. Under it, UNO and UNL have agreed to work together in pursuing specific goals in key areas: Research. Student enrollment. Scientific grants. UNO and UNL will work cooperatively to build strong relationships with major private-sector companies in Nebraska. They will expand outreach to K-12 education. Under the new policy, the governance of PKI has been revamped so that UNO and UNL have direct authority over decisions at the institute. UNO and UNL leaders will meet regularly to work on ongoing projects, monitor progress and pursue long-term plans. The new policy provides clarity by setting out specific, measurable benchmarks — a key need emphasized in the 2013 consultants’ report. Especially encouraging is PKI’s collaborative infrastructure data analysis project by which UNL’s civil engineers will work with UNO’s computer scientists. This is a smart niche for PKI. The project will build on NU’s strengths and encourage the type of ambitious, multidisciplinary research teams associated with top-flight research science. NU also is making a major commitment to hire new faculty members (30 in Omaha, 20 in Lincoln) and add 35,000 to 40,000 square feet of classroom and office space. The institute will position itself to reach targeted increases in Omaha-based undergraduate enrollment, student retention and research grant funding. The UNL College of Engineering will add a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering for working professionals, both Omaha-based. All of this adds up to what looks like a practical, innovative strategy. It’s a very full plate, but it is doable. If PKI reaches these important goals, the results can be tremendous for NU as well as Nebraska’s economy. All the more reason to pursue this strategy in a collaborative, forward-looking spirit. Schools, agencies respond as supply of workers trails IT demand Tue, 15 Oct 2013 00:00:00 -0500 His parents thought it was kind of crazy, going to college to study computers. Shouldn't he become a doctor or an architect? But Edgar Vazquez says he got into the right field at the right time when he majored in computer science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, graduating in December. Computer innovation and common sense imbued by a ranch upbringing lead to a college student’s new cattle breeding program Tue, 08 Oct 2013 00:00:00 -0500 If necessity is the mother of invention, where does aggravation fit? For Rachel Ostrander, the aggravation factor provided the necessity, which in turn led to the invention of a new computer program, still under development, that helps cattle breeders better keep the avalanche of artificial insemination (AI) data organized and more useful. Ostrander is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Omaha majoring in information technology innovation. She’s a ranch girl from Rushville, NE, and was helping Art and Merry Brownlee of the JHL Ranch at Ashby, NE, inseminate cows last summer when the seed of the idea was planted in her brain. UNO College of Information Science and Technology Surpasses Phase One Goal to Increase Number of Women in IT Wed, 02 Oct 2013 00:00:00 -0500 Omaha - After only four months, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)’s Women in IT Initiative announces today that it has surpassed its Phase One goal of raising $250,000 – more than half of the program’s two-year goal of raising $400,000 to be used towards encouraging women to invest in information technology education and careers. Omaha by Design - First Annual Sustainability Summit Thu, 15 Aug 2013 00:00:00 -0500 What do you ask 20 of the region’s most gifted high school seniors if given the opportunity? The group was in town July 25 for a three-day Academy of Sustainable Environments and Renewable Energy at the University of Nebraska’s Peter Kiewit Institute. On the final day of the academy, the students and the general public were invited to attend the first annual Sustainability Summit. The event, sponsored by the Omaha Public Power District, featured presentations by OPPD, the City of Omaha’s reEnergize Program, Omaha by Design and American Energy Advisors. Connie Spellman, director of Omaha by Design, gave attendees an overview of the Environmental Element, Omaha’s vision for creating a more sustainable city. In addition to the presentations, local organizations involved with renewable energy and sustainability were invited to set up exhibits. At the Omaha by Design table, the students and summit attendees were asked to answer the following question – how can Omaha become a greener city? Their responses are listed below. More bike commuting Strict green building codes More opportunities for recycling Curbside glass pick up More rain gardens More LED lights Eliminate plastic/paper bags in grocery/retail stores Don’t pollute anywhere Encourage more buildings to be LEED certified More solar-powered heaters Electric car charging stations Plant more trees When you take a tree down – plant a new one White/reflective rooftops Natural light windows Reduce – reuse – recycle More reusable grocery bags For more information about the Environmental Element, visit Consultants: UNO and UNL Must Cooperate Fri, 12 Jul 2013 00:00:00 -0500 The Omaha World Herald recently published an article regarding a report put together for President JB Milliken about PKI. SCS Welcomes New Board Members - Mike McGinnis, President Elect Mon, 17 Jun 2013 00:00:00 -0500 SCS Welcomes New Board Members FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Yen-Trang Tran 760-277-3888 THE SOCIETY FOR MODELING AND SIMULATION, INTERNATIONAL (SCS) WELCOMES DR. MICHAEL MCGINNIS AS NEW PRESIDENT-ELECT AND NEW BOARD MEMBERS San Diego, CA – June 7, 2013 - The Society for Modeling and Simulation, International (SCS) announced its new board members and the president-elect Dr. Mike McGinnis. Mike McGinnis, executive director at the Peter Kiewit Institute, was named President-Elect and will serve a one-year term in office. Mike McGinnis joined The Peter Kiewit Institute as Executive Director on June 10, 2009. Prior to assuming this position Brigadier General (Ret.) McGinnis served as the Executive Director of the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University for three years, following a seven year tenure as Professor and Head of the Department of Systems Engineering Department at West Point, New York. Also announced were new Directors-at-Large, including Bill Tucker, President of Simulationist US Inc., Hassan Rajaei, Computer Science Professor at CS/BGSU Bowling Green State University, and Bjorn Johansson, Associate Professor at Chalmers University of Technology. Dr. McGinnis is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and has Masters of Science degrees in Applied Mathematics and Operations Research from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Systems and Industrial Engineering. He attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island where he earned a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies. Mike’s previous center director positions include Director of the Army TRADOC Analysis Center at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and Director of the United States Military Academy Operations Research Center. He has served in key government positions and on committees dealing with engineering, modeling and simulation, and analysis to advise and bring about change. These include Chairman of the Advisory Council on Modeling and Simulation to the Governor of Virginia, Director of the Army Unit Manning Task Force, National Academy of Sciences Committee on Defense Modeling, Simulation and Analysis, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Systems Engineering Council, Army Simulation Architecture Working Group, Army Modeling and Simulation Standards Nomination and Approval Committee, and the Deputy Undersecretary of the Army for Operations Research and Systems Analysis Advisory Committee. OWH Editorial: Schools Focused on Sustainability Fri, 07 Jun 2013 00:00:00 -0500 The Omaha World Herald published an editorial on June 6 about sustainability and local Universities. Peter Kiewit Institute Shows Off Renovations Wed, 01 May 2013 00:00:00 -0500 No description available. PKI Renovation Creates Room for Collaboration Mon, 29 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0500 The Omaha World Herald published an article in the April 29, 2013 edition about the renovations at PKI. KETV Reports on PKI Renovations Sat, 27 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0500 KETV News Watch 7 did a piece on PKI's nearly complete renovation. Gov. Heineman Addresses National Association of Counties' Cyber Symposium at PKI Fri, 19 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0500 Nebraska's Governor, Dave Heineman, spoke at PKI on Thursday, April 18th, during the inaugural National Association of Counties (NACo) National Cyber Symposium. During the two-day event, PKI hosted over 115 cyber leaders from across the country who represented government agencies, academic institutions, and industry partners who are at the forefront of securing the Nation's cyber infrastructure. Symposium participants received critical information on cyber-related themes including, cyber threats to county government, what counties can do to provide information assurance, and cyber and cyber workforce training and education. Additional information on NACo and the Cybersecurity Task Force can be found at the link above. PKI Hosts David Rutherford, former Navy SEAL and motivational speaker, for distinguished lecture series Fri, 18 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0600 The Peter Kiewit Institute's Distinguished Lecture Series, held on Wednesday, January 16th at the Scott Conference Center, provided another oustanding venue to challenge and encourage our future leaders. Students, faculty, and community leaders were treated to a dynamic, high-energy presentation from motivational speaker and former Navy SEAL, David Rutherford. Throughout the evening, David pumped up the crowd with "hooahs" and exercised minds and bodies as he shared his eight "missions" that support self-confidence and can lead to a more positive and fulfilling life. For more information about David Rutherford and Team Froglogic, click on the link above. Right Person. Right Place. Right Time. Mon, 07 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0600 The woman’s message was garbled. Something about him. Something about the Wanner Award. Mike McGinnis, the retired brigadier general who now leads the Peter Kiewit Institute, figured the message was just to let him know he’d been nominated. He phoned her back and left his own message: Thanks so much. It’s such an honor … He knew all about the Wanner Award, the prestigious lifetime service award given each year by the Military Operations Research Society to someone who’s made a huge impact on national security. The people who’d won were among his heroes. These were people who’d used math and technology to solve complex the choir teacher. They were among McGinnis’ first heroes. “They had extraordinary high standards,” McGinnis says. “If you didn’t do something just right, you were doing it over until you got it right. That carries over into sports, that carries over into life, that carries over into almost anything.” That carries over into how McGinnis sees his role as director of the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha, which combines UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology with UNL’s College of Engineering. To succeed, he says, it has to be as a team. “It’s got to be all hands. It’s got to be all faculty. It’s got to be all staff. It’s got to be everybody,” says McGinnis, who came to PKI three years ago. “The future is collaboration, cooperation and communications – the three Cs. If you can’t piece all three of those together, you’re never going to be world-class.” Among his goals for PKI by 2020: Grow its enrollment from about 1,650 last year to about 2,700, and turn out enough workers to meet the needs of local businesses. • Grow its research from about $5 million this year to $20 million. (The current $7.5 million renovation will add 16,000 square feet of research space, he says, and accelerate collaboration because of its movable walls and innovative design.) • Grow its reputation as a world-class leader, by continuing to recruit world-class faculty. “We’re getting there now,” he says. “Our faculty are gaining a wide reputation, and this institute is, too, for the quality of the academic programs and the quality of our students who graduate and the research that we’re doing. I’m very excited about what the next five or 10 years are going to have in store for us.” McGinnis sits near his desk in his office at PKI. His 2012 Wanner Award hangs on a wall. Among its words in praise about him – He has proven to be a “game changer” for the national security community for many years but his work as a “life-changer” for countless junior analysts is what makes him an invaluable asset for our community. Titles and honors are terrific, he says. But they don’t make you a good leader. “I’ve always been most inspired by the people who were a little humble, who didn’t take themselves too seriously,” he says. “But you knew they had what it takes to be a leader. It’s a natural leadership, as opposed to ‘This is what my rank is or my nameplate on my door.’ “It kind of goes back to this Nebraska thing we have here in the state – doing the right thing for the right reason, working hard and not stopping until the job is done right.” One of the biggest honors of his life, he says, was knowing another native son of Nebraska, Capt. Art Bonifas. Bonifas grew up in Omaha and graduated from Creighton Prep, just two miles up the road from PKI. Like McGinnis, he was good at math. McGinnis met him after arriving at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as a first-year cadet. That was 1973. Bonifas, a math teacher, became his sponsor and took him under his wing. Bonifas had a redheaded wife who gave McGinnis home-cooked meals and advice on girls. Bonifas had three small children. The home became a safe haven, McGinnis says, from all the hazing you go through as a West Point plebe. “He taught me about being a military officer, about duty and honor to your country. He ingrained in me things about taking care of your soldiers.” On one trip back to Omaha, Bonifas and his family drove to Wisner to visit the McGinnis home. They went out to the hog farm. The Bonifas kids were thrilled to get to ride a Shetland pony When McGinnis was a West Point junior, Bonifas got deployed to South Korea. One August day in 1976 he and another soldier were sent to trim a poplar tree growing near a bridge along the contentious border between North Korea and South Korea. The bridge was called “The Bridge of No Return.” Several dozen North Korean soldiers surrounded the two men, and murdered them with axes. This was just three days before Bonifas was to return home. McGinnis was a pallbearer. He did what he could for his friend’s widow and kids that final year at West Point. On Graduation Day, Mrs. Bonifas gave him a long piece of wood with his name burned into it. M.L. McGinnis. It’s front and center on his desk They had a ceremony the other day at PKI to honor McGinnis for getting the Wanner Award. McGinnis heard Walter Scott – one of his newest heroes, a role model of generosity and vision – tell the crowd that no one who knew McGinnis well was surprised Said Scott: “At the institute today, we are fortunate to have the right person, at the right place, at the right time.” McGinnis then stood at the podium and thanked his folks, Jim and Bonnie, his first role models. He thanked his own three grown kids. He thanked his colleagues and students at PKI. “This is a dream-come-true job for me,” he said. “And I am so proud to be back here in the state of Nebraska.” He talked about the current renovation at PKI and how it means knocking down walls and creating an atmosphere of collaboration. And he talked about the future as he held a fist in the air. All the fingers of a hand must work together, he explained. Not each finger doing its own thing. But united like a fist. All hands. That’s how you win. - Colleen Fleischer, University of Nebraska Foundation PKI student accepted into Emerging Leaders program Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:00:00 -0600 In recognition of her commitment to excellence and outstanding potential for future success, Efti Lilo, an undergraduate from the Peter Kiewit Institute's College of Information Science and Technology, was selected to join UNO's Emerging Leaders program in 2013. The Emerging Leaders program supports student leadership development through mentorship and enhancing academic opportunities. The end result of the program helps to shape future community leaders who are ready to take on the toughest challenges. For more information on the Emerging Leaders program, see the link below. UNO Studies End by Finding Real-world Software Solution - Published by the Omaha World Herald Fri, 14 Dec 2012 00:00:00 -0600 'Instead of writing a research thesis to conclude their master's degree studies, 19 University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate students formed a team to develop software for a Lincoln company that needed a better tool to track its workers' billable hours. It was a real-world experience that benefited both the students and the business, Nebraska Air Quality Specialties, said professor Deepak Khazanchi, associate dean of UNO's College of Information Science and Technology. "If you want to prepare graduate students for the workplace, we need to have experiences that are realistic at the end of the educational process," he said. "So we actually have them work on a real-life problem." The company's time-tracking system will be unveiled at 6 p.m. today at an event at the Kiewit Institute on UNO's south campus. The project was the result of a capstone course for students who will graduate this weekend with a master's degree in Management Information Systems. For more than three years, UNO has given students in that field the option of tackling a capstone project instead of writing a thesis or taking a comprehensive exam. The students' clients' are chosen from among nonprofits and small businesses that have sought UNO's assistance with their information technology dilemmas because they can't afford to hire information technology experts. The project was a learning experience even for students like Nate Clute and Kurt Johnson, both of whom were part-time graduate students while working full-time at information technology-related jobs. Clute, for example, is a systems analyst for Science Applications International Corp. in Omaha. It's a job he landed through an internship when he was a UNO undergraduate more than 10 years ago. Johnson is director of network technology for NorthStar Financial Services Group. He served on the documentation team. Clute's classmates selected him to serve as the project manager. "I have a little experience managing in my job, as a supervisor, but I've never managed that many people before," he said. "It was quite an experience". Clute said Lincoln businessman Piyush Srivastav approached the students with a problem. Srivastav's company, Nebraska Air Quality Specialities, is a consulting firm that helps businesses comply with government standards for air quality. His workers travel a lot and needed a more effective way to track their working hours for billing purposes. Srivastav wanted a Web application that would interface with mobile devices so that employees could record their time before they forgot it without having to carry a lot of slips of paper. He also wanted a way to export the data to a spreadsheet program for analysis. Clute said the cost of such a project could be prohibitive for many smaller businesses. The 19 students divided into teams in much the same way they would while working in the private sector. One student was assigned to be client liaison and others served on the documentation team. There was a technical lead, a project manager, a database team and a development team. The students involved came from around the world - China, Saudi Arabia and Malawi - as well as the U.S. Many already are working for Omaha technology companies. They learned techniques commonly used in the working world to manage software development projects, such as a "Scrum" framework. Named after a rugby maneuver, the Scrum method requires team members to routinely report their progress and problems to the rest of the team. Collaborating and communicating with others actually are the major skills taught by the capstone project and are critical to being successful, said Shonna Dorsey, an adjunct instructor who works as a software consultant with Sogeti of Omaha. Dorsey herself was a student in the capstone class two years ago. She said it allowed her to move into her present job, in which she works with clients, gathering information about their needs and developing and delivering a project that serves those needs. "It's had a huge impact on my professional career," she said. NU engineering faculty propose joint Omaha, Lincoln classes Fri, 30 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0600 The discussion continues among the faculty of the College of Engineering regarding the proposed merger of departments. Proposed engineering program merger splits Lincoln, Omaha Fri, 30 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0600 The Omaha World Herald outlines the discussion on merging two engineering programs in the news article published November 18, 2012. PKI sees teaming opportunity with new Center for Urban Sustainability Mon, 05 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0600 On Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Center for Urban Sustainability at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The focus of the new entity will be to increase general awareness, enhance educational opportunities, and research technologies and policies that will affordably support the world's growing urban population. UNO's Office of Academic and Student Affairs lead the new center, but will leverage research efforts from across UNO, including the Peter Kiewit Institute, and engage in collaborative efforts throughout local community. According to PKI's executive director, Dr. Mike McGinnis, "The Institute is poised to make significant research contributions to the new Center, including how we gather, organize, protect, and use information that helps us achieve to our sustainability goals." In addition, PKI hosts researchers in renewable energy, improved energy efficiency, and sustainable engineering and construction who could provide critical technologies for a sustainable future. Another key partner in this drive for a more efficient community is the Omaha Community Center for Sustainability (OCCS). Formed over 4 years ago, OCCS's mission is to help the people of Omaha and beyond respond to changing physical and economic conditions and to assist with transition to a more rational and efficient way of life through the creation of a living example and laboratory dedicated to sustainability. Since its formation, OCCS has worked diligently to help create a University-based partner to continue this mission. The establishment of UNO's Center for Urban Sustainability marks an important milestone in this ongoing effort. "The new Center at UNO and PKI are natural partners, who share important aspects of their mission and focus," said OCCS Chairman, Fred Amis. "We look forward to working with PKI and UNO's new Center to foster research, provide expanded community education, create an Urban Living Laboratory, and strengthen our city's resilience in the face of a challenging world." York, Nebraska Students Participate in Academies of Excellence Fri, 31 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 YORK Four York High boys have solidified their after high school goals after attending summer workshops at the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha. PKI selects outstanding high school juniors and seniors from Nebraska to attend the all-expense paid experiences on the PKI campus. The students are selected from nominations and applications that reflect academic achievement and community involvement. Attending the PKI Academy of Excellence was junior, John Fletcher and attending the second level workshop, the Academy of Cyber & Information Assurance were seniors, Avery Miller, Christian Wagner, and Jake Weskamp. John experienced hands on workshops in engineering, technology, and information science familiarizing him with topics like bridge construction, civil engineering and visual animations. John reflected that the Academy of Excellence had solidified his goal of pursuing an engineering career and made PKI one of the places he will consider attending after graduating from YHS. The Academy of Cyber & Information Assurance exposed seniors, Jake, Christian and Avery to cyber system technologies and defenses that enable and protect the network that supports our Nations critical infrastructures like finance, insurance, medical, telecommunications, and home land security. Information Assurance (IA), the practice of managing information-related risks is concerned with mitigating risks in the global IT structure. The program involved the students with issues of security and engineering principles, cryptography, digital forensics and disaster recovery. The boys in reflecting about their experiences said, We got to see and try many things dealing with engineering, information, infrastructure, and the dangers involved through the internet, home, business, and government networks. We also had fun meeting other talented students and doing great social activities like watching the movie, X-men in the campus theater and bowling. It was great to see the possibilities for education PKI offers. We would recommend these camps to anyone liking math and science and interested in engineering and computers. Peter Kiewit Institute success brings push for more Mon, 27 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Matt Morhardt, John Oerter, and Wyatt Suddarth are hunkered down in a third-floor computer lab at Omaha's Peter Kiewit Institute. As they work, construction workers are churning through lower-level halls, trying to make progress on a 16,000-square-foot renovation that school officials hope will help transform and grow the institute's research capabilities and national identity, an issue that has been in the spotlight since 2008. The Peter Kiewit Institute grew out of a push by the Omaha business community for a local college that would aim to recruit the best and brightest students in Nebraska, provide them with a quality education and then turn them loose to land jobs with Omaha and Nebraska businesses struggling to recruit such talent. Thirteen years after opening its doors, PKI has been successful in turning out talented graduates, according to PKI data and interviews with Omaha businesspeople. More than 97 percent of all PKI graduates find employment in their field or move on to graduate school. And in many cases, there are more job and internship opportunities than there are candidates. The problem, PKI officials and businesspeople said, is that enrollment hasn't grown significantly and the institute isn't turning out enough job candidates to meet local needs. PKI officials also now believe that in order to attract more top students and faculty members, they need to transition from the original workforce development model to an institution that also does research. The institute has a complicated structure. It's a combination of the University of Nebraska at Omaha's information science and technology department and seven of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's engineering disciplines. It's located on a campus south of UNO by design. The Omaha business community lobbied for years for the University of Nebraska to launch a new engineering college in the city. We're very concerned about our future ability to compete in the marketplace, a business president told the Nebraska Board of Regents in 1993 in pressing for an Omaha-based engineering school. Engineering education, he said, affects our ability to survive as a company. After study and debate, the regents in 1994 voted down the idea. In 1995, Omaha failed to land a microchip manufacturing plant because, Micron Technology said, the city lacked high-tech workers and education plans. The regents in 1996 approved plans that later became PKI. The institute was financed through a combination of $23 million in state funds and $47 million raised through a private fundraising effort led by Walter Scott Jr., an Omaha billionaire and former chief executive of Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc. Of the private funds, $15 million was provided by the Peter Kiewit Foundation. In July, construction began on a $7.5 million renovation funded through private donations that will establish 16,000-square-feet of research space, a community center and cafe area. The banging and clanging of construction work during a recent visit to PKI's campus didn't seem to throw off the students roaming the halls. Even though it was a few weeks until the fall semester was to begin, a trio of PKI juniors Morhardt of Omaha, a civil engineering student; Oerter of Hastings, who's studying computer science; and Suddarth of York, in architectural engineering were in the computer lab, tweaking a software platform. It's one that they envision being used by architectural engineers and designers to turn their digital blueprints into avatar-based environments where clients can digitally mosey about a planned building and critique everything from building materials to paint colors and window placement. The students have a contract to develop the program for Science Applications International Corp., a Fortune 500 company and defense contractor based in McLean, Va. Mike McGinnis These students embody what the school and its students in particular the recipients of the highly sought-after Scott Scholarships have stood for since it first opened in 1998, said Mike McGinnis, who has served since 2009 as the PKI executive director. These kids, you get them involved, create opportunities for them, then boom,' they take off and you can't hold them back, McGinnis said. They're like wild horses and they're out of the barn and they're running fast. Union Pacific has built a pipeline into PKI's information science and technology department. Every year, the railroad has at least 30 interns out of the PKI program and hires 12 or more graduates annually, said Karen Krabbe, assistant vice president of corporate systems. In coming years, Krabbe said, more of UP's IT staff is preparing to retire at the same time the company's IT department continues to grow. You can never get enough good talent and good students, Krabbe said. Due to our impending attrition, we're going to continue to be challenged to find good new hires. The situation is similar at ConAgra Foods, said Gerrit Schutte, ConAgra's chief information officer. ConAgra, which has about 700 full-time employees in its IT department, runs an intern program that brings in about 75 students each year. In the last two years, those have included 35 to 40 PKI interns. Of those interns, Schutte said, between 85 percent and 90 percent are offered full-time positions. (PKI has) dramatically increased the quality of our hire, and, really, we feel the supply we get out of IS&T is outstanding, Schutte said. This program, in terms of IT, is really the lifeblood of our future. Without them it would be extremely hard to meet our annual demand. Other companies have strong ties to PKI, as well. McGinnis said graduates and interns regularly find roles at Mutual of Omaha, Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc., HDR Inc., Alley Poyner Macchietto, U.S. Strategic Command, Hayneedle, Interpublic Group and payment processing giant First Data, which donated the land on which PKI was built. First Data this year has hired 12 interns, and 10 of them are from PKI. There are so many job opportunities in our area, but there simply aren't enough students, said Deepak Khazanchi, associate dean for academic affairs for the institute's IS&T department. According to data from UNO and UNL, enrollment at PKI has dropped from a peak of 1,738 students in fall 2007 to 1,650 in fall 2011. PKI officials say the Great Recession and a negative perception of the IT industry have hurt enrollment. We're getting to a point in which we are basically trying to go to high schools and letting them know that IT is not just about programming. It's more than that. It's exciting. It's more than just a nerdy discipline, said Hesham Ali, the dean of the College of Information Science & Technology. To start the 2012 school year, IS&T enrollment at PKI is up roughly 7 percent, while the engineering disciplines remain flat. In response, PKI is focusing more resources on recruiting students from Iowa, Kansas, North and South Dakota and Minnesota, as well as recruiting internationally. McGinnis has been charged with raising enrollment to 2,700, an increase of more than 60 percent, by 2020, with an emphasis on landing more high-performing students who would qualify for the Scott Scholarships. Those scholarships cover university fees, books and room and board, and allow recipients to participate in special events, like social gatherings with business leaders and etiquette seminars. Those students must have an ACT score of 30 or higher and a 3.5 grade-point average. McGinnis said that as more donations boost that program, PKI will be able to attract more top talent. But in the meantime, total numbers are an issue. Yes, I'm concerned about enrollments, I'd like to see them up, McGinnis said. We're not losing ground across the board, but we're not making up ground, either. Another of PKI's growth pillars that has been slow to develop is its shift to becoming a strong research operation. The institute continues to implement changes the regents required in 2008 to shift PKI to a nationally recognized, research-based education model. McGinnis, a retired Army brigadier general who previously served as the executive director of the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University, was hired to lead those efforts. Since McGinnis came on-board, PKI has increased federal research funds from about $5.5 million in 2009 to about $9.8 million last year. By 2020, PKI's goal: to surpass $25 million. The transition from what McGinnis called a workforce development model of teaching students and preparing them for careers to a more advanced, research-based operation has hit a little bit of a delay, he acknowledged. The Washington Advisory Group, which was hired to make recommendations about the strategic future of PKI, reported to the regents in 2008 that the institute had become a poster child for its commitment to the local business community. But that commitment also had hampered PKI's development on a national stage, the report said, because of the lack of focus on research and technology transfer. Initiatives like PKI that have attempted to meld the intellectual firepower of universities with the bottom-line focus of business have encountered the inevitable clash of cultures, the report said. It also said an infusion of superstar research professors would greatly accelerate the establishment of a world-class center of excellence. The delayed shift toward the direction recommended, McGinnis said, stems from PKI professors not accustomed to performing research. The first 10 years, we spent our efforts building high-quality academic programs, he said. But the people who were hired were never hired explicitly to ... have sort of this dual career of teaching, academics and research. Now, if you go to any upper-tier, upper-third university in the United States, (research) is expected. It's expected because if you are not putting into practice the things that you are teaching the students ... you are not at the cutting edge. PKI now is actively seeking additional professors who are established researchers. The goal, McGinnis said, is to bring in educators who can serve as mentors to small teams of professors without research backgrounds. The institute also this month hired James Taylor, 42, as PKI's research coordinator. Taylor, who spent 20 years in the Air Force as a developmental engineer and now is pursuing a computer engineering doctorate at UNL, will be responsible for analyzing PKI's research data while also finding research opportunities with businesses and organizations. And with that research, McGinnis expects PKI to prosper. This is about solving problems, creating intellectual property, starting businesses, small businesses that grow into big businesses, he said. This is about getting things done, and doing it the right way. It is not easy. The juniors bunkered in the computer lab say it's doable. You invest in us, we go out and get a good education, get good jobs and make more opportunities for people in the future, Oerter said. It's only a matter of time for PKI to be more well-known. PKI Named Member of National Cybersecurity Task Force Tue, 14 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Washington D.C. - The Peter Kiewit Institue (PKI), located on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), was recently announced as part of a national cybersecurity task force. National Association of Counties (NACo) President Chris Rodgers announced late last month that the association is making cybersecurity a priority through a public-private partnership to promote cybersecurity awareness and education. Through a new NACo Cybersecurity Task Force, led by Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson, Douglas County, Neb., the association will disseminate information regarding services and programming from its federal partners directly to county government policy makers and IT professionals to better protect county government networks and residents. Shortly after being installed as NACo President on July 17, Rodgers, commissioner, Douglas County, Neb., said he believed that its important for counties to address cybersecurity in a more comprehensive manner. With the role that county governments play in homeland security, we know that county governments are increasingly becoming a target for hackers and viral attack that could shut down our airports, water systems, electrical grids , and courthouses, Rodgers said. I am proud to say that NACo will be the first of the Big Seven state and local government organizations to highlight this critical issue. Rodgers said its important that county staffs are armed with resources and knowledge necessary to combat the threats and outlined the objectives of the initiative: Raise awareness among county elected officials of the threats to county government cyber infrastructure; Provide educational materials/training for elected officials and their constituents on issues related to cyber security at work and at home; Connect county government with federally funded services offered by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center; Connect county government with Department of Homeland Security products and resources such as Cyber exercises, evaluations and IT risk assessments; and Provide input to NACo steering committees on pending cyber security legislation when warranted. The NACo Cybersecurity Task Force is comprised of 41 members: 21 elected county commissioners, two county sheriffs, one treasurer/auditor, two State county association executives, three IT staff leaders (CIO or CISO), six private partners, five federal partners, and one university partner, The Peter Kiewit Institute - University of Nebraska. The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nations 3,068 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information about NACo, visit Durham School wins at AEI national student competition Mon, 14 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Students in UNL's Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction, at the Peter Kiewit Insitute, hoped to earn one award at the Architectural Engineering Institute's annual national student conference-instead they won in two out of five categories. In the third annual Charles Pankow Foundation competition at the 2012 AEI student conference, collegiate teams presented designs for a high-security government office building with considerations for energy conservation, sustainability, accessibility, durability, productivity and other factors. Top honors in the Structural and Mechanical categories went to the Durham School team: Kelli Augspurger, Brendan Headley, Holly Brink, Tyler Jensen, Adam Brumbaugh, Kyle Kauzlarich, Andy Gilliam, Jacob Zach and James Dougherty, Jr. The team was advised by Clarence Waters, professor of architectural engineering. Waters said: "I am extremely pleased with the performance of UNL's Architectural Engineering (AE) students in this AEI national competition. UNL AE is blessed with truly outstanding students. I attribute this success to the accredited BS/MAE program requiring five years of study and a 3.0 minimum GPA of all students, and to DSAEC's strong ties with industry. When you raise the bar, excellent students rise to the challenge." The Nebraska students worked hard since August 2011 on their entries, Waters noted, and had presented their work to local industry professionals and faculty in preparation for the event. He added: one industry reviewer indicated that one of the Durham School presentations was the best that he had ever seen from either students or professionals. Nebraska was the "home team" for the conference, held April 20-21 in Omaha with hundreds of participants from around the nation. UNL competed with teams from Kansas State University, Tennessee State University, Drexel University, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Wyoming. Judges were industry professionals with several top A/E firms nationwide. UNL Architectural Engineering National Champions Tue, 08 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500 As part of the National Student Conference for the Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) hosted by the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, April 19-21, two groups of UNL MAE students became NATIONAL CHAMPIONS of the Charles Pankow AEI student Design Competition. UNL AE made the top three (finalists in four of five areas of the competition, integration, structures, mechanical, and electrical) and became NATIONAL CHAMPIONS in Structures and Mechanical. The team was made up of UNL MAE Structures students: Brendan Headley, Kyle Kauzlarich, Jacob Zach; UNL MAE Mechanical/Acoustic Students: Holly Brink, James Dougherty, Andy Gilliam; and UNL MAE Electrical/Lighting students: Kelli Augspurger, Adam Brumbaugh and Tyler Jensen. Clarence Waters was the advisor to the team. Congratulations to the 2012 Capstone Award Winners! Thu, 03 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500 The 2012 Capstone & Student Research Conference in Engineering, Information Science and Technology on April 27th was a great success! Undergraduate and graduate students throughout the University of Nebraska had the opportunity to present research and prototypes to judges, faculty, peers, and government/industry leaders. We would like to thank our sponsors and track leads once more for their commitment to student success. A Whole Lotta Shakin Going On Fri, 27 Apr 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Among the 27 schools, with 3 being international schools, competing to win the 9th Annual EERI SDC (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Seismic Design Competition) was the Peter Kiewit Institute's Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction. The Durham School EERI team consisted of: Dr. Terri Norton (Organization Advisor), Alfred Campbell (President), Rose Quail (Treasurer), and Eduardo Vazquez (Secretary). We faced off with the other teams in an exciting and challenging competition that tested our knowledge and understanding of how earthquakes affect skyscrapers and other tall buildings. Though, Nebraska is not home to many exciting earthquakes, like the East and West Coast, learning about how earthquakes affect buildings, and how to better prepare a building against the possible effects of an earthquake is almost as important as creating the structure itself. To do this, the EERI Seismic Design Competition Board had each of the competing teams design and build a cost effective earthquake resistant building, using only balsa wood and glue, which they could then submit for the competition. To comply with the EERI Seismic Design Competition Rules the Durham School's team started out designing the 2012 tower by using a basic square core and then applying a 'Big X' to the outer surface of the square core on all four sides, first for some aesthetics. Then later the team learned that the Big Xs did transfer some of the building load and weight in SAP, a computer software program. The Big X became very important in our innovative tower design for the competition this year. Other school teams and EERI members were impressed with our tower, commenting: "I can't believe how great your tower looks" and "It looks like you could just build that building as it is now and the tower could be a part of a large city." Although, with the Architecture aesthetics, came a huge complication on how to build the tower in the time frame we were allotted. In the beginning our team spent only a few hours here and there, just enough to complete the required tasks, and then we had to gradually increase the amount of time we worked on the tower until we worked every day. A relatively large amount of time was put into the tower over the early mornings on the weekends, and during the week. To comply with the competition rules our tower did not exceed a height of 5' tall resulting in each floor being 2" tall, and the base did not exceed 15" x 15", in order to fit on the competition's Quanser Shake Table II system. In real world terms at a scale of 72:1, every floor would be 12' high, and the tower had around 30 floors, making a full sized building roughly 360' tall. Not only did the team succeed in building the tower but also in the transportation of the tower to Memphis, Tennessee for the Seismic Design Competition. We drove a pickup truck instead of shipping the model all the way to Memphis, TN. A 12 hour drive is a major feat after taking a test and driving all night with the tower in the truck bed. The tower was only being secured by bolts holding the base to the wood crate which was then wrapped in a tarp, and strapped down to the truck bed. Luckily, the tower had not sustained any damage during the trip to the competition, and was in prime condition to watch its competition topple. The competition's main events included a presentation, a poster session, a fundraising auction, and the actual shaking of the towers. From my personal experience, I think the presentation does not even come close to being as nerve racking and exciting as seeing your tower shaking to an earthquake after spending so much time on building the tower, and it breaking towards the end of the third earthquake. The fundraising auction was new this year at the competition and the profits went to the winning school of the competition and EERI. The EERI members and FEMA representatives were encouraged to bet which school would win the seismic design competition. Sue Evers, from Kansas City, Missouri, won the bid for our tower. I have to admit that with this learning experience comes an even greater challenge for a new tower to be designed and constructed for next year. Personally I think that next year will be twice as challenging, and equally exciting. Article by Rose Quail (AE Student) Ph.D. Candidates Welcomed to PKI for Annual Symposium Fri, 27 Apr 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Dr. Eddy Rojas, Director of the Durham School, welcomed 15 Ph.D. candidates to the Peter Kiewit Institute for the second annual Durham School Ph.D Symposium March 14 through the 17th. The symposium is a unique three-day event specifically organized to boost collaboration, foster the spirit of innovation, and open communication among doctoral students in an interdisciplinary environment consisting of Architectural Engineering, Construction Engineering, and Construction Management. The 2012 symposium provided an opportunity for attendees to share their research accomplishments as well as review groundbreaking research conducted by their peers. Additionally, guests of the symposium were treated to tours of the School's engineering facilities in Lincoln and Omaha, while introducing them to the research activities at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The 15 guests invited to participate in this year's Ph.D. Symposium were selected from a pool of highly talented candidates from some of the top universities around the nation. Scott Scholar Awarded Robert W. Young Award Fri, 27 Apr 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Adam Buck, a PKI Scott Scholar studying architectural engineering, was selected for the 2011-12 Robert W. Young Award for Undergraduate Student Research from the Acoustical Society of America. As part of UNL's UCARE program, Adam has been working on the research project "Just Noticeable Difference of Reverberation Time". Reverberation time is one of the most common parameters for room acoustics, and this study is trying to find how much the reverberation time must change for people to perceive the change. The ASA Robert W. Young Award will help fund Adam's continued research. Scott Scholar Recognized by UNO College of Information Science and Technology Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Justin Schmidt, Class of 2014 Peter Kiewit Institute Scott Scholar, was recently recognized by UNO's College of Information Science and Technology for his outstanding work during the ACM Intercollegiate Programming Contest. Justin is a Computer Science major at The Peter Kiewit Institute and is from Blair, Nebraska. Scott Scholars Accompany Dr. McGinnis to Florida for Modeling and Simulation Conference Tue, 13 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Scott Scholars, Wyatt Suddarth and John Oerter recently accompanied Dr. Mike McGinnis to Orlando, FL for the 2011 I/ITSEC Conference. The conference is hosted by the National Training and Simulation Association and bills itself as the world's largest modeling, simulation, and training conference. With roughly 500 vendors present, McGinnis, Suddarth, and Oerter found plenty of exhibits to captivate their attention throughout stay. When asked to describe some of the conference highlights, Oerter replied "the military simulators were a hit with us and we especially enjoyed the driving simulators. Wyatt and I each got the chance to get behind the wheel of an MRAP vehicle. The simulator was so realistic, that my mind started to blur the line between simulation and reality". On their final day in Florida, the three attendees took a break from the conference and were treated with a personal tour of SAIC's, Orlando campus. SAIC and PKI have partnered on several projects and this was a great opportunity for the Scott Scholars to learn about some of the future work coming their way. Looking for PKI Stories of Success Mon, 12 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 If you are an alumnus, current student, faculty, or staff member and have a story that highlights a recent achievement, then we want to hear from you. Take a minute to share your story by clicking the form link above. PKI Fall Semester Newsletter Mon, 12 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Click to link to open the PDF version of our latest e-newsletter. PKI Executive Director Delivers Keynote Address in Korea Fri, 09 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Dr. Mike McGinnis, PKI Executive Director, was recently invited by the Korean Institute of Enterprise Architecture to present the keynote address for their 2011 Technology Symposium. The topic of the address was using enterprise architecture as a strategy to drive evolution of information technology and the implications of cloud computing. During his time in Korea, Dr. McGinnis met with the Vice President of the Korean Institute of Defense Analysis (KIDA), which is a cabinet level position to the President of Korea. When he was not busy with the symposium, Dr. McGinnis had the opportunity to spend a little down time revisiting with his past. As a now retired Brigadier General, Dr. McGinnis spent part of his military career stationed on the Korean peninsula. The Peter Kiewit Institute hosts UNO IS&T Computer Science Bowl Mon, 05 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Eight teams from six area high schools converged at The Peter Kiewit Institute on December 2 for a friendly computer science competition. These students did not come here to hack networks, build programs, or battle for robot supremacy. Instead they came to test their pure computer science knowledge in this year's Computer Science Bowl hosted by UNO's College of Information Science and Technology. The eight teams came from York high school, Council Bluff's Thomas Jefferson, Omaha Westside, Millard North, Bellevue East, and Bellevue West. The teams competed in a points per question buzzer style game atmosphere, where computing on the fly was a requirement for success. After several rounds of intense competition, three teams had separated themselves enough to bring home a trophy. Third place went to Mathew Weisman, Liam O'Riordan, and Jake Quinn from Westside. Second place was awarded to Ryan Brink, Zachary Smith, and Roosevelt Boyland III from Bellevue East. The 2011 CSBowl first place trophy went to Sam Adams, Brogan Bishop, and Mac Mikkelsen from Westside. Teacher Ryan Stejskal represented the first and third place finishers from Westside, while Derek Babb represented Bellevue East's second place finishers. PKI Pride - November 2011 Wed, 23 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Here is our first edition of PKI Pride. The purpose for this publication is to highlight our Scott Scholars and the work they are doing. Click the link to open the PDF file. Scott Scholar, Andrew Martinez, Receives Grant to Attend 36th Annual MAES Symposium Wed, 16 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0600 Thanks in large part to a Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) registration grant, as well as a Peter Kiewit Institute travel grant, Andrew Martinez, a class of 2015 Scott Scholar, had the honor of attending the 36th Annual MAES Symposium located in Oakland, CA. This is a premier conference event and features a variety of unique and innovative events not seen at other similar conferences. During the conference, Andrew went through multiple workshops focused around the importance of networking, the power of internships, and the rewards of maintaining a student chapter. While these sessions proved their importance, Andrew was especially excited to meet students with a similar background that are also pursuing degrees in Engineering. Along with meeting new friends, Andrew also had the opportunity to meet with many different business and academic professionals as well as rub elbows with some of the more prominent companies from around the US. When asked to sum up his experience at the conference, Andrew stated "it was a wonderful opportunity to showcase my talents and educational background as the lone representative from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, College of Engineering. I learned more from this conference than I could have ever imagined and the connections I made will last for many years to come." Other highlights of the conference included dinner on a retired navy ship, multiple social banquets and the concluding event, which was breakfast with all the other MAES chapter presidents in attendance. Andrew is a Civil Engineering student with the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, College of Engineering. ZNETH II Ribbon Cutting October 24 Tue, 25 Oct 2011 00:00:00 -0500 In collaboration with UNL architecture, the Peter Kiewit Institute, the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction and other partners, the City of Omaha held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate completion of the ZNETH II (Zero Net Energy Test House) and Hummel Park Nature Center on October 24. Faculty in the UNL College of Engineering and the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, the UNL College of Architecture, UNO and PKI also collaborated on an initial ZNETH facility several years ago in Omaha. This new 1,000-square-foot house in Hummel Park will provide a year-round residence for the city's nature center caretaker and allow researchers to monitor the home with a real-time system. James Goedert, assistant professor of construction in the Durham School, served as project manager; Tim Hemsath, assistant professor of architecture, was lead architect for the building. The two-bedroom home also features: + Energy monitoring and control system, including Energy Star appliances, low-flow shower head, toilet and faucet; and occupancy sensors and optimized lighting + A two-ton geothermal heat pump + Hardiplank siding that can last more than 50 years + High efficiency doors and windows + Double wall framing + Water conservation through rain barrels. "This caretaker residence is a great public partnership between the educational-research component at the University of Nebraska and the recreation-summer camp activities in the City of Omaha," said Melinda Pearson, director of Omaha Parks, Recreation and Public Property. As part of the Nebraska Research Initiative Funding, additional research partners include the City of Omaha Parks, Recreation and Public Property Department; Peter Kiewit Institute Technology Department Corp.; University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health; University of Nebraska at Omaha Department of Chemistry; and Nebraska Environmental Trust. Dr. Rojas Awarded The 2011 Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize Thu, 29 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Dr. Eddy Rojas, Director of the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction located at the Peter Kiewit Institute, was recently awarded the prestigious 2011 Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He received this award for the paper "Research Validation: Challenges and Opportunities in the Construction Domain," co-authored with Dr. Gunnar Lucko from the Catholic University of America. Their paper was published in the January 2010 issue of ASCE's Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. Since 1883, The Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize continues to recognize papers describing in detail accomplished works of construction or valuable contributions to construction management and construction engineering. Dr. Rojas receipt of the award marks the end of a twenty year period since a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering has received a major ASCE award. UNO IS&T Students Qualify for the Capture the Flag Finals in New York Mon, 26 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Congratulations to UNO College of IS&T students who successfully competed in the continuous 48 hour Capture the Flag competition hosted by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. The competition began Friday, September 23 at 8:00 PM and concluded on September 25 at 8:00 PM. The UNO team placed 23rd out of 207 total teams and 10th out of 74 undergraduate teams. More importantly, the UNO team finished 7th out of all the United States undergraduate teams and therefore won their qualifying round. The team will fly four of its members to the final round in November to compete on-site in New York. The CSAW (Cyber Security Awareness Week) Capture The Flag competition is a contest designed to evaluate application security skills. Competitors attack vulnerable applications and solve offensive challenges. Challenges are divided into technical categories and assigned point values based on how difficult they are. The CSAW CTF is loosely based on the widely known DEFCON Capture The Flag competition. As with all competitions, it takes more than just skill to succeed; plan a strategy and put together a diverse team. NSF funds UNL research to improve wireless networks for emergencies Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0500 With 2011's 9/11 memorials fresh in the minds and hearts of Americans, a UNL Computer and Electronics Engineering team is working at Omaha's Peter Kiewit Institute to improve wireless networks for emergency response by using untapped and under-utilized frequencies. [Click the link above to read the entire article] PKI Executive Director Re-Elected to SCS Board of Directors Fri, 19 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500 PKI Executive Director, Dr. Mike McGinnis has been re-elected to the Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS) Board of Directors. SCS is the premier technical Society dedicated to advancing the use of modeling & simulation to solve real-world problems; devoted to the advancement of simulation and allied computer arts in all fields; and committed to facilitating communication among professionals in the field of simulation. Dr. McGinnis will serve as the Treasurer of the Society for the 2011/2012 term. When asked to comment on the news of his re-election, Dr. McGinnis replied "It is a very humbling feeling to be elected to this position of responsibility and it is my goal to see that SCS is indeed in good financial position and as members continue to grow the Society's mission." Smartphone App Developed by UNO Information Science and Technology Students Identifies Public Art Thu, 18 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500 A group of students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) have put the finishing touches on a new smartphone application (or app) that allows users to identify public art pieces throughout the Omaha area. The free Public Art Omaha app is available for iPhone and Android, and was created by the following five UNO students earlier this year: Maninder Hora (graduate student, Management Information Systems); Shawna MacNabb (junior, Aviation); Ryan Peters (sophomore, IT Innovation - PKI Scott Scholar); Edgar Vazquez (senior, Computer Science); and Benjamin Wicks (sophomore, Bioinformatics - PKI Scott Scholar). (To read the full article and download the app, visit the link above.) Dr. Mark Pauley Wins Coveted National Science Foundation Award Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500 The Peter Kiewit Institute is proud to announce that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Dr. Mark Pauley, Senior Research Follow and Associate Director of the Undergraduate Bioinformatics Program in the UNO School of Interdisciplinary Informatics, a four year, $567,000 grant to assist in the development and integration of bioinformatics-focused laboratory exercises across the life sciences curriculum. This specific project is considered Phase 2 as it builds on previous NSF-funded work to add bioinformatics content to lecture courses. [Click the link below to read the full article] PKI Engineering Faculty in the News Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500 John Stansbury, associate professor of water resources engineering with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, analyzed the potential for accidents along the Keystone XL pipeline and concluded that TransCanada has significantly underestimated the potential for leaks and spills. Stansbury is quoted in a recent Yahoo press release that "If someone comes along and knocks a hole in the pipe beneath XYZ creek, it won't make much difference how deep it was beneath the Yellowstone," Stansbury said. "In my estimation, there's going to be spills and there will be some big spills, and they underestimated the frequency and underestimated the volume." Follow the link above to read the article in its entirety. New Student Organization Dedicated to Graduate Student Unity Tue, 09 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500 The Peter Kiewit Institute is excited to announce the official addition of our new student group, the Peter Kiewit Institute Graduate Student and Professionals Association (PKI GSPA). The purpose of PKI GSPA is to create a community of students and professionals committed to networking, mentoring, promoting professional development, and representing the PKI graduate student body to the University of Nebraska campuses and administration. The goal of this new group is unique, as it will unite graduate students studying at PKI. These students represent degree programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (College of Information Science and Technology) and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (College of Engineering). Afshin Hatami is the organization's new President and his first item of duty is to help new students adjust to the life of a graduate student during the first few months of the academic year. Interested students should send an email Afshin's UNO account. Students from the Peter Kiewit Institute's Durham School, win ASHRAE 2011 Student Design Competition Tue, 09 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Students in the Peter Kiewit Institute's Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction won first place in the HVAC System Design category at the 2011 Student Design Project Competition piloted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The team's submission, a 25-page technical report, bested seven other teams competing at the national level in this year's ASHRAE event. The students' project involved designing an HVAC system focusing on energy efficiency for The Drake Well Museum: a 20,000-square-foot facility in Titusville, Pa., where Edwin L. Drake drilled the world's first oil well in 1859, which helped launch the modern petroleum industry. Entries were required to determine heating and cooling loads, and demonstrate compliance with relevant ASHRAE Standards. The Durham team-Holly Brink, Gina Halbom, Michael Crabb, Andrew Gilliam, James Dougherty-was advised by Nebraska Engineering professor emeritus Gren Yuill and mentored by Nebraska Engineering alumnus Joe Hazel with Farris Engineering and Daniel Karnes with HDR Inc. The award includes a $2,000 prize for the team and a trip for one team member to be recognized at ASHRAE's winter meeting in Chicago in January 2012. The University of Nebraska Student Chapter of ASHRAE is affiliated with the Nebraska professional chapter of ASHRAE. Norton brings her expertise to Japan disaster site Tue, 02 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500 On March 11, Terri Norton was among millions who watched news of the horrific "Tohoku" earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Three months later she walked amid the devastation, bringing her expertise to study and help the communities dealing with the challenges of life after disaster. Norton, an assistant professor with UNL's Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha, teaches and researches the effects natural hazards have on civil structures, disaster debris management and sustainability. She traveled to northeast Japan June 18-26 with teams gathered by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Other EERI participants were placed with groups studying bridge performance or engineering of buildings; Norton joined a team working with the Japanese Institute for Social Safety Science (ISSS), a nonprofit organization focused on impact recovery. "I have a seed grant from The Durham School regarding debris management," Norton said. "This trip fit with that, as an extreme example" of an opportunity to develop and apply her research. Her team visited Iwate and Miyagi prefectures but, for safety reasons, Fukushima prefecture (with its nuclear power plants disabled by the March 11 events) would be studied remotely via provided data. Norton observed, "Some cities have started removing debris, but other areas haven't moved anything yet because the local governments are still overwhelmed." Norton, who spent time in Italy following an earthquake, said being in Japan after such destruction was especially moving. "The damage was beyond what I had imagined," said Norton. "To stand on a site and see nothing but rubble around you--the footprints of buildings, things that used to be there-you think about all that was lost." While touring, she saw several public shelters in schools, showing many lives still disrupted; Norton expressed particular concern for ongoing difficulties faced by local farmers and fishermen in those areas where livelihoods would take years to resume. According to Norton, the first step in post-disaster clean-up is to categorize the debris for most efficient handling. In many cases "wood can be reused, steel can be recycled and sold as scrap metal, and concrete can be repurposed as fill for embankments." Early reports from EERI visits noted one affected city, Minami Sanriku, estimates 700,000 tons of debris need to be cleared, sorted and reused, recycled or disposed of. Norton said Iwate prefecture's purchase of giant kilns for burning some waste items was interesting, but material lifecycle and public health issues are also important considerations. On the last day of the visit, the EERI teams regrouped in Tokyo for a concluding workshop to develop research ideas and partnerships. Norton's report from her site visit is scheduled to appear on the EERI website in August, and she's submitting a research proposal on recycling and reuse in debris management to the National Science Foundation. Morcous earns bridge grants for Peter Kiewit Institute research Mon, 18 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Peter Kiewit Institute associate professor, George Morcous, will lead a team working with a nearly $450,000 grant over three years from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The project pursues "Self-Consolidating Concrete for Cast-in-Place Bridge Components." Morcous' team includes faculty from Northwestern University and Iowa State University. Morcous will also be working with a $216,000 grant from the Innovative Bridge Research and Development program of the Federal Highway Administration for a new design of Lincoln's 14th Street Bridge over Interstate 80. With I-80 widening to six lanes, this four-lane 1959 bridge will be replaced with a new bridge featuring innovative construction materials researched and developed by UNL for the Nebraska Department of Roads. These materials include the use of large 0.7 in. diameter prestressing strands in bridge girders at 2 in. x 2 in. spacing, and high performance self-consolidating concrete (HPSCC) rated to bear 15,000 pounds per square inch (15,000 psi). PKI Students Take Top Honors in Prestigious National Competition Mon, 20 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 The Peter Kiewit Institute would like to congratulate UNL architectural engineering students Abby Breuer and Jordan Webb for their first place finish and Yulia Tyukhova and Roger Sandhoefer for winning honorable mention, in the prestigious, 2011 Howard Brandston Student Lighting Design competition, conferred by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). This is the third consecutive year that students from the Peter Kiewit Institute won the competition. The Howard Brandston Student Lighting Design competition was established to recognize students from across the nation for their exceptional work and professional promise through the development and presentation of a creative solution to a specific design problem. A Cutting Edge School in a Knowledgable Economy Fri, 17 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 It is well known that the Peter Kiewit Institute continues to break ground in the field of cutting edge research and technology development. However, did you know that PKI is located in a city known for creativity, cultural arts and a passion for downtown revitalization? Regardless of your answer to this question, you will want to take a look at Adam Davidson's article, "Small Cities Feed the Knowledge Economy" in the latest edition of Wired Magazine. 13th Annual Holland Academy of Excellence Wed, 15 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 The Academy of Excellence students wrapped up their final day at the Peter Kiewit Institute on June 15th. Since arriving at the Peter Kiewit Institute on June 12, the students were immersed in hands-on learning, focused around engineering, virtual collaboration, and sustainability. Outside these exciting learning environments, the students were busy taking in the sights and sounds of Omaha, while building new friendships and making lasting memories. Be sure to check out some of the photos from the past three days by visiting our Facebook page. (The Facebook link is found at the bottom of the page.) 2011 Holland Academy of Excellence June 12 - 15 Thu, 09 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Omaha - Forty high school students, from across Nebraska, will soon arrive for The Peter Kiewit Institute's 13th Annual Holland Academy of Excellence. Click the article link below to learn more. Scott Scholarship Winners Named Fri, 13 May 2011 00:00:00 -0500 High school students from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, plus one from Albania, recently were awarded the Walter Scott Jr. Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship given by the Kiewit Institute at the University of Nebraska. (Click the link above to view the full article in the Omaha World Herald.) Student hits fundraiser jackpot Mon, 09 May 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Creighton Prep sophomore Connor McCoy built the electronic workings of this 1980s-style arcade machine. Its 60 games got a workout in Prep's commons before it sold at the school's annual fundraiser. And McCoy used the machine as part of his successful application to the Holland Academy of Excellence at the Peter Kiewit Institute. The summer camp for sophomores offers programs in engineering and in information science and technology. Infotec Conference provides opportunity to network, learn Wed, 04 May 2011 00:00:00 -0500 The annual Infotec Conference brought to Qwest Center Omaha a crowd that included nationally-recognized keynote speakers, nearly 100 track presenters and conference-goers from all over the Silicon Prairie. PKI's Cho goes 3-D Mon, 02 May 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Yong Cho, Assitant professor at UNL's Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction located at The Peter Kiewit Institute, is developing a method to create live three-dimensional models of construction sites. UNO Advisor on Obama Mission Thu, 31 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0500 University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken has made it a priority for NU to expand its global reach. Last year, nearly 1,500 international students from 119 countries studied at UNO, Gouttierre said. Thats an increase of nearly 50 percent in the past decade. The Peter Kiewit Institute and the construction of on-campus housing has helped UNO attract more students from around the world, he said. Demand for IT Pros Growing Across All Types of Industries Wed, 30 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Within information technology, careers available include telecommunications where networks are installed and maintained such as inputting fiber, routers, etc.; careers for people who create the infrastructure; and the people who maintain, upgrade and manage systems-usually inside the industries themselves, according to Mike McGinnis, executive director of the Peter Kiewit Institute. Scott Scholars Dressing for Success Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:00:00 -0500 Dick Lerner, owner of Bel Air Fashions, demonstrates a proper fit on volunteer Adam Nightser during a presentation to engineering students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Peter Kiewit Institute. Lerner's Wardrobe University sessions include tips on preparing for job interviews. NUCIA Students Participate in "Capture the Flag" Competition Thu, 27 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0600 72 teams (900 students), from 16 countries competed in a game of hacking, challenge-solving, and state-sponsored warefare. The game was hosted by the University of California at Santa Barbara. NUCIA students ranked 7th internationally and 2nd in the United States. A total of 26 highly regarded U.S. Universities participated in the event. NEbraksaCERT provided three $100 scholarships to help compensate students who took a day of unpaid leave so they could compete. University of Nebraska at Omaha student participants included: Derek Pecka, Aaron Keck, Chad Spence, Tory Cullen, Michael Kunz, Aaron Hiltgen, Adam Gehringer, Justin Kofoed, Scott Thies, Jessica McCain, Cassey Glatter, Nick Wertzberger and Kevin Dolphin. More on PKI: Mike McGinnis talks gaming, Kid Command partnership Tue, 21 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0600 No description available. PKI Recognized for Statewide Partnerships, Support Tue, 21 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0600 No description available. The entrepreneurial excitement at Peter Kiewit Institute Tue, 21 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0600 No description available.