Ben Dymond Coordinates Program on Resilient Precast

For the University of Minnesota Duluth, the focus will be on resilient precast. Ben Dymond of the Department of Civil Engineering will coordinate the program in conjunction with the Department of Civil Engineering, the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Master of Business Administration program. John Saccoman of Molin Concrete Products will be the industry champion for the program. This multidisciplinary educational program aims to combine the traditional approach to concrete engineering education with cutting-edge knowledge related to resiliency and business management. Traditionally, engineers learn the basics of concrete design, while possibly discussing precast concrete, but they fail to investigate why to choose precast concrete or how does resilient precast concrete fit into an organizational dynamic. This program will address those questions and others while challenging students to push the envelope of resiliency in precast concrete.

The program will include new content in four courses taken during a student’s junior and senior years. Once a student completes the courses they will have a special certificate on their transcript noting the special interest of the student in resiliency and precast concrete design. All students in the department will now be exposed to some precast concrete curriculum. Courses that will include precast curriculum will include: 


The current course, focuses on cast in place and ACI 318 and it will now add 50% precast content. The course is currently an elective but will become a required course and there will be about 30-40 students per class.

  • Molin has supplied a scaled precast structure panel with various connections for permanent installation in the teaching lab as a demonstration tool
  • Will include a precast plant tour and jobsite tour
  • Students will learn about the differences between cast in place and precast
  • Students will learn how to erect precast
  • Will shift in-class parking garage project from cast-n-place to precast


Currently this course focuses on the ACI318 Code and will now include new course material using the PCI Design Handbook and other PCI reference materials while student take on a semester-long design project. This class will also incorporate a plant tour and job site visit focused on prestressed concrete. Additionally it will: 

  • Include new course material using PCI Design Handbook and PCI reference materials
  • Introduce students to Concise Beam design software (used by Molin)
  • Incorporate a design project where students compete in the annual Big Beam Competition 
  • Winning class teams (2) will go on to compete in the contest and work with Molin (or other precaster) to fabricate their design


This course presents students with a broad introduction to management processes and the complex world of managing in today’s business environment. Topics include what managers do and skills they must possess to achieve organizational objectives, the management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling and organizational dynamics such as globalizations, social responsibility and change. Completion of the course will yield insight into the project organization and management side of precast concrete and resiliency. Students who complete this course will also be exposed to several “non-engineering” skills (e.g. the management functions of planning, organizing or leading) which can be used in their resiliency capstone design course when working as a team and used when entering the workforce as young professionals. 


Finally, an engineering capstone course will be the first course taught at the University with a focus on resiliency. Typically a senior design student takes information learned along the way in other courses and brings it all together for one project. This unique curriculum will be co-taught by Mary Christiansen and Alison Hoxie, a mechanical engineer specializing in thermal efficiency and resiliency. Students will work with a professor or Molin mentor on their project that may involve research and analysis of resiliency in precast concrete. 

Students who successfully complete all 4 courses will receive a UMD Certificate and line on their transcript denoting completion of the Precast Engineering Program.