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NACE International Launches University Student Design and Applied Solutions Competition

Technical Challenge Event Focuses on Advancing Breakthroughs in Infrastructure and Weapon Systems Sustainability

NACE International has unveiled a new competition to encourage and elicit innovative solutions to combat corrosion. The University Student Design and Applied Solutions Competition has been launched with $1 million in seed funding provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office.

For the inaugural competition event, participating teams will be asked to address a technological challenge related to mitigating the corrosion of defense systems. Specific challenge rules will be announced in the spring of 2015. Student teams from across the globe will be eligible to register during fall 2015, and the first competition will take place in the spring of 2016.

The idea for the competition came during a conversation between Daniel J. Dunmire, director of the DoD Corrosion Policy and Oversight (CPO) Office, and the NACE Chief Executive Officer, Bob Chalker. "I asked Bob what he thought we could do to make a difference in education, outreach, and communication to get the next generation involved in materials sustainment," said Dunmire. "Bob proposed a one-of-a-kind competition unlike anything the corrosion industry has seen before. A vision of something that would be to infrastructure development and sustainability what the xprize is to space travel."

"We are grateful to have the opportunity to build this competition from the ground up," said Chalker. "To pioneer this event and start with such an important challenge corrosion control for U.S. Defense systems is something we're very proud of, and it's a great motivator."

Kim Ray, senior manager of University Programs for NACE International, will lead the program and manage it from the current development phase onward. Ray brings an array of project management skills honed through 16 years of experience in marketing and communications, education, certification, and credentialing. A NACE employee for five years, Ray has been managing the organization's certification team where she played an integral role in launching the NACE International Institute.

Ray is currently developing the Student Design Competition program rules and guidelines. She will work with the DoD corrosion community throughout the development of the competition, and she and her team will recruit schools to participate. In the years following the debut competition, the event scope will evolve to include technical challenges related to corrosion control and prevention on infrastructure and assets outside of the military.

"Hiring Kim Ray to manage this project puts us in an excellent position from the start," said Matt Miller, NACE International chief operating officer. "In her time with NACE, Kim has demonstrated her strength in project management, and she has already hit the ground running with this competition."

"Working at NACE has taught me so much about the needs of society when it comes to corrosion control," said Ray. "To be able to launch a competition that will advance the corrosion industry and impact the lives of so many people around the world is a true privilege."

"We went through due diligence to ensure this competition supports the strategic plan of the Corrosion Office," said Dunmire. "It does that and then some; we’ve got the right organization, and Kim is the right person to make this happen. The outcome of this competition will support the warriors, the men and women of the U.S. military who deserve equipment that is safe and ready to use when it's needed. Nothing like this has been done before in the field of material degradation; it's an important first."

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