Years of control by the Soviet Union left the infrastructure of many countries inadequate to handle the needs of emerging, independent nations, and now, decades later, leaders and engineers from those countries are working to rebuild.
And a group of Chattanooga educators and businesses might have the innovative solutions and construction experience needed to get the jobs done.
UTC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and the City of Chattanooga Department of Public Works hosted a delegation of engineers who are participating in the U.S. Department of Commerce Special American Business Internship Training program. The international delegation met with UTC and construction industry officials in Chattanooga to study road construction and paving techniques.
These contacts could lead to important business opportunities for participating Chattanooga industries.
“While the United States is faced with the problems of an aging infrastructure, countries within the so-called emerging markets are faced with the opposite problem—inadequate infrastructure,” said Dr. Ignatius Fomunung, UTC Associate Professor of Civil Engineering. “Many of these countries are currently embarked on an unprecedented level of large scale construction projects such as expressways, airports, harbors, and other public and industrial buildings. U.S. companies have a repertoire of experience in such large scale projects and see these markets as a significant growth avenue.”
Chattanooga companies and agencies participating in the two-day program include UTC, the City of Chattanooga Department of Public Works, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Vulcan Materials, Ready Mix USA, Stein Construction, and ASTEC industries.
Engineers in the program represent Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Fomunung also believes research and study abroad opportunities exist for UTC faculty and students.
“By becoming aware of the resources in this region and the strong interaction between the University and local industry and agencies, I foresee some of the decision makers in this delegation sending students from their countries to UTC for further studies, which in turn will promote further interaction and exchange with our students,” Fomunung said. (Read more: Fomunung and UTC students assist with the re-paving of East 5th Street).
“UTC students with knowledge in these areas, acquired through contacts and exchanges from this partnership, will be in a strong position to land high paying jobs when they graduate.”