2021 SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition

The SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition is an annual opportunity for students to challenge themselves, develop their engineering skills, and connect with the aggregate mining industry. 

About the Competition
Held in two phases, student teams are presented with an aggregate industry design problem, and asked to create a technical design and oral presentation for a panel of industry judges.

Twelve teams competed in Phase 1 of the 2021 SME/NSSGA competition in the Fall of 2020. Five teams were selected to compete in Phase 2 of the virtual SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition (SDC) on Sunday, February 7, 2021. The teams presented their mine design and operating plans for a surface quarry in Tennessee to a panel of six esteemed judges from the mining industry.

Meet the 2021 SME/NSSGA Student Design Competition Winners

1st Place: University of Arizona – Aggregate Mining Solutions

2nd Place: Colorado School of Mines – Underminers

3rd Place: Virginia Tech – Checkmate Consultants


Remaining Phase 2 teams, in alphabetical order:

Missouri University of Science and Technology – Dewey Consulting

University of Nevada, Reno – CALJAC Consultants


Thank You Sponsors:





Resource Supporters:

Blue Water Industries


Competition Support
Thank you to the sponsors, judges and committee members who made the 2021 competition possible. Your hard work, hours of preparation, and financial and volunteer support are much appreciated.


  • Brad Petri, RESPEC

  • John McLoughlin, Lannon Stone

  • Justin Bollini, Komatsu

  • Mark Faulhaber, Hilltop Companies

  • Rob Walker, RC Walker Consulting

  • Tony Sumner, Imerys

 Volunteer Committee:

  • Catherine Whalen, NSSGA

  • Andrew Storey, Committee Chair, Luck Stone

  • Dan Sadtler, Cedar Mountain Stone

  • Marion King, Imerys

  • Tyler Faulkner, Carlson Software

  • Brady Christianson, Granite Construction

  • Joe Waite, Lehigh Hanson

  • Brian Groff, Groff Engineering

  • Alex Pfreundschuh – Luck Stone

  • Mona Vandervoort, SME

  • Emma Salditt, SME

  • Laura Nelson, SME

Phase 1 Teams

In addition to the five teams that advanced to Phase 2, seven other teams participated in Phase 1 of the competition.

  • IIT ISM Dhanbad (India) - Golden Sparrow

  • IIT ISM Dhanbad (India) - Mine Revolution

  • Michigan Technical University - Michigan School of Mining

  • Universidad Nacional Mayor De San Marcos (Peru) - RYFE Aggregates

  • University of Alaska Fairbanks - Aurora Mining

  • Universidad Central del Ecuador - Petra Alta

  • Nacional University of Engineering (Peru) - UNINKA Consulting