2013 CEEES Junior Class Field Trip

Texas Big Infrastructure:
Offshore, Coastal, Port, Mining, Stadium

Wednesday, October 2 - Sunday, October 6, 2013


Texas, the second most populous and largest of the 48 contiguous U.S. states, is home to some of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects.  The oil boom in the early 1900’s, strong investment in higher education over the last fifty years, its large population and thriving cities, and its abundance of natural resources have put Texas in the lead in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemical, energy, computers, electronics, aerospace, and biomedical.  There is an almost never-ending list of “largest in the U.S.” associated with Texas.  Texas has the most farms, the highest acreage of farms, the largest livestock production, the largest production of cotton, creates the most cement, crushed stone, lime, salt, sand, and gravel.  The state leads the nation in export revenue.  One-quarter of the known U.S. reserves of petroleum deposits are in Texas.  Texas leads in natural gas production, produces the most wind power and has the highest solar power potential.  Texans also consume the most energy in the nation per capita and as a whole, but unlike the rest of the nation, they have their own alternating power grid.  Three of the 10 most populous U.S. cities are in Texas, as are headquarters of many high tech companies – Dell, Texas Instruments, AT&T.  Aerospace industries such as ASA, Lockheed, and Bell Helicopter are based in Texas and the state has the joint-highest number of Fortune 500 companies (along with California).  It has the second largest number of millionaires in the U.S.   Unfortunately, Texas was also home to the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history –  the 1900 Galveston hurricane.

The 2013 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences Junior Field Trip is designed to give students a behind-the scenes look at a sample  of Texas’ major infrastructure projects and systems:  the massive Kiewit  Offshore Services yard in Ingleside, a construction facility for oil and gas structures; the levee and  hurricane protection system around Texas City; the workings of the Port of Houston, the nation’s leading port in terms of foreign tonnage; offshore and coastal research labs at Texas A&M, one of Texas’s leading universities;  a two-million tons per year lignite mine; the design firm for the world’s longest single span roof for Cowboys Stadium; and Cowboys Stadium itself. 

The overall purpose of our annual field trips is to expose students to some of the biggest and most innovative infrastructure design and construction efforts going on in the United States; to see first-hand that the need to rebuild our often failing infrastructure is huge; to see first-hand the complexity of these structural, transportation, water resources, and environmental projects that keep our nation productive, efficient and healthy; and to interact one on one with project and design engineers. These trips help students see the wide range of opportunities available to become innovative leaders and also help connect the classroom to the real world.