Engineers’ News                        October 2016                        Vol. LXXIV  No. 2


October Open House

  MSKTD & Associates
MSKTD & Associates
1715 Magnavox Way, Fort Wayne, IN 46804
Thursday October 13th from 4:00 to 8:00 PM

FWEC Northeast Indiana DiscoverE committee member Jon Rowe has invited the FWEC to the MSKTD & Associates Open House.

From their offices in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana, MSKTD offers Clients a full range of comprehensive design services – with in-house Architects, Interior Designers, Planners, Mechanical – Electrical – Energy – Civil – Structural Engineers, Estimators, Graphic Designers, and support personnel.

Founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1978 by three architects, MSKTD began as an Architectural firm; by 1982, where they were a full service design and engineering firm. They have grown from a staff of 3 to over 70; built a new office and added onto it; established and grew an office in Indianapolis, and strengthened expertise in the Higher Ed, Healthcare and Food Facility/Advanced Manufacturing markets.


October Tour

Steel Dynamics, Inc - Structural and Rail Division
2601 County Road 700, Columbia City, IN 46725
Thursday October 20th at 6:00 PM
**RSVP Required**

FWEC Northeast Indiana DiscoverE member Jake Dinius has arranged a tour of SDI.
Our tour will be limited to 30 participants.
RSVP to Treasurer Ryan Stark is required by Tuesday October 18th.  Upon confirmation of tour reservation safety information and visitor rules will be provided.

Steel Dynamics Structural and Rail Division is located in Columbia City, Indiana; it began operations as a Structural mill in 2002 and is now SDI's second-largest steel operation. The Structural mill produces a variety of parallel flange sections such as wide flange beams, American Standard Beams, Manufactured Housing Beams, H Piling and Channel sections for the construction, transportation and industrial machinery markets. They offer these products in standard lengths, and can also cut sections to custom lengths. As a result of their mill design and state-of-the-art technology allowing quick changeovers of products, their production flexibility allows SDI to offer the shortest lead times in the structural-steel industry.
SDI’s Columbia City Rail mill produces standard and premium rail in 320 foot lengths. A proprietary, in-house developed rail head hardening process allows their minimill operation to be the preeminent provider of quality rail in North America, serving the Class 1 railroad customers. Integral to SDI’s commitment to their customers, their facility provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for rail customers. Their rail manufacturing and finishing processes include cut-to-length, welded, premium or standard products. They can also make and ship 1,600 foot length rails, which are made by welding together five 320 foot length rails.  These long strings offer substantial savings to the railroads both in terms of initial capital cost and through reduced maintenance.

SDI’s structural steel shapes are primarily used in construction: commercial and industrial buildings, bridges, skyscrapers, hospitals, airport terminals, stadiums, parking garages, office buildings, distribution centers, refineries, and bio-diesel and ethanol plants. Structural steel is also used to manufacture trucks, trailers and recreational vehicle frames.
SDI rail is used in railway track by Class 1 railroads, short lines, commuter lines and industrial plants.


FY17 Membership Year FWEC Board

Vice President
Treasurer & Resident Agent
1st Year Board Members
2nd Year Board Members
3rd Year Board Members
Northeast Indiana DiscoverE Committee Chair
Board positions are crucial to the planning of tours and events for the FWEC.  Please consult the FWEC constitution or contact us at for information on specific duties on board positions.

FY17 Dues are Owed

Dues for the 2016-2017 (FY17) membership year are now owed.  Please refer to your mailed dues post card address label to understand your dues status.  Below FY17 indicates that dues are owed.  HO is honorary membership and CO is complementary membership; neither HO or CO owe FY17 dues.
Dues can be mailed ($10 full/associate, $5 student) or paid online ($11 full/associate, $6 student).
Please mail checks:  Fort Wayne Engineers' Club, C/O Treasurer Ryan Stark, 828 W. Oakdale Drive, Fort Wayne, IN  46807

In addition to FWEC membership dues this is also an opportunity to donate to the Northeast Indiana DiscoverE Academic Award.  Please be generous!

FWEC Membership

The FWEC exists through funding of its membership.  Please forward your copy of the Engineers’ News to prospective members and encourage their attendance at tours.  Remember, the FWEC is the best deal in town, annual membership is $10.  We offer free monthly tours September through May.  Please be sure to recommend FWEC membership to your colleagues and friends.

The FWEC would like to remember Allen Ostrognai.

FWEC Board Meetings

Fort Wayne Engineers’ Club board meetings are open to all FWEC members.  The next FWEC board meeting will be Tuesday November 1st at 7:00 PM.  Board meetings are held on the Indiana Tech campus in the Academic Center in room ACC-201.

Advertise in the Engineers’ News

The FWEC provides advertising space within the Engineers’ News.  Advertisements are $10 per issue and limited to ½ page of content.  For submissions please contact

September Tour History - Harris Boats

FWEC Board Member Rod Vargo provides our September tour history.

Twenty-nine members including three students attended our September 22 tour of Brunswick's pontoon boat fabrication and assembly facility in Fort Wayne.

Brunswick divested bowling businesses but substantially expanded its overall range of health, fitness, recreation, and sports brands.  They project 30% growth in pontoon sales for 2017 (combo of total units and price/unit), in line with pontoon usage in 2016.

Aluminum pontoon-type boats are displacing other traditional hulls, particularly fiberglas, because engineering increasingly allows pontoons to retain their exceptional stability and passenger capacity while adding capabilities such as skiing or high speed cruising.  Below-deck stowage of fuel and gear is becoming normal.  Companies are expanding research and products for saltwater environments and to include features such as full baths or ballast/trim tanks.  Prices for new vessels can exceed half a million dollars.

Pontoon vessels increasingly mimic deep-V tri-hull vessels.  Center of gravity is down and stability up.  Stability engineering includes improved strakes in terms of fluid dynamics, transfer of shock forces further into the vessel, fuel efficiency, durability, and passenger comfort.

Horsepower has been voluntarily capped for liability reasons at up to 700 hp or 70 mph.  Brunswick prefers to ship with its Mercury Marine motors already mounted, helping Mercury sales but also bypassing delays or complications at dealer level.  This in turn improves customer satisfaction.

This facility continues to produce the Harris brand but added Cypress Cay after Brunswick acquired Harris.  Production for Crestliner is getting underway as well as a pontoon for the Lund brand.  Lund was solely aluminum deep-V fishing boats.  

Our tour ended up being about pervasive changes in quality.  These reflected transitions from a family business and industry-wide shifts in consumer demand, expectations, and price ranges.  Brunswick hired engineers and other skills in part because related industries downsized, changed focus (such as Alcoa), and/or failed (automotive suppliers).  These individuals have moved fabrication and production from classic methods such as hands, eyeball, and tape measure.  Those methods were similar to the traditional aluminum aircraft industry where each unit flew and behaved somewhat differently and locations of failure were sometimes considered just part of the design.  

Quality control of incoming pre-cut materials and sub-units increased in order to reduce tolerances, gaps, and wastage.  These are also shrunk with stepwise introduction of laser measuring, cutting, and alignments.  One of our guides is a former Alcoa engineer with a career specialty in aluminum welding and finishing.  In addition, the number and design of joints, extruded cross members, transfers of stress, baffles, and other features are all progressively strengthening as uses of pontoon hulls expand.  Some work is being moved in-house while other aspects are being contracted to local specialists.  Warranty complaints have reportedly shrunk to almost nil.

As on other tours, the range of price/quality levels resonate throughout the production processes.  This is fair considering vast differences in need from occasional fishing on a pond to safely moving a dozen people at high speed on open bodies of water with jarring wakes from other vessels.  Anodizing can range from minimal to contracting out large intact sub assemblies.  Flooring, furniture, electronics, wiring, and other features can each be engineering and consumer studies in themselves.  Pontoons are becoming as complex as the RV buses toured at Allied Recreation (now REV Recreation Group) in 2014.

Buyers are increasingly eschewing carpet in favor of padding overlaid with easily cleaned flooring.  This is more expensive.

Shipping the vessels to dealers is also evolving.  Long distances tend to be on low-boy semi-trailer trucks which are parked inside a warehouse and loaded by overhead gantry crane.  Load configurations have been standardized.  

Shrink-wrappers for shipping purposes are prefabricated to cover either entire boats or individual parts.  The latter tends to be used on expensive boats in order to limit damage from human error while shrinking wrappers with propane torches.  Special braces are sometimes needed because semi-trucks cause severe jarring.  Shipping materials are currently single use but "dunnage" was obviously under constant re-evaluation including returnables, reusables, and elimination of items.

Corrosion is seldom a problem in saltwater environments if zinc anodes are maintained.  A big challenge is eliminating spaces which harbor barnacles.  The harshest structural environments tend to be saltwater or the freshwater Lake of the Ozarks due to wave forces, often while docked.  Our engineer hosts view these as opportunities to learn where to strengthen products.  The direction of grain in aluminum sheets was mentioned several times.  

Consumer demands for larger motors and fuel capacities have also provided lessons which were extended across product lines.  A single 150 hp outboard can now pull multiple skiers, go 10 mph faster, or use less fuel.  There are analogies with the auto industry shifting after the 1960's (wherein horsepower tripled and speeds doubled) into post-OPEC eras of efficiency, utility, safety, and durability.

A joystick will eventually replace traditional helms.  These can be wireless and portable anywhere on deck.  Normal docking skills and many hazards will become historical footnotes because anyone could maneuver the vessel even sideways with the twist of their wrist, simultaneously adjusting speed.  Anchor(s), anchor lines, and said lockers (or tripping hazards) can be replaced with GPS, holding a vessel within a foot of a position as long as fuel and engine power allow.

A single daytime working shift helps maintain quality, versus maximizing plant capacity with 24/7 operations.  Worker safety and comfort were repeatedly included during our tour alongside productivity, utilization, and/or quality.  This facility identifies employees for internal training but learning skills requires sustained time and commitment by everyone involved.

Fort Wayne Engineers' Club deeply appreciates the after-hours time provided by our four Brunswick hosts.

Fort Wayne Inventors Club

The Fort Wayne Inventors Club will have its next meeting on Thursday October 13th at 7:30 PM on the Indiana Tech Campus Center for Creative Collaboration (C3).

During meetings FWIC members discuss our experiences–the successes, the failures, the aha’s, and the oh-no’s. We also bring in speakers to share what inventors need to know. The club is particularly useful as a venue to give inventors time to showcase their work and receive feedback about it from their peer inventors. We also point inventors to resources they need to be more effective and help them meet people to collaborate with on projects.

Fort Wayne Astronomical Society

The Fort Wayne Astronomical Society will have their next general meeting Tuesday October 18, 7:30 PM at Jefferson Township Park, 1730 Webster Road, New Haven, IN 46774.

Progam:  Introducing the Observatory to Members of the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society
By Gene Stringer

October's meeting will be at the new FWAS observatory in Jefferson Township Park. Gene Stringer will introduce the new facility nearing completion and show members and guests around, and enjoy "First Light". The observatory has been in construction for a year and is now nearing completion. If you can, please bring a chair.

The FWAS hope the final landscaping will be done so please stay on the entrance sidewalk upon arriving.

This is a members and their guests event. Come and meet your new observatory.

Northeast Indiana Chapter Project Management Institute

The Northeast Indiana Chapter of the Project Management Institute will have its next dinner meeting on October 26th.

Rick Kinney Presents 'Clyde Theater's $5million Renovation Capital Campaign'

Rick will be discussing his position as project manager for the Clyde Theater's $5m capital campaign and the strategic planning needed to successfully transform a vacant 1,800 seat movie theater into a mix use 2,200 capacity concert hall. He will also be discussing his history and why he decided to take on this project

Register now and meet with us at Don Hall's Guest House.  Networking begins at 5:30 PM, dinner will be served at 6:00 PM, chapter announcements at 6:45 PM and the presentation begins at 7:00 PM. Reservations end 10/24/16.
  • NEIC chapter members: dinner and speaker-$20, speaker only-free
  • PMI Hardship Provision or PMI Student Membership-$10
  • Non-members: Dinner and speaker-$30, Speaker only-$10
  • Register Now; Pay now with credit card only; pay at door option is no longer available

Engineers’ News Past

The FWEC has a significant history; Treasurer Ryan Stark and his wife were able to find past Engineers News documents dating back to 1938!  Here is an excerpt of the past newsletter (a scanned copy of the entire newsletter is available through the FWEC website):

October 1936
Copyright © 2016 Fort Wayne Engineers Club, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp