The Column SpeedConnection Challenge

Rise to the challenge! Help change how the structural steel industry approaches column splices.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed




We're building the future with steel--and we're looking for great minds to revolutionize how we do it!

It's all about connections, and in this third part of the SpeedConnection Challenge series, we’re looking for new approaches to column splices. A column splice is the connection at the end of one column to another.

The key words here are FAST and EASY - to design, fabricate, and erect safely. Your outside-the-box idea could become an open-source, non-proprietary system that will revolutionize the entire industry! 

We want to hear perspectives from all industries and academic affiliations--architects, engineers (any type), construction professionals/tradesmen, structural steel professionals/tradesmen, researchers, students, entrepreneurs, and anyone else with a spark of inspiration. 


The Opportunity

Column splices haven’t changed much over time. They typically use bolts, welds, or a combination of the two. But what if there were a better way to splice a column?

That’s where you come in with a new, fast, and less costly way to connect a column to another column. 

So, what’s your “back of the napkin” idea? We can help develop it into a revolutionary concept!


Today's Methods

Let’s start off with a review of how the structural steel industry currently splices columns.


The Challenge Breakthrough

Can you invent a solution that:

  • is FAST and EASY to install,
  • reduces or eliminates welds and/or bolts, or uses them in a different way,
  • utilizes technology not typically found in construction (3D printing, adhesives, etc.), and
  • is equal to or better in cost than current designs and methods?

We are looking for ideas that:

  • Have a high FEASIBILITY factor: "This solution can be implemented easily."
  • Have a high SPEED factor: "This solution will make it faster to install structural steel columns."
  • Have a high INNOVATION factor: "This solution will forever change how structural steel projects are built."


How to get started:

  • Click SOLVE THIS CHALLENGE (above) to sign up.
  • Read the Challenge Guidelines to learn about the requirements and rules.
  • Who do you know who shares your passion for innovation? After all, we all build and put things together in some form or another! Let them know about this Challenge (using the social media buttons above) or invite them to work with you as a team!
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to ask questions, share ideas, or connect with the American Institute of Steel Construction and other innovators.




In 1921, a group of steel fabricators set out to unify a fragmented industry that had no universally accepted standards, codes, or practices. They founded the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). Thanks to their efforts, steel became the material that owners, designers, and engineers chose with confidence. 

Over the next 100 years, the country–and the entire world–would undergo unimaginable changes in construction and other technologies, due in no small part to the role of structural steel. Designers and builders reached for the sky and buildings became taller and taller.

As AISC moves into its second century, it’s your turn to make an indelible mark on the steel industry by participating in the Column SpeedConnection Challenge. (#speedconnection)



The Column SpeedConnection Challenge offers up to three winners a prize of US $5,000 each for innovative ideas that identify new ways to connect a structural steel column to another structural steel column. In addition, the winner(s) will be featured in Modern Steel Construction magazine ( and on AISC's social media platforms.



  • Challenge open: November 30, 2021 through January 14, 2022
  • Challenge launch date: November 30, 2021
  • Submission deadline: January 14, 2022 @ 11:59 pm CT
  • Judging process: January 17 - February 17, 2022
  • Winner announcement: March 4, 2022


How Do I Win?

To be eligible for an award, your proposal must (at a minimum):

  • Satisfy the scoring criteria.
  • Thoughtfully address the submission form questions.
  • Be rated higher than your competitors’!


Scoring Criteria


Additional Rules

Awarding prizes:

A jury of steel industry experts will determine the winner and, in the case of a tie, vote individually. Up to three prizes of US $5,000 each will be awarded to the highest-rated ideas. 

Participation eligibility:

The Column SpeedConnection Challenge encourages participation from all individuals, regardless of professional or academic affiliation. No specific qualification or expertise in the structural steel industry is required--in fact, we encourage fresh ideas from those who aren't experts! Although we welcome ideas from around the world, submissions must be made in English, and all challenge-related communication will be in English. To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement, which will be made available upon registration.

Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (see:

Registration and submissions:

Submissions must be made online via upload to the website on or before the stated deadlines. No late or offline submissions will be accepted.

Intellectual property: 

Our goal is to develop the seed of your idea into a game-changing, open-source, non-proprietary connection solution. The IP of the winning submission(s) will be transferred to the Challenge Sponsor.

Additional information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically and immediately disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no notice, recourse, or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.

Challenge Updates

Winners of the Column SpeedConnection Challenge!

March 4, 2022, 3 p.m. PST by Erin Conaway

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is proud to announce the winner(s) of the Column SpeedConnection Challenge!


By the close of the project, we received 39 entries. And after a thorough judging process, two winners have been selected: Reid Zimmerman and Chantal Goldson.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the innovators who participated. There were so many insightful solutions that we are confident many will do great things in the future. Thank you all for helping make this crowdsourcing project a success and contributing to the future of steel construction.


Kind regards,

AISC SpeedConnection Team

Less Than One Week Left to Submit

Jan. 10, 2022, 8:25 a.m. PST by Erin Conaway

There's less than one week left to submit your solution to the Column SpeedConnection Challenge!

You're so close. You can do this!  

Remember, the final submission deadline is January 14 at 11:59 pm Central Time (Chicago/USA). Submissions received after this time will be not be accepted, so make sure to get yours in as soon as possible. Let us know if you have questions!

Good luck!

2 Weeks Left!

Jan. 4, 2022, 10:35 a.m. PST by Erin Conaway

Happy New Year! Just a friendly reminder that there are only TWO WEEKS left to submit your solution for the Column SpeedConnection Challenge! We'd hate for you to miss this opportunity because, unfortunately, we are unable to accept late entries. Deadline for entries is January 14 at 11:59pm CT.


Thank you so much for your interest in our challenge. Can't wait to see your great ideas!


Best of luck to all!

We are almost halfway through the submission period...

Dec. 20, 2021, 8 a.m. PST by Erin Conaway

Hello Innovators! Thank you so much for your interest in the Column SpeedConnection Challenge! We are almost halfway to the submission deadline. Submissions are due on January 14, 2022 at 11:59 pm CT. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or need clarification about anything. We can't wait to see what the winning solution looks like!

Best of luck to all!


-AISC's SpeedConnection Team

Grand Prize Winner
Dudley Dudley
2 team members
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Kay Hopper's team Kay Hopper's team
1 team member
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PhD.Candidate's team PhD.Candidate's team
1 team member
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Joseph Dougherty's team Joseph Dougherty's team
1 team member
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Aditya Jhunjhunwala's team Aditya Jhunjhunwala's team
2 team members
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Berry Rachmattika's team Berry Rachmattika's team
1 team member
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