Engineering the Future

Engineering and Research Building Drives Excellence, Innovation in Southeast Georgia

Georgia Southern University’s new Engineering and Research Building will open on the Statesboro Campus later this year, and will serve as an epicenter for engineering innovation in southeast Georgia.

The new building will house state-of-the-art applied research facilities where faculty and students will conduct research to strengthen existing companies and attract new companies to the region. The facility will also provide regional businesses with expanded access to engineering faculty with technical expertise as well as opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research and development.

For the past 72 years, JCB, Inc. has invested heavily in research and development, always staying on the cutting edge of innovation. This acclaimed global manufacturer of construction equipment recently tapped the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing at Georgia Southern University to help the company innovate even further and to achieve even higher levels of success.

With 12,000 employees on four continents, JCB designs and manufactures world-class construction equipment incorporating the latest technology. The company’s manufacturing facility in Pooler produces more than 3,000 units annually that are shipped to customers around the world. JCB employs an in-house engineering team in Pooler, Ga., but understands the importance of expanding and deepening its connections with resources across Georgia.

“At JCB, we started looking for talent locally,” explains Justin Haddock, a 2004 Georgia Southern Electrical Engineering graduate who currently serves as the Systems Engineering Manager at JCB, Inc. “Georgia Southern’s College of Engineering and Computing is right up the road and has so much to offer.”

JCB started by bringing Georgia Southern Engineering professors to the company’s Pooler campus to lead small-group continuing education sessions focused on state-of-the-art technology in a wide range of areas. Haddock says this “accelerated learning path” has helped JCB engineers “get a leg up” by offering customized instruction utilizing JCB’s real-world data, rather than abstract textbook scenarios.

“We provide them with data sets and they manipulate it and share the results with us,” explains Haddock, who is also a longtime member of Georgia Southern’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board. “They share their wealth of knowledge with us. That really hits home.”

At the same time, JCB, Inc. has several co-op students from Georgia Southern’s College of Engineering and Computing who work on important projects, like incorporating acoustical camera technology or testing new software.

Matthew Williams, a sophomore from Acworth Georgia, who is working on a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, recently served as a co-op student at JCB, where he had the opportunity to help create and test an instrument that can control a Teleskid skid steer boom remotely.

“This experience has been very beneficial to me as it offers a look into what being an engineer is actually like,” explains Williams. “What I have learned in the classroom is the basic ideas and principles, but actually applying them is very different. Combining real world experience with what I have learned in the classroom has made me more interested with what I was learning because I can see the real uses.”

Georgia Southern faculty also advise JCB engineers regarding cutting-edge technology, which is helping to develop the next generation of construction equipment. Weinan Gao, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Southern, has led several technical briefings at JCB and currently advises the company’s engineering team in the area of PID Control Systems.

“It’s truly an honor to work with JCB on this ongoing project and to support their talented engineering team,” said Gao. “This collaboration is a great opportunity to help a world-class company make strategic refinements to its product line and incorporate the latest technology.”

The fact that Georgia Southern bridges theory and practice, while offering insight into new technology, is a tremendous benefit to JCB.

“Georgia Southern has all these tools available and they can show us what they can do,” says Haddock. “They offer an excellent team-oriented approach. If one professor isn’t sure about something, they can walk down the hall and bring in another professor who can help.”

By offering customization, flexibility, hands-on assistance and a team-oriented approach, Georgia Southern’s College of Engineering and Computing serves as an important resource for this leading global manufacturer.

“It’s been a very productive partnership,” says Haddock. “Everything we’ve done so far has had a good outcome.”

For more information on ways you can support the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing and the new Engineering and Research Building, contact University Advancement at 912-478-2000.

“Combining real world experience with what I have learned in the classroom has made me more interested with what I was learning because I can see the real uses.” — Matthew Williams, Sophomore