All posts by Capital Region CANstruction

Hyman Hayes in the hunt with 9 days until build!

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As we are 9 days until the 7th annual Capital Region CANstruction build day, we have a guest blog from the Hyman Hayes team, as well as some photos they’ve shared with us!

Hyman Hayes Associates is looking to shock the competition at this year’s event and prove that they are a team to be on the hunt for in their second year. HHA laughed and bowled their way through some very successful fundraisers in order to be able to build a structure with close to 3,000 cans. Team captain John Link shared some thoughts on the work that has gone into this year’s work of art:


“Once our team found out that Go Team was the theme everyone seemed to explode with ideas on what we could create. After several votes with team members and all members of our office we feel we picked a great idea that will be enjoyed by everyone who sees it. The big obstacle was fundraising as we knew we would need a lot of cans to bring our idea to life. Our team did amazing work to help put together great nights of bowling and comedy that were enjoyed by all and finding many generous donors to help our cause of feeding the hungry. The team excitement has been so much fun to be a part of through the whole process and I can’t wait to build it and show off a little bit.”


Hyman Hayes has truly been a team on the go with a structure that will hopefully catch the eye of everyone who sees it.


With 11 days until Build Day, M.J. Engineering celebrates fundraising win!

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MJ Engineering, a loyal Capital Region CANstruction build team, took time to share some photos and a delicious recipe with Capital Region CANstruction:


Team MJ showed our love for CANstruction with some Valentine’s Day fundraising in the office! We held a chocolate covered strawberry sale and hosted our 4th annual chili cook-off competition. 16 participants battled it out for the ultimate bragging rights. The winner? Taco Tuesday Chili …. don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone where you got the recipe 😉

Crockpot Creamy Taco Chicken Chili

Our team was able to raise over $1,000 from the day’s events!! …. now on to the build! #thecansarecoming

13 Days and Counting!

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Happy Wednesday– we’re halfway through the week and 13 days until Capital Region CANstruction Build Day!

The kW Mission Critical Engineering team is giving us a CANstruction teaser with their quote and photo below. We hope everyone will come check it out when the 7thannual Capital Region CANstruction exhibit opens at the NYS Museum on Wednesday March 8th!

“It wasn’t ruff to choose this year’s top dog to lead our team to victory in CANstruction 2017,” said Sara Hyland, Marketing Communications Director at kW Mission Critical Engineering. “Idita-right good job putting Greg at the head of the pack. He rounded up his crew and led the herd through design, label selection, and more. His only requirement… he wanted the Captain’s Hat! Happy to oblige. Thanks Greg Wilhelm!”


…and thank you to the entire kW Mission Critical Engineering CANstruction team!

14 days until Build Day!

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Today we celebrate incredible team members from Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis. Below is a guest post from their CANstruction team:

Fourth Year Team, Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis is being led by two new team captains this year, Sarah and Otto.  Both are extremely excited to participate and are doing a phenomenal job leading the team!  Otto serves as a great technical resource for the team and we certainly appreciate his knowledge, enthusiasm, and use of his construction equipment to get the job done!

What’s particularly astounding about Sarah’s willingness to lead the RB|CD team is that she is pregnant and due with her first child just a week before the build – now that’s dedication!  Sarah hasn’t missed a beat providing the design of the team’s CANstructure in the Revit model, attending shop day and periodically making Price Chopper stops along the way to check inventory, organizing team construction days, cutting and tracing substrate layouts, and being the team’s ‘Go-To’ person for questions.  Since she’ll be home with her new baby and will miss the build, she’s made a handy “How To” binder for the team to use as a guide that includes every detail for every one of the CANstructure’s 5,000 cans.  We are so appreciative of her efforts and recognize that she is truly going above and beyond for those in need in our community.

We are a firm of wagering enthusiasts, so we used this opportunity to orchestrate an office baby pool with proceeds going to our favorite charity, Capital Region CANstruction, of course!  We wish Sarah and her husband Joshua all the best and look forward to meeting her little one!

Here’s a GO-TEAM themed teaser for you…

Canstruction wheel

15 days until build day!  

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C.T. Male Associates provides engineering, architecture, surveying, energy & environmental services and will be returning once again as a Capital Region CANstruction build team!

As a team with plenty of years of CANstruction experience, they’ve shared a top five list looking back as well as preview of what you can look forward to in their 2017 structure.

Thank you, C.T.Male! We can’t wait to see what you build!   Top 5 moments with the team so far/through the years:

1.      Having veterans present at the American Hero build.
2.      Designing and building Candisssss the Snake, which was our very first build.
3.      Getting together at a co-worker’s house to have a template cutting party (and eating lots of pizza along the way).
4.      Organizing a bunch of awesome cook-offs (chili, mac and cheese, crockpot, etc.) to gather donations.
5.      The start of the CANstruction season and brainstorming once we know the theme for the year.

Top 5 foods we’re including:

1.      Old El Paso Chopped Green Chiles
2.      Ortega Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles
3.      PICS Solid White Tuna
4.      PICS Chunk White Tuna
5.       Price Chopper Tomato Soup

CSArch Celebrates 7 Years with CANstruction

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Today officially starts the 16 day countdown until Capital Region CANstruction’s 7th build day!

As we look forward to watching 16 amazing CANstructures come to life, we celebrate CSArch, a design firm that has been a special part of Capital Region CANstruction since its inception in 2011.

Below is a guest blog post from the team:

When the Capital Region CANstruction board revealed “GO TEAM” as the 2017 theme, images of sporting events, athletes, and trophies came to mind. When you put together the creative brains of CSArch architects and engineers, out-of-the-box concepts are born.

Without revealing our team’s idea, let’s just say instead of hitting hunger out of the ballpark, we’ll be solving the case to cure it.

Check out what our team captain, Elizabeth Brutsch, has to say about our team’s brainstorming process and how we ultimately arrive at a consensus!

Zoom In Blog Image

Every year, our team captains eagerly anticipate the kick off for CANstruction which begins with the theme reveal. Once the captains receive the theme, we announce it to the rest of the company and ask for inspiration and ideas. The staff shares these in the form of online images, original sketches, and hand written descriptions.

A group of employees kick off our lunch-hour CANstruction meetings with a first gathering to discuss the merits of each idea submitted. The team narrows it down to the top three concepts, which are sent back out to the entire office to vote on. Every year, we get a great response from all of our employees, and this year was no different.

Once the idea is selected and we receive permission from the CANstruction Board of Directors, our sculpture designers take a stab at modeling it in Revit. Sometimes, we find that the idea just isn’t working or isn’t feasible and we need to go to the second choice. This year, we were fortunate that our first choice, although we made a few alterations as we designed it, was the best choice!

It takes a massive team effort to pull off a successful CANstruction entry! The idea and design of the sculpture is just the beginning of our team’s very inclusive, creative brainstorming process. We also collaborate at great length to pull together an eye-catching poster that graphically represents our sculpture, reinforces the theme, and shares a short narrative. Simultaneously, we create t-shirts for all team members to make sure we show off our team spirit. All of this leads up to a successful Build Day!

We can’t wait to unveil the mystery of our structure on March 8th!

Girl Scouts of Northeastern NY Contribute Over 2,000 Cans to CANstruction

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On Saturday, January 14, the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York partnered with Capital Region CANstruction to combine STEM concepts with community service at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany.

The collaboration between Capital Region CANstruction, The Food Pantries for the Capital District, and OGS led to a great display of team work and service resulting in a donation of over 2,000 cans. In addition to the build at Empire State Plaza, additional service units built structures in Plattsburg, which will benefit that local community.

girlscoutThe teams designed using a collection from individual service unit food drives and choose to build based upon one of two themes: “My favorite Girls Scout Cookie” or “GO TEAM,” which is the 2017 Capital Region CANstruction theme.

A special girl scout badge (pictured) was designed for all participants!

Lily, from troop 2115, wrote the following about their experience:

Every year, professional engineering and architecture firms build structures out of food cans to call attention to hunger insecurity. This event is called CANstruction, and the cans used in the structures are then donated to local food pantries. Inspired by the event held in Albany in 2016, we asked the Girl Scouts of Northeast New York (GSNENY) about participating in CANstruction 2017. As a result, GSNENY is hosting its first ever Girl Scouts Can Do on Saturday, January 14, 2017.

Our Troop of 10th grade Senior Girl Scouts took the lead on designing and building a structure with the other troops from Niskayuna. There were two themes for Girl Scouts Can Do 2017: Go Team (the same theme as CANstruction 2017) and My Favorite Girl Scout Cookie. We invited Girl Scouts in Niskayuna to submit ideas for either theme. We turned those ideas into preliminary sketches. At our annual community service event in November, Elf Fest, the attendees voted for their favorite design. The clear winner was a design inspired by the Girl Scout Way badges, one for each level of Girl Scouts (Brownie to Ambassador). We also incorporated the Daisy promise center and petals (which represent the Girl Scout Promise and Law).

Our Troop then figured out how many cans of what colors would be needed to turn the design into reality. Then, the troops in Niskayuna helped to collect the cans we needed. We also had help from the Town of Niskayuna, which promoted our food drive and was a collection site.

Our plan called for a box 10 cans tall and 9 cans to a side, for a total of 320 cans. We actually collected 406 cans and other food items for donation to the food pantries in the Capital District.

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Thank you to all who helped make this a wonderful event!

2017 Capital Region CANstruction Theme Revealed

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Last night, the official 2017 Capital Region CANstruction theme was unveiled! “Go Team”, the 2017 theme, speaks to the only way CANstruction can be successful, through teamwork that extends beyond the board, beyond our teams and into the community. Together, working as a team, we can make a huge difference in our community and the spirit of that was truly captured in last evening’s event. 
A homecoming of sorts, the “Theme Reveal” welcomed representatives from the CANstruction board, former CANstruction teams, past sponsors and The Food Pantries for The Capital District to Lucky Strike Social in Crossgates Mall. With refreshments in hand, the attendees waited with anticipation for the theme to be revealed as Sara Stein, the President of Capital Region CANstruction and Jill Shorter, Vice President, took the stage.
Sara recapped the stunning stats from the local program to date. The 2016 numbers of 104,095 pounds of food and a donation to The Food Pantries for the Capital District of $26,000 brought Capital Region CANstruction’s impact to over 360,000 pounds and nearly $100,000 since it’s inception.
We were also honored to have Natasha Pernicka, Executive Director of The Food Pantries for the Capital District, speak at the event. Each year Natasha brings infuses our teams with inspiration and explains how great the need for food throughout the Capital Region really is. As one in ten people locally struggle with having adequate food resources, Natasha emphasized the impact we have on our neighbors.  She expressed excitement for this year’s theme, reminding supporters that a mantra of The Food Pantries is “working together, in a spirit of cooperation, to do what none of us could do alone.”
With the speeches complete and the theme unveiled team representatives took to the bowling lanes for some friendly, pre-CANstruction competition. 
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CANstruction can’t happen without creative teams dedicated inspiring the community through their designs while also helping to feed those in need throughout our community. We are so excited to see what this year’s teams create! See a video of the theme reveal here
Need more details? Take a look and the below information.  
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Capital Region CANstruction, we are a local chapter of CANstruction that invites the best architecture, engineering and construction firms and students to build huge structures out of canned food items. Each year a new theme is unveiled that helps shape the look and feel of the structures built.
2017 will mark the 7th anniversary of Capital Region CANstruction and we can’t wait to get started! If you’re: 
  1. A potential build team who is interested in joining, click here. 
  2. If you have other questions or are looking to get involved in other ways please contact our President, Sara Stein at or our Vice President of Teaming, Jill Shorter at

2016 Capital Region CANstruction Award Roundup

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Each year participating teams come to the museum with one goal in mind, to help end hunger in the Capital Region.  However, there is a little bit of friendly competition that ensues and awards are given out in a variety of categories, to those teams that went above and beyond! Help us congratulate this year’s honorees!

All of the images below were taken by Damian B Photography. Check him out on Facebook.

The award for Best Signage Board goes to:  CSArch’s TransCANtinental Railroad


The award for Best Use of Labels goes to:  RPI School of Architecture’s CANcastle


The award for Structural Ingenuity goes to:  EYP’s The World is Your Playground


The Honorable Mention award goes to:  M+W Group’s CANtasyland


The award for Best Meal goes to: Hyman Hayes’ Xylophone
This team used the most items from the FOOD PANTRIES ITEMS IN NEED LIST.


The award for Juror’s Favorite goes to: CHA’s Whack Out Hunger


The award for Team Spirit goes to: Creighton Manning


The award for Most Funds goes to: AOW/RIDA


The award for People’s Choice goes to: EYP


This coveted award is won by the team that gets the most community donations placed in their bin throughout the exhibit.  We had two other teams that were very close this year:

2nd       Creighton Manning


3rd        kW Mission Critical Engineering


The team chosen to rebuild in the lobby next year is: Mosaic Associates