All posts by Capital Region CANstruction

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



To Our Sponsors, We Couldn’t Have Succeeded Without You

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This is a guest post from Capital Region CANstruction Board President, Sara Stein.

Copy of Help End HungerBring 10 Cans to The NYS Museum & Donate to CANstruction

There’s no way to describe the sheer support for the 2016 Capital Region CANstruction program other than “amazing.” We’ve been steadily growing as a program for the past five years, and this year, something really special happened with the synergy of everyone involved.

We have 15 incredible teams who have been planning since the Fall.
We have great partners who allow us to fully support them.

The New York State Museum is a perfect venue for CANstruction that our Board of Directors can imagine. In addition to the architecture of the space, with great views of historic Albany, the Museum’s talented graphic designers, supportive leadership and energetic team make the exhibit and all that goes into it run smoothly so the focus is on the beautiful CANstructures.

Price Chopper, in addition to being a build team, provides financial, logistical and promotional support. We truly appreciate their organization as we work with so many of their departments. In addition to working closely with our Board of Directors behind the scenes, Price Chopper interfaces directly with build team captains as they shop for their products at a significant discount. Price Chopper places the orders for all of the teams, prepares each team’s order on palettes, and works with the Museum to deliver it so everything is ready for the teams when they arrive on build day. This partnership is key to the success of our program and allows the teams to focus on fundraising and design.

Dataflow is a new partner this year. They printed the signage that accompanies each structure and provided the floor graphics so the company names would be on proud display. The “Play” photo backdrop was a new feature this year- we saw many visitors enjoying taking their photos in front of it! Mark also made lattes for the teams during the build to keep us all going- and they were delicious! What a great new partnership!

We also have many partners who have been by our side since inception. Camelot Print & Copy Center has provided our rack cards each year, which really help us spread the word about the dates and theme of the exhibit. We are thrilled to circulate these as we encourage the community to “bring cans to the Museum!”

Our Board of Directors is thankful to the many Gold and Silver level sponsors who provide financial support to our program. These contributions go directly to The Food Pantries, who can buy up to 6.25 lbs of food with every dollar. We will be proud to announce our cash donation to them later this summer after we close our books for the year. Last year, the check we presented to The Food Pantries was over $20,000!
All of our sponsors who make this possible are listed at

Lastly, in addition to all of the support that the leadership of each firm/school provides to its own build teams, we are very thankful to EYP Architecture & Engineering and Ryan Biggs Clark Davis. As presenting sponsors, they provide more support behind the scenes than anyone can realize. These firms promote cultures of philanthropy, which they demonstrate with their support our Board of Directors and financial contributions to the program every year. Thank you for all you do!

As we prepare for Thursday’s decanstruct, our Board looks around with gratitude at the companies and people who make this program possible in our region. Our relationships go beyond sponsorships and truly demonstrate the heart of the Capital Region and the power of collaboration. On behalf of the Capital Region Board of Directors and The Food Pantries for the Capital District, thank you to everyone who has helped us grow to our sixth year. We are tremendously grateful.

Price Chopper Strikes Out Hunger

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Our Price Chopper build team has been dedicated to participating every year since our the inception of  Capital Region CANstruction and in the process has taken home quite a few awards. Their creativity each year brings fun and creativity to the build and this year is no different. (suggested add-) It was evident that this was a veteran CANstruction team at the build on March 15, as they were one of the quickest structures to get built!

The structure was created using over 4,600 food items, including a variety of beans and soups, (suggested add-) which are both on The Food Pantries “most in need” list.

The Price Chopper team traditionally builds CANstructures that exceed the average can count in the Capital Region CANstruction exhibit. In 2015, they were presented with the “Most Cans” award!


Led by team captain Nathan Alois, the entire Price Chopper team is glad to join the AEC community to showcase their creativity while giving back to the community.

Congratulations to the team! Want the Price Chopper Team to win the “2016 People’s Choice Award” bring cans to the museum and place your cans in the bin next to their structure.


This photograph was taken by Damian B Photography.

Announcing our Hunger Heroes

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This is a guest post from Natasha Pernicka, Executive Director of The Food Pantries for The Capital District.

It is The Food Pantries mission to work together to feed the hungry – CANstruction and the Hunger Heroes program exemplify the spirit of working together on behalf of those in need.

Both pieces make a big dent in the amount of food needed for the 2.5 million meals that are distributed to nearly 44,000 people annually.  As a frame of reference – on any given night 850 children have food for dinner because their parents were able to access food from one of our 54 food pantries.

Our food pantries rely on people getting involved…and CANstruction is an exciting way for people to participate!  The CANstruction Hunger Heroes Food and Fund Drive was created so that community partners could get involved even if they were not involved in a build team. KeyBank is our major sponsor for Hunger Heroes and we want to thank them for their support of this important program.


Our first place winner, GlobalFoundries, wildly exceeded our expectations – and we think they might have even surprised themselves too!  Their goal was simple – to bring more cans then they had last year. This year when they arrived with their truck at the drop off site, (thank you to Arnoff Moving and Storage for partnering with us!)  they unloaded it and said, “We’ll be back! We have another truck load to deliver!” Our volunteers were thrilled!  The team delivered 9,388 pounds of food!  Everyone on site commended the team for bringing nearly 10,000 pounds of food.  After a brief pause, team volunteers Peter and Josh said, “We’ll be right back!”  After a short while, they came back with 320 more pounds of food!!!  With a twinkle in their eyes and calculators out, they realized only 292 more pounds were needed to break the 10,000 pound mark.


The following Monday, a few days before CANstruction was officially underway, our office got a call.  They did it!  With one last delivery, GlobalFoundries donated a total of 10,078 pounds of food.

What an incredible effort and a team we are all so grateful for!

Thank you to all the Hunger Hero teams. This year we more than doubled our participants! Your combined efforts raised 15,067 pounds of food and more than $1,750:


Arnoff Moving & Storage
Bethlehem Children’s School
Big Bowman Heroes
Book Buddies
C.T. Male Associates
Coburg Village
Insurance Auto Auctions
Iroquois Middle School
Leadership Tech Valley Class of 2015
Rotary Clubs of the Capital Region
Saratoga National Bank
Team JoBean
The Food Pantries Board of Directors
Troy Church of Christ
Turner Construction Company
AND Waters View Apartments, Cohoes NY