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U of T Engineering’s start-up company, Cast ConneX Corporation, is helping to rebuild one of the country’s earthquake-stricken schools.

The company donated 170 of its earthquake-resistant connectors to the reconstruction of École Lakay, a trades training centre being built for young Haitians in Le Soleil, near the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

According to Carlos de Oliveira (CivE MASc 0T6), president and CEO of Cast ConneX, most buildings today are constructed to withstand wind, but are still susceptible to earthquakes.

Cast ConneX’s connectors, however, are not only simpler to design, fabricate and erect, but are seismic-resistant. “They provide laboratory-proven earthquake performance and offer significantly improved constructability and erectability,” said de Oliveira.

The technology behind Cast ConneX’s connectors was developed at U of T Engineering in 2006, based on de Oliveira’s graduate thesis work and the doctoral work of Michael Gray (CivE PhD 1T1). Both research projects were supervised by CivE professors Jeffrey Packer and Constantin Christopoulos.

In 2007, the four founded Cast ConneX as a start-up company to commercialize life-saving connectors. The impact of its technology on the well-being of society has earned Cast ConneX the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering’s 2009 Award for Excellence in Innovation in Civil Engineering.

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