Martin Pärnak sitting on bench, reading.

1. What did you study in University?

I studied bridge engineering.

2. How and when the idea of BRICO came?

The idea of BRICO came in Istanbul in 2015, when we were participating in a similar event. We did not have previous experience with organizing such competition.

3. How long did it take for an idea to become a reality?

The initial idea formed in April 2015. We started to commit to it in autumn of the same year, probably in October, and by mid-November, BRICO 2016 was announced.

4. What was the greatest ordeal/most intense moment of organizing the first competition?

The biggest effort with the first-ever competition was to successfully manage the four competition days and the following final celebration. I can still remember how we cleaned up early in the next morning after the party and then started to calculate the results and draft the reports with Kaarel. After that, we had to design the diplomas and prepare the assembly hall for the award ceremony. I don’t think we slept that night…First year, we had only a few people helping and a lot had to be done with our own resources and solutions. Moreover, this was the year Madis and I wrote our thesis plus we had to go to work… The following years have been much easier in that sense.

5. Did the first competition exceed your expectations?

It definitely exceeded expectations. As we were organising this kind of event for the first time and it was only three of us, the risk of failure was quite big. We had essentially sold air for the whole year and it was amazing to see all the teams arriving to the competition and receive feedback with many warm comments afterwards.

6. Why do you think BRICO is an important competition to take part in?

BRICO presents a great opportunity to exercise teamwork and be included in the process from start to the very finish, beginning with developing the geometry and structure of the bridge and finishing with the hunt for sponsors and assembling the bridge during competition. Such mini-task challenges you with exceptional versatility, where you can solve different problems and puts you to the test in more ways you could imagine. In addition, each participant gets plenty of contacts in the form of Estonian entrepreneurs and also foreign students. It is extremely beneficial in further (work)life.

7. Any advice for participants on how to make teamwork better and smoother?

Each one of us is different and has their own strengths and weaknesses. You have to understand the characteristics of each individual, know their strong and weak points and consider them when sharing tasks. This way you may find many hidden talents within your team.

8. What is your brightest memory of BRICO?

Every BRICO is special in its own way. The brightest memories come probably from the time after the competition has just ended, the place has been cleaned up and you can let yourself feel all of those emotions that gathered during the competition week. It is an incredibly good feeling when another competition has been successfully completed, new friends have been wished a safe journey home and you can just relax and enjoy the upcoming weekend. That’s the spark that motivates you to do it all over again next year.

9. How has BRICO benefited You so far?

Thanks to BRICO I have gotten new job opportunities, improved myself in many ways, found a bunch of new friends, travelled and actually, thanks to BRICO I found myself a girl, who later became my wife. What more could you ask for?

Picture of Madis Järvpõld talking to a journalist.

1. What did you study in University?

In 2009 I started my university studies with bridge construction and got a degree in road construction and geodesy winter of 2017.

2. How and when the idea of BRICO came?

The idea of BRICO came in 2015 at a local downtown in Istanbul, when we were participating with a team from TalTech at a similar event. We came in 7th place, but the organization was quite poorly arranged so we discussed the weak spots with our teammates (Kaarel, Martin, me and Robert) and a delegation from our university (Juhan Idnurm, Betra Leesment and Ave Eessalu). After a quick discussion, we decided that we could also organize this kind of event in our region and to our delight other teams we competed with in Turkey were really supportive of that idea. We did not have experience in organizing this kind of an event, but we had a great desire and will to organize a better event than the one we participated in Turkey.

3. How long did it take for an idea to become a reality?

It took roughly 13 months from Turkish local to BRICOs first competition day, but we started setting the rules and doing the paperwork in summer 2015.

4. Who was the first sponsor?

The first sponsor can probably be named by Kaarel, who for some time kept the corresponding chronicle, but if we have to name our very first sponsor it would be TalTech and the Faculty of Civil Engineering. Quite a few sponsors and fonds believed in our ventures only when they found out that faculty had already given us one-third of the money.

5. What was the greatest ordeal/most intense moment of organizing the first competition?

I think that first competition tension is hard to perceive for current organizers, because we did everything for the first time and our management team consisted of four people (besides me, Kaarel, Martin and Martin’s sister Laura). Some co-students helped us by being judges or they came to our social events that it would be more crowded and students won’t feel so uncomfortable, also that organizers won’t drink so much.

6. Did the first competition exceed your expectations?

The first competition exceeded my expectations already because it actually happened. For a long time, we doubted if the teams that had promised to come would even do that.
The first hours of BRICO are worth remembering. The team of the University of Bialystok arrived at the hostel and they wished to put their bridge in our storage for safekeeping in the middle of the night. In their bus were Michal, Artur and Kamil, who were really interested in our organizing team and everything that was going to happen. I think I will never forget the reaction they had when they asked about our organizing team, me and Martin looked at each other and said „Yep, that’s us. And Kaarel as well“.

7. Why do you think BRICO is an important competition to take part in?

I would like to quote emer. Prof Siim Idnurm „… this is not some noodle competition!“
BRICO is a unique opportunity to do something close to the real thing, but at the same time in a carefree environment, where there is nothing to lose. In general, entrepreneurs support such events and after a successful performance, it is easier to find a job at your sponsors’ company.
Besides BRICO helps to create contacts with other engineering students from different universities, who you would otherwise most likely never meet. Unfortunately, it is not very common for engineering students to take part in Erasmus projects, so every contact with foreign students is very welcomed.

8. Any advice for participants on how to make teamwork better and smoother?

Putting your team together, you don’t have to look at the brightest designers. Also, you need people, who organize sponsors, transport etc and they are just as important as successful designers because they make a good environment to work in.

9. What is your brightest memory of BRICO?

The brightest memory is the first competition ending. Everything was done and diplomas were given to competitors. We took our group pictures outside and all the sudden Poles and Croats appeared to take pictures with us. That made us smile pretty hard and feel good. It showed us that we did something right because people liked it.

10. How has BRICO benefited You so far?

BRICO has given me many great contacts abroad, fun occurrences for several consecutive springs and certainly a knowledge that good teamwork is a basis of great things.