ITT Residential & Commercial Water (RCW) announced its 2012 sponsorship of $5,000 to the Future City Competition, a nonprofit student contest that challenges student teams to create their visions of the city of tomorrow – first on a computer and then in large, three-dimensional models.

Teams of middle-school students compete regionally and, if selected as winners, compete nationally at National Future City Competition during Engineers Week, February 19 to 25, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

Each team has two volunteer mentors – one engineer and one teacher – that help students from start to finish. ITT RCW employees including Peggy Panagopoulos Flaherty, regional sales manager, act as volunteer mentors. A veteran Future City Competition supporter, Panagopoulos Flaherty has volunteered for more than 10 years in her home state of Ohio.

“Engineers sometimes refer to themselves as having the stealth profession because they are invisible to the public,” said Peggy Panagopoulos Flaherty, who also serves as the president and regional coordinator of Ohio’s Future City Competition, in a prepared statement. “It’s rewarding to see the students’ excitement about the competition and to demonstrate the importance of engineering in their daily lives.”

The teams use SimCity, a popular computer program, to design their city. Models of the city are then built by hand using recycled materials, all designed to reflect this year’s theme of alternative energy.

“ITT RCW believes in investing in the engineers of tomorrow. What better way to prepare for the future than investing in the next generation of students interested in the fields of engineering, math and science,” said Anthonie Lombard, vice president and director of global engineering, ITT RCW.

As a title sponsor, ITT RCW will present the Best Innovative Solution for Water Utilities Award. “This award is new to the 2012 competition and showcases the business’s commitment to providing total solutions to problems and not just on a product-by-product basis,” Lombard said.

A special ceremony will recognize the city plan that best addresses, and perhaps even best anticipates, the water needs of their future city. ITT RCW hopes this recognition will ignite students to continue innovative, intelligent discussions about water and wastewater infrastructure.