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Birdel Jackson: civil engineering is all relative

It's never too early to recruit the next generation of Georgia Tech scholars.

That's what CEE alumnus Birdel Jackson, MSCE '74 told himself March 25 when he brought a 10-year-old relative, Jason Dragon, to tour his alma mater.

Together the two toured Georgia Tech's Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines and got a sneak peak at the Jesse W. Mason Building, where Jackson once had an office during his years as a CE graduate student. They were accompanied by Jason's mom, Donna Dragon, who is related to one of Jackson's children by marriage.

An avid student of math and science, Jason was especially interested in the Mason Building's smartbox, a highly advanced Building Information Modeling (BIM) simulator that maps the building's interior.

"The smartbox uses virtual imagery to let us see exactly how the building will look," explained  Kevin Tarnowski, a jobsite superintendent for Balfour Beatty, the company that is renovating the Mason Building.

Will Jason follow in Jackson's footsteps?

He has a few years to decide. Lately, he's been interested in robotics, but that could change.

"A couple of years ago I kind of wanted to be a monster truck driver," said Jason, laughing.

"We'll get him in school colors soon enough!"  his mentor countered.

We'll see you in 2021, Jason.