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SCC Alumnus Plays a Key Role in the Building of Kentucky's Ark Encounter

Brian GrossA Somerset Community College graduate played a part in helping Kentuckys latest tourist destination The Ark Encounter become a reality. Brian Goss, of London, was the sole detailer of the glulam (glued laminated timber) shop drawings for the Ark, meaning he produced a 3D model of the glulam structure and 2D schematics for shop fabrication and field use.

Goss said he was excited about the possibility of working on a project of the Ark Encounters magnitude for two reasons: first, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on a project of that scale, and second, because his work would allow him to work on something that shares the love of Christ with others.

I remember praying if it was God's will for us to get the project, we would; because He knows all things and He knows what we are capable of doing, said Goss, a Christian. A notice to proceed with the glulam shop drawings for the project was given at the end of September of 2014. These shop drawings were submitted in three phases: the straight section of the Ark (middle portion), the Stern, and finally the Bow. The final glulam shop drawing submittal was completed in February of 2016--a total of 17 months to complete the glulam shop drawings process. I had approximately 2,300 hours in the project.

Goss graduated from Somerset Community College, then Laurel Technical College, in 2002 and worked at Gray Engineering and Design, LLC as a drafter for eight years before going into business for himself. Now, his main client is Sams Engineering, PLLC, he said, and he works with the company on a job-by-job basis as a drafter, detailing glued laminated timber shop drawings. According to Goss, glulam, or glued laminated timber, is a type of structural engineered wood product comprising of layers of dimensional lumber bonded together to create beams, columns, arches, curved members and more.

Ark Encounter DrawingI produce glulam shop drawings for several glulam manufacturers. When a project has glulam specified, the glulam manufacturers need detailed drawings in order for their plants to fabricate the glulam members and connections. Those detailed drawings are needed to provide information pertaining to the glulam for the architect, structural engineer and contractor to review. These drawings are also used to erect the structure, Goss said.

Goss attended North Laurel High School and chose SCC after graduation because he received a scholarship and because it was close to home, he said. He began taking computer-aided drafting courses in high school and intended to become an architect. After exploring his career options in drafting, though, he continued with that career path and settled into the glulam industry.

Being part of the Ark Encounter project was at times overwhelming and nerve-racking, Goss said, but he ultimately felt blessed to be part of it.

The architect on the project was the Troyer Group and beyond that there were several other trades, industries and craftsmen involved. In the long list of those that worked on the Ark I was the glulam shop drawing detailer; just one cog in the wheel that made this project a reality, Goss said humbly.

Due to his part of the project, Goss was able to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony and was awestruck by the massive structure, he said.

After working on it for 17 months, I somewhat feel relieved to see it all come together, Goss said. I saw the areas that I was worried about and how it all came together nicely.I was excited to be there.I was also able to see how skilled the contractors/craftsmen were. Then I thought, Wow Noah built this already! As I have heard from others, the Bible comes to life! I saw all the interest in it from people and the media and I thought, this is going to be great for spreading God's word.

Goss said that his education at SCC prepared him for this job, and others, by providing a foundation of knowledge and skills that he could build upon when he entered the workforce. By continuing to develop that skill, and learning from others such as former and current business associates Gary W. Gray, Bill Grigsby, Jason Callebs, Steven Toby and Logan Sams, Goss said he was prepared to take on the challenge of the Ark, which spans 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high, withthe total structure standing approximately 100 feet tall from grade to top of bow sail.

I feel very blessed to be a part of this project, said Goss. I believe it will be a great way to spread the gospel or at least have people talk and think about it.