University of Washington’s (UW) Communications Manager Kate Kitto joined the UW EcoCAR 2 team in Fall 2013 after hearing about the competition from a friend. Since joining, she has enjoyed learning a great deal about environmental car design and about the challenging but rewarding art of managing many forms of reporting and public relations.

More importantly, she is looking forward to continuing her role with the UW EcoCAR 3 team. Learn more about Kate by watching the video below!

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Emily Keats is the Communication Manager for the Vehicle Innovation Team (VIT) at Colorado State University, where she works to publicize the EcoCAR 2 program at the campus, local, and state level.

Emily was born and raised in Stevens Point, WI and moved to Colorado in 2009 to pursue a master’s degree in Public Communication and Technology. She has since earned this degree and is now working on her Ph.D. in the same discipline.

She joined the EcoCAR 2 project in August 2012 – and knew absolutely nothing about advanced vehicle technology (which has since changed drastically)! Being involved with this outstanding program has helped her to gain hands-on experience in public relations, marketing and communicating technical content.

Emily loves being involved in this project and looks forward to starting up the EcoCAR 3 communications team next fall!

Learn more about Emily’s experience with EcoCAR 2 by watching the video below.

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Virginia Tech’s business manager was very busy in Year Three of EcoCAR 2. Lucas Shoults took over the business management team after spending Year Two as a mechanical subteam member. As a first year mechanical engineering graduate student, his engineering background has given him excellent perspective into what sponsors and team members must do to maximize success. Lucas also plans on coming back during EcoCAR 3 as Virginia Tech’s engineering manager!

Let him tell you all about his role as the business manager:

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Meet University of Washington’s Year Three business manager, Alexander Ong! Now a senior at the University of Washington’s (UW) Foster School of Business, Ong is one of the newest members of the UW EcoCAR team, but that hasn’t stopped him from diving headfirst into his newly acquired role.

After being introduced to EcoCAR by a friend on the team, Ong has enjoyed the incredible experience that the competition has afforded him. Ong especially appreciates the real world, multidisciplinary opportunities that EcoCAR provides, which will prepare him for a career in the business world.

Learn more about Alexander by watching the following video! 

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Allison Kotewicz joined the Colorado State University EcoCAR 2 team as the Energy Storage Systems project manager during her senior year as a mechanical engineering student.

“The EcoCAR 2 project was a true capstone to my academic career, providing me with challenges in project management, advanced technologies, and community relations,” she said.

Involvement in EcoCAR 2 helped Kotewicz to obtain a position with Rockwell Automation as an account manager in their Sales Engineering Training Program. This role requires her to interface with a wide variety of manufacturing companies, update them about the company’s latest automation technologies, manage potential sales opportunities and build relationships with current and prospective clientele. Since the start of her job, she was promoted to Channel Business Development at Rockwell.

Kotewicz proudly displays the team’s “Regenerate!” kit used to teach youth about the process and benefits of regenerative braking at the Year 2 Final Competition in San Diego, CA.

Kotewicz proudly displays the team’s “Regenerate!” kit used to teach youth about the process and benefits of regenerative braking at the Year 2 Final Competition in San Diego, CA.

“I think that the complexities of building our vehicle and interfacing all the different systems in Year Two of EcoCAR is what really has translated into my core career skills. So much communication had to happen to make our car a reality, and that’s the same story for everything I’m seeing in my day-to-day at Rockwell Automation.”

Kotewicz’s strong interpersonal skills and willingness to collaborate with team members was a major help during Year Two. She took time from her busy schedule to support the communications team by attending community outreach events, which she credits as one of the main reasons she found a career in sales engineering.

“With all of the outreach events I was participating in for EcoCAR, I felt that sales engineering would be a comfortable transition—and it has been great! I am really enjoying my job and thankful that I got to develop and improve so many valuable skills as a project manager for EcoCAR 2.”

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Sarah Zimmerman was the communications manager for Team Tennessee. Participating in EcoCAR 2 was just one way she worked towards conserving and protecting the environment, which is a strong passion of hers.

When Sarah wasn’t busy preparing community and youth outreach or speaking with the media about the competition, she was most likely kayaking with close friends. The time she spends outdoors gives her a unique perspective on the environmental conservation.

When Sarah first took the position as communications manager, she set out to develop a team. She said, “Building the team has been a process.” But through the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s many programs and the development of a mentorship with the nearby L&N STEM Academy, she found students with similar interests and diverse set of skills. They were eager to begin work on a wide array of projects and goals, and still have the same passion today.

The competition also gave Sarah new insight on the auto industry. “Because of EcoCAR 2, I now see the automotive industry as a powerhouse for technological innovation and a leader for sustainability research.” It has a major role in the environment, which attracted her in the first place.

During Year Three, Sarah was a dedicated and hardworking leader and a key component for Team Tennessee’s communications team. We wish her luck in her future endeavors since graduating this past spring!

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Meet Wayne State’s team leader, Idan Kovent. He is currently studying electric drive engineering and managing the Hybrid Warriors at Wayne State University. He brings years of experience and knowledge to the team and has been involved with the EcoCAR 2 team at Wayne State since Fall 2011.

Get to know him here:

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Meet the part of the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team that motivates all members to push forward—Chris Golecki. Chris was no rookie to the team, as this past year was his second year as co-team leader. The Penn State team managed to snag Chris from his work behind the computer or on the vehicle long enough capture it on camera. Unfortunately his dog, Leo, does not make an appearance in this video, although requested by many team members.

Check out his video to learn more about his experiences and aspirations for the Penn State team, and congratulations to Chris on graduating from Penn State this past May!

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University of Washington (UW) graduate Trevor Crain has been instrumental in EcoCAR 2 since it first arrived on campus in Fall 2011. Since then, he has served as one of the major forces to get the program to UW as well as acting as a leader in different aspects of the team for the last three years.   Crain was truly a jack-of-all-trades on the UW team, helping out in every facet of the project from engineering to business to communications.

Crain recently graduated from the University of Washington with his Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering and will begin his next journey as the newest Argonne National Laboratory organizer for Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions and the EcoCAR 3 competition.

Welcome to the EcoCAR family, Trevor, and congratulations for all of your hard work on the University of Washington team over the past three years.

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EcoCAR 2 faculty advisors are the true champions for Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions at each of the 15 universities in EcoCAR 2. Without their loyal support and dedication to each and every team, the competition would not be possible.

Each year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) recognizes two faculty advisors who best promote the goals, objectives, and activities related to EcoCAR at their universities. The NSF Outstanding Faculty Advisor Awards recognize faculty advisors who have successfully incorporated the EcoCAR objectives into the undergraduate engineering curriculum. They provide the proper balance between hands-on experience and classroom education and instill the importance of competition through hard work and commitment to team work. Each award winner received $10,000 in their honor.

Patrick Currier (middle) with Dr. Charlie Reinholtz and U.S. DOE's Connie Bezanson

Patrick Currier (middle) with Dr. Charlie Reinholtz and U.S. DOE’s Connie Bezanson

The Outstanding Incoming Faculty Advisor Award was awarded to Dr. Patrick Currier of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Not only did his EcoCAR 2 students say that his gentle guidance tactics are the most appreciated aspects of his teaching methods, but it is the respect he gives to each and every student that promotes innovation and excellence within the team.

“Perhaps his greatest gift is his ability to always look forward and never behind,” said ERAU Mechanical Engineering Department Head Dr. Charlie Reinholtz. “He is among the nicest, most approachable, and most-student oriented faculty members I have ever known. He is the rare faculty member who has the highest levels of drive, talent, intelligence and ability but without a trace of ego or self-glorification. I feel truly fortunate to be able to work with such a driven and selfless individual.”

The Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award was awarded to Dr. Roydon Fraser of the University of Waterloo. Since joining Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) in Ethanol Vehicle Challenge, Dr. Fraser’s commitment to the automotive engineering education expands well beyond his team and the EcoCAR 2 competition.

“All EcoCAR 2 advisors are a unique breed of faculty member who make personal sacrifices, push the bureaucratic systems to make things happen, assist in developing industry links, and most importantly work towards motivating students to achieve their best.  We do this because we believe in the very special and unique hands-on, career building, experiences EcoCAR 2 offers our students,” said Dr. Fraser.

University of Waterloo's Roydon Fraser wins the NSF Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award

University of Waterloo’s Roydon Fraser wins the NSF Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award

As a strong believer in improving engineering education through leveraging the unique skills, experience, and opportunities from participation in AVTCs, Dr. Fraser thanks his students for this honor.

“Personally, the National Science Foundation’s Outstanding Long Term Faculty Adviser Award is an honor to have received in recognition my efforts and commitment to the education of my students,” he said. “However, this award is particularly rewarding in that the nomination was initiated and prepared by students I have supervised during EcoCAR 2 and previous AVTCs. Such confirmation of the positive impact of my advisor role is most energizing so I conclude with the hope that I will be fortunate enough to continue my advisor roe for many years to come.”

Please congratulate both Dr. Patrick Currier and Dr. Roydon Fraser on their achievement with EcoCAR 2 and on being awarded the National Science Foundation Outstanding Faculty Advisor Awards!




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