EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge was a life-changing experience for Eric Mallia, the outreach coordinator for the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team. Eric, then studying for his masters in environmental studies, always wanted to work in sustainable development and saw EcoCAR as an opportunity.
“When I first heard about EcoCAR and the challenges they were taking on, I knew I wanted to be part of it. The challenge of building a fuel cell vehicle and educating the public about green vehicle technologies was something I couldn’t pass up,” says Eric, “It also gave me the chance to get away from the desk and thesis writing and work directly with the community.”
During his time as the outreach coordinator for Years Two and Three of EcoCAR, he worked with the engineering team to develop an outreach plan that would educate the public about fuel cells and sustainable transportation. One of Eric’s greatest contributions was setting-up a feedback system. This system allowed for the team to monitor the impact of its outreach program.
“We were able to monitor the number of people that would visit our website or social media sites after outreach events and track which events would result in the highest number of follow-ups,” says Eric, “It was cutting edge at the time and is now used by almost every EcoCAR 2 school. That’s something I’m very proud of.”
After EcoCAR, Eric landed a job at CrossChasm Technologies. CrossChasm is no stranger to EcoCAR: its founders, Chris Mendes and Matt Stevens, are AVTC alumni and both participated in ChallengeX. Eric’s role at CrossChasm is the general manager of FleetCarma, a division of CrossChasm that helps fleet managers make an informed decision on vehicle purchases. It does this by tracking the current usage of existing fleet vehicles and applying their usage data to vehicle models to accurately predict fuel consumption and total cost of ownership.
Through his experience with EcoCAR, Eric understood how to simplify and explain key messages to clients. He uses these skills every day with fleet managers when explaining how FleetCarma works. Skills learned with generating media pitches during EcoCAR events and finding a fascinating story for media outlets are also helping Eric pitch FleetCarma.
“EcoCAR was the stepping stone. It helped bridge my classroom knowledge with the real world. It was great to work with such a talented and motivated group of students, professors and industry professionals.”