Supporting Tomorrow’s Engineers in Rose-Hulman’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers with E3.series

Earlier in the year, Bruce Rietdorf, Zuken VP of Sales, and I were privileged to visit the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology following the beginning of our work with the college  as part of our activity to support educational institutions in the development of future engineers.

Following our one-day visit I’ve been asked numerous times how the day went.  What I can say is WOW…what a day it was!  I left Rose-Hulman that day totally inspired by the enthusiasm of the faculty and staff and by the sheer talent of the students.  I really believe that when these students start working in companies like yours and mine, it’s going to be very exciting indeed!

Our day started with a meeting with the FSAE (Formula Society of Automotive Engineers) Team, who are working with the Zuken E3.series software for the design of their car. Since February they have already achieved amazing results in reducing the wire harness weight.

Our trip also included a tour of the main campus, lunch with a group of Rose-Hulman faculty members and a tour of the Rose-Hulman Ventures.  During the visit I realized just how much things have changed since my time as a college student back in ‘70s.  (I am referring to much more than guys with long hair, bushy side-burns, moustaches, and very stylish polyester shirts!)  The students now have so many more opportunities.

Investing in the engineers of tomorrow

Recently, Zuken’s Nik Kontic was talking about the importance of investing in the engineers of tomorrow, and that is so true.  I witnessed first-hand some of the results that are possible when you have a dedicated and enthusiastic staff working with a talented and committed student body. We can learn so much from unconstrained minds that when combined with good engineering knowledge, think more freely and challenge more openly.

Professor Zac Chambers

When building teams for various projects at Rose-Hulman, Zac Chambers, PhD, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, talked to me about the importance of having a variety of experience on the team. He enjoys seeing freshmen on the team, explaining that more often than not it was the questions, ideas, and challenges that these young minds bring to the project that often deliver the biggest innovations. This is one thing that we, the established companies with an experienced staff, can definitely learn from.  Just listening to the students speak at different times throughout the day, I found myself tending to think more “out of the box”!

The students at Rose-Hulman don’t get an easy ride

They are pushed to the limits and constantly challenged.  Brandon Hasenour, the student who initiated our partnership and called for E3.series to be used at the school, shared an example of how the students are encouraged to think differently,

Brandon Hasenour, senior mechanical and electrical engineering student at Rose-Hulman

“As you would expect, the sophomore year is by far the most challenging.  We really are taken out of our comfort zone beyond the standard book-learning environment. Instead of being handed equations and problems, we first need to actually develop the equation/problem through situation analysis.”

Since my visit I recently caught up with Zac Chambers, who updated me on Brandon’s progress using E3.series on an FSAE team project,

“By using E3.series in the design of the latest competition formula race car, Brandon and his fellow students have already been able to reduce the weight of the wiring harness by about 20%.

So now the goal is for Brandon to teach the other engineers how to use E3.series across Rose-Hulman’s co-curricular competition teams that form the Advanced Transportation Systems Program.”

I know that by being around the Rose-Hulman faculty and students for just that one day, I personally left with a new energy, a little more education, and a different way of looking at things.  I’m looking forward to working with Rose-Hulman more in the future and seeing what the FSAE team achieves with E3.series over the next year. But even more, I’m excited to see where students like these will take engineering and humanity in the future.


Written by

Mark Geise is Vice President of Operations for Zuken USA. He started at Zuken in September 2000.

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