Another CU-Boulder grad and now Technical Lead, Fleets and Mining, Greg Paluska, found, “the team dynamic and the pressure of the project were very unique to the Eco-marathon. We had to raise our own money, schedule enough time and budget knowing there were deadlines we had to make and be ready to drive our vehicle to California.”
Matthew Sponiar, now Operations Engineer at Groundbirch and founding member of the Shell Eco-marathon team at the University of Alberta in 2012-2014, also benefited from being a part of his team. “Exposure in the Shell Eco-marathon put me in the forefront of employers and gave me the opportunity to take the design practice out of the classroom and do the implementation. It added a richer experience.”
Paul Lee, a Drilling Engineer-in-Training in Canada, also founded a team at the University of Waterloo in 2014 and saw his Shell Eco-marathon participation as “a great way to get involved in possibly one of the greatest challenges and opportunities for the next century forward: shifting the energy systems in a systematic fashion.”
And, Dudon Wai, founding member of the University of Waterloo team in 2014, and now a Drilling Engineer-in-Training, found the experience unlike other school projects. At Shell Eco-marathon “we had to start with an idea and turn it into something to drive on the road. There were a lot of stages to go through to get from start to finish. It was an invaluable opportunity.”
Shell Eco-marathon Leaves Lasting Lessons
Nancy Peng not only drove for her team at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver but also worked on its aerodynamics throughout 2012 and 2013. Her lessons on teamwork are ones she brings with her to work every day. “A part of the project was about working with a diverse amount of people with different backgrounds.
The student team on campus wasn’t just limited to engineers. We worked with students of all different levels. A huge part of working at Shell is based on diversity and how we work together on a team. It really helped prepare me to be an employee here.”
One lesson that stuck out for Noah Joost, now a Facilities Engineer on the Permian Surveillance and Technical Team, rings true for many of the participants: just because you don’t win, doesn’t mean you lose, either.
In 2014, the University of Houston debuted their first team ever. The team spent countless hours building the vehicle from scratch and since they were in the battery-electric category, they had to build the vehicle’s motor controller, too. At the competition, they passed technical and safety inspections (big feats within themselves) and were ready to take to the streets to compete until a night of tinkering rendered their vehicle useless.
“Overnight, some of the team had been testing and tweaking the vehicle and caused the circuit board to burn up. We had to frantically work through one of the competition days to get it right and we couldn’t do it fast enough. Despite that let down, we knew we had already accomplished our goal – to bring a finished vehicle to Shell Eco-marathon.”
Right when the University of Houston team walked through the door with their battery-electric vehicle at the beginning of the competition, they had already accomplished what they had set out to achieve and brought home a winning attitude, too.