A multi-year goal for the Arkansas Tech University Department of Mechanical Engineering to enter a vehicle in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas challenge came to fruition April 27-30 when a delegation of ATU students traveled to Detroit, Mich., for the 2017 competition.
Senior Justin Jeffery of Russellville served as project manager for the construction of a gasoline prototype vehicle named “The Wonder Car.”
He was joined on the team by fellow ATU students Corey Edwards of Russellville, Marcus Majied of Detroit, Mich., Evan Owens of Decatur, Korine Randall of Maumelle, Ashley Randt of Lamar, Nate Robertson of Paris, Zach Thompson of Hamburg and Chris Williams of Russellville.
“The way we were able to come together as a team, especially during competition, was pretty cool,” said Jeffery. “It’s hard to be able to delegate and plan. It’s a whole different kind of ballgame as opposed to just being able to go to class and do your homework. Deciding what needed to be done next, being able to voice that in an appropriate way to the team and have everyone be involved in the way that would be most beneficial…I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to gain that experience.
“I think there were quite a few lessons that were learned, not only in engineering but in other areas as well,” continued Jeffery. “When you graduate, it’s not all going to be engineering. You’re going to have to have other skills.”
One of the many skills needed to complete the car was a specialization in welding aluminum. Majied brought that to the team along with his hometown knowledge of Detroit.
“It was great to see everyone’s faces light up when they saw downtown Detroit for the first time,” said Majied. “It’s great to be a part of this group. I love to work with people who are willing to learn. We’re all leaders, and we’re all learning from each other.”
Dr. Bruce Chehroudi, professor of mechanical engineering and head of the ATU Department of Mechanical Engineering, mentored the team and accompanied the members attending the competition in Detroit.
Completing a car for the Shell Eco-marathon Americas was the culmination of an effort by students and faculty in the ATU Department of Mechanical Engineering dating back to 2014.
“Our job was to take all the systems that had already been designed, put them all together, retrofit them so it all worked together and take it to Detroit,” said Williams. “We worked together really well when it came to crunch time. Being able to talk to the other teams that were there and sharing components…that also made it a really good experience.”
Photographed, from left-to-right: Marcus Majied, Chris Williams, Zach Thompson, Ashley Randt, Justin Jeffery, Korine Randall, Evan Owens, Nate Robertson and Dr. Bruce Chehroudi.