When Purdue was accepted as one of the teams competing in the EcoCAR 2 competition, team members knew they were agreeing to a lot of late nights, meeting new people, making great friends and traveling to new places, but they never thought finding a future spouse would be part of the deal.
This was the actual case for two members of Purdue’s EcoCAR 2 team, Christopher Rhoades, Front Drivetrain lead and Haley Moore, Project Manager, who met at the beginning of Purdue’s first year in the competition. Chris had just started his graduate career at Purdue and was new to the university and the state of Indiana. Haley was finishing up her undergraduate degree and starting to work on her master’s degree; she had been part of the team that wrote the proposal and was currently busy getting the newly formed team rolling.
Unlike some relationships, Chris and Haley’s was not love at first sight. Before the two even met, Haley canceled a meeting she had scheduled with Chris to go over his responsibilities on the team, causing frustration between them at first. A few weeks later the Purdue team set off on the six hour drive to Pontiac, Michigan for the Year One Fall Workshop. During the drive and the workshop, Chris and Haley discovered that they had a lot in common and really enjoyed spending time together. Between their discussions on engine selection and component packaging, they established a strong friendship.
In just a few short weeks, these two mechanical (and very stubborn) engineers were dating. Chris and Haley aren’t the typical couple. Just ask their families. Everywhere they go, EcoCAR 2 is mentioned many times and at least one argument occurs. One specific example occurred Labor Day weekend when they got into an argument about how the car should be disassembled and who would be in charge. Chris ended up winning that argument. You will often find Chris and Haley in the same lab, usually wearing their matching EcoCAR 2 shirts. The matching shirts have even been worn by the two in vacation pictures!
In certain situations, really great ideas and solutions have come from knowing each other so well. Chris typically gets frustrated very quickly, but Haley’s been able to get him to re-focus and get work done. They have a saying, “just shut up and do it,” that works like a charm! When the team was removing the stock engine from their Chevy Malibu, one of the bolts that secured the front cradle got bent for unknown reasons. After Chris spent hours trying to remove the bolt, Haley stepped in with a hammer and chisel (and then later on a drill) and got the bolt out. A short time later (and after a few trips to the hardware and auto parts stores), the engine was out and the crisis has been averted. Haley tends to be a major perfectionist, but Chris knows how to pull her away from the situation and get her to relax and re-focus when no one else can. This being EcoCAR 2, examples of this kind are too numerous to count!
And here is the sappy part. All EcoCAR 2 participants can talk about the experiences and opportunities of the competition, but Chris and Haley have EcoCAR 2 to thank for their approaching wedding! So this Valentine’s Day, the happily engaged couple wants to thank the EcoCAR 2 organizers and sponsors for putting on the competition that led them to each other.
Happy EcoLove Day from Chris, Haley, and the rest of the Purdue team!