Student Perspective: A Rewarding Experience leads to New and Exciting Opportunities

By Embry Riddle’s Stephen Renick

My name is Stephen Renick and I am a senior in the Mechanical Engineering program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I started working on the EcoEagles Mechanical Team as part of my preliminary design class. At first I was overwhelmed with the scope of the project and the long list of tasks that needed to be accomplished by competition time in June.

Stephen Renick at the White House during Year Three Finals

In my first semester on the EcoCAR team I played an important role in helping the team troubleshoot diesel engine problems and assisted in the first replacement of the two-mode transmission.  I was able to design and build many brackets for the intercooler and circuit boards. In addition, I helped in the preliminary design of aerodynamic modifications.

In my second semester on the team I took the position of mechanical lead of the EcoEagles.  I continued to assist with diesel testing and dynamic testing for controls improvement; however, I also worked on completing the safety checklist to pass technical inspection at this year’s spring workshop. Because of my significant contribution to the team’s progress, I was able to attend the spring workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At this workshop I attended technical presentations, emissions testing at the EPA and a sponsor banquet.  In fact, this incredible workshop eventually lead to General Motors offering me a job. Our team was proud to finish Year Three with multiple awards, and we are excited to be a part of EcoCAR 2.

The EcoCAR 2 Vehicle: a Chevy Malibu

The EcoCAR competition has allowed me to understand many things about the automotive industry, including the amount of design work, the complexity of the testing, and the difficulty of refining that goes into producing a production vehicle.  I have made many strong bonds with fellow teammates that are sure to continue through our professional lives.  The EcoCAR competition has given me direction and provided me with a jumpstart to my professional career in the automotive industry.  It is fair to say that EcoCAR has profoundly affected my future in this industry.