Switching Gears: Reflections on the Fall Workshop from Student Turned Organizer

nicole_picture-1A look back on my first Fall Workshop as an organizer…

As a student in the EcoCAR competition, you never realize how much work goes into these workshops. All you really think about is when breakfast/lunch will be served, when the buses will come pick you up and what training course or session track to pick from.

After my first fall workshop as an organizer, I am awed by the amount of work it takes for these events to run smoothly. It really does take a village for these competition events to work effectively. Collaboration from so many sponsors like GM, DOE, the Government of Canada, A123Systems, The Math Works, dSPACE, NI, Woodward, EPA, Freescale and so many others make it possible for this program to become the success it always has been. It is really a great experience to be behind the scenes and help make the program a triumph.

The training was top-notch this year, with a stellar line-up of software training from The MathWorks, hands-on HIL training from dSPACE and National Instruments, Motohawk training from Woodward and a firsthand look at the A123Systems battery components and an opportunity to tour their battery manufacturing facilities in Hopkinton. Of course, the organizers also managed to squeeze two days of technical sessions into one very full day at the Museum of Science covering sessions ranging from Year 2 Rules and Deliverables to Two Mode transmissions and Fuel Cell Systems.

But the workshop wasn’t just a lot of work – we also had some serious fun! The MathWorks treated us to F1 racing, which got those competitive juices flowing and made everyone even more excited for year 2. Dinner at Cheers in downtown Boston, courtesy of The MathWorks,was also fun, but an impromptu karaoke night at Hong Kong near Quincy Market was the major highlight! Hearing organizers, sponsors and teams singing “We Are Family” and “Piano Man” arm-in-arm really underscored that everyone is unified in the mission of EcoCAR.

This is the year where Outreach is really coming into its own – thanks to the GRA funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program! The Outreach Coordinator’s are really excited about the program and tweeting and Facebooking like crazy already. Some OC’s are already holding PR and K-12 events back home. It’s great to see them so excited.

I am really proud to be on the ANL team, and I really feel like I’m making a major contribution and will help make EcoCAR the best competition yet. Looking ahead to the winter workshop in Daytona Beach, I’m very excited to bring everyone to my hometown where we will put on another great show! See you all in Florida!

Post written by Nicole Lambiase, Engineering Coordinator, Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions, Argonne National Laboratory

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