Where Are They Now Wednesdays: Ohio State’s Larry Slone

When FutureTruck alumnus Larry Slone entered the working world, he felt right at home with his new employer. As the FutureTruck Mechanical Engineering Team Leader in 2003 and Team Leader in 2004 for The Ohio State University, Slone found himself tasked with a somewhat familiar project as he began a job at Caterpillar, Inc.

“My initial assignment was to lead the design, development, and testing of two prototype hybrid on-highway trucks,” he said. “It felt a bit like FutureTruck all over again, merely applied to bigger trucks.”

Larry continued in research roles at Caterpillar for seven years, working with hybrid and advanced powertrain technologies. He is now the team leader for the joint development effort between Caterpillar and BAE Systems, working on parallel hybrid systems aimed at heavy and medium duty on-highway trucks.

FutureTruck was more than a competition for Larry – it led him to a fulfilling second career.

“I returned to graduate school after four years as an engineer in the consumer products industry,” he said. “My undergraduate degree was in chemical engineering. I sought a hands-on opportunity to study and apply fuel saving technologies for vehicles. I targeted universities participating in FutureTruck for my graduate school applications.”

Larry’s proudest moment in FutureTruck was his role in bringing the Buckeyes into the top five in 2004. “It felt like the reward not only for our efforts, but for many others who had preceded me in the OSU program,” he said. “Many previous participants were still around at OSU in different capacities, so I had personal relationships with them and had heard many stories. Hopefully they all felt as though they contributed to our success in 2004. To this day, I still see that as a bit of turning point for the OSU team.”

Slone (driver seat) and the 2003 OSU FutureTruck Team

Larry recently served as a judge for the mechanical event of the 2012 EcoCAR Year One Competition. “Through judging and my other interactions with the students and organizers, I came away genuinely amazed at the accomplishments of the teams and the standard of competition achieved these days,” he said. “The skills, knowledge, and execution demonstrated by the teams eight years after my departure as a student blow me away.”

Larry and his wife, fellow Ohio State FutureTruck alumni Mary (Gilstrap) Slone, have two sons: a three-year-old and a newborn, “who seem destined to be car nerds based on their genes.” During the summer months, they enjoy autocross and attending track days.