Tell Your Story – An Inside Look into CinOptic Communication and Media Enterprise

CinOptic Communication and Media is a student team in the Enterprise program that focuses on creating photography, video, and sound in communicative media products for clients. They specialize in filming, editing, lighting, acting, and other aspects of media production. The team uses technology to “tell your story,” as advertised on their website. They focus on clarity and creativity in their projects while allowing student members to grow in their skills. Located in the Humanities Digital Media Zone in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center Building on Michigan Tech’s campus, CinOptic has access to computing equipment, photography devices, editing software, etc., for their work. The team has grown to nine members within the past year, including three team leaders and a faculty advisor, Dr. Erin Smith. Additional information on the team can be found at https://cinoptic.hu.mtu.edu/.

From left to right: Brisson, Humbecke, and Mehki working on their projects in the HDMZ

Team Leader Matthew Brisson opened up on his experience with the enterprise: “CinOptic has been the most important part of my collegiate experience so far. Without the exposure to hands-on equipment usage and real-world clientele, I would not feel comfortable on my current path. Michigan Tech doesn’t have a lot of options for Humanities students, but CinOptic has been the perfect organization for honing the skills I hope to use after graduation.” 

Julianna Humbecke, Team Leader for the biology educational series, describes CinOptic’s project selection process: “Dr. Smith looks over a project proposal, then presents it to the team to make the final decision.” She noted the freedom the team has in terms of who they work with.

One of Humbecke’s current projects is creating a series of educational and promotional videos for Biologist Dr. Erika I. Hersch-Green. She explained, “We accompany her in her greenhouse, lab, or mini-internships to record the processes that are undergone and the research she gathers. We then host interviews with her so she can further explain the procedure, and we can edit an accurate description to accompany the visuals.” Julianna mentioned that the National Science Foundation funded the project to promote Dr. Hersch-Green’s research. It’s meant to follow her progress in research and garner interest in biology and research from high-school students. 

Team Leader Riley Mehki
Team Leader Riley Mehki
Team Leader Matthew Brisson
Team Leader Julianna Humecke
Team Leader Julianna Humecke

Last semester, Humbecke traveled abroad to Germany. Fortunately, another team member could step in to finish up filming and capturing material until she returned. Humbecke described how the organization looks after its members, having members cover one another to help keep projects going. During their bi-weekly meetings, teammates communicate objectives and project progress. 

Team Leader Riley Mehki followed up on Humbecke, stating, “My favorite thing about CinOptic is that everyone has a specific role and knows exactly what to do at the end of each meeting.” One of his major projects was working with Isle Royale National Park to produce a video guide for visitors in the past few years. This included voiceovers recorded by a park ranger with footage from the island. For Mehki, projects like these are “… a great way to learn to work with equipment and real-world clients in a low-stress environment.”

Enterprise Team (as of March 2022)

If you’re interested in learning more about Enterprise at Michigan Tech, you can visit https://www.mtu.edu/enterprise/.

Ready For The World’s Most Challenging Careers – An Inside Look into Blue Marble Security Enterprise

The Blue Marble Security Enterprise (BMSE) is a multidisciplinary student organization focused on securing the future through the thoughtful use of technology. The team combines a rich educational experience in engineering design, project management, and original product development.

Just like any other enterprise, Blue Marble welcomes students from all majors to get involved and join a project team. Four electrical engineering team members and five mechanical engineering team members shared their insights and experiences. Jessica Dimartino explains why they got involved in Blue Marble, “I wanted to be part of an enterprise that had a variety of subjects/disciplines to explore.”

The enterprise currently has seven projects: General Motors Cost Effective Pickpoint, General Motors Digital Twin, Michigan Tech Library High Density Mobile Shelving Unit, Navy AMCP, Navy Submersible Smart Tow Cable, Oshkosh Baja LCTV Suspension Design, and UP Community Energy. These projects require diverse knowledge and skills, from combining mechanical and electrical systems to balancing technical data with various information release procedures. As 2024 grad and electrical engineering major Ian Wyngarden explained, “this is a good enterprise for someone unsure what they like to work with as we have a project for everyone.”

Jared Roebuck, a fall 2022 grad and mechanical engineering major, has spent three semesters on the MTU Library High Density Mobile Shelving Unit project. This project aims to design and implement a safer moving bookshelf system that is easier to maintain and less expensive for the basement level of the MTU Library. “It [the MTU Library project] is cool because the final product will be something I can see in use.” Roebuck joined the enterprise after having Dr. Archer as an instructor and is the project manager, a project engineer, and the enterprise’s VP of Operations.

Also on the Michigan Tech Library High Density Mobile Shelving Unit Project is Mykenzie Brown, an electrical engineering major, and spring 2023 grad. Brown joined the enterprise because they knew an older member and describes Blue Marble as a team that “strives to get projects done and students are willing to work to the best of their ability on projects.” So far, they have enjoyed working with the motor controller and microcontroller in their project.

Quin Bray, an electrical engineering major and 2023 grad is the UP Community Energy project manager. This project aims to create a model that optimizes renewable energy for households based on various factors. “I’ve learned about small scale renewable energy generation,” said Bray. “I find that cool because I think it would be really cool if I could set up my own house at some point to be totally off the grid.”

Fellow UP Community Energy Project teammate and project document chief Joel Wyngarden talked about how they have enjoyed collaborating with their teammates in this project. Wyndgarden is a 2024 electrical engineering major and emphasized that “every student is there [in BMSE] because they want to be and want to learn and produce results. The group strives to have students create new memories and skills.”

Ian Wyngarden, the enterprise’s financial manager, is also on the UP Community Energy Project and shared their inspiring experience with the project’s sponsor, “I have worked with one sponsor who has helped inspire my interest in renewable energy. Our meetings are relatively relaxed and almost just like a conversation with a focus that we can pull from as needed for the project.”

Kyle Wiersma, a spring 2022 grad and mechanical engineering major, is the project manager for the Oshkosh Baja LCTV Suspension Design Project. This project is a research, design, manufacture, testing, and analysis project based around the Oshkosh Defense Light Concept Test Vehicle (LCTV), a prototype for a new Army vehicle. Wiersma got involved in BSME because of this project and finds it to include “beneficial real-world engineering problems you are investigating and solving.”

“Our enterprise is composed of students excited to work on the leading edge of technology in our field,” said Jack Jones, a mechanical engineering major, and 2022 grad. Jones is the document chief of the Oshkosh project and has felt a significant impact from the sponsor regarding their growth as an engineer. “I’m doing real-world testing related to whole body vibration and ride quality, which is relevant in the ME field.”

Mark Sergio, a summer 2022 grad and mechanical engineering major, and Jessica Dimartino, a spring 2023 grad and mechanical engineering major, are also on the Oshkosh project and are both interested in working for Defense companies such as Oshkosh. “It’s great to be working directly with the sponsor,” said Sergio. “It not only gets your foot in the door with companies that I’d consider working for, but it also allows you to do work that actually serves a purpose.” Dimartino describes the Oshkosh project as “the coolest project I have worked on.” They go on to explain why “Having an opportunity to continue work that has been long in the making and understanding new aspects of an industry I’d like to be a part of is amazing.”

“The best part of enterprise is meeting and working with new people you normally wouldn’t have met,” said Bray. “The most challenging is figuring out how to dedicate time each week to getting your assigned tasks done.”

The Blue Marble Security Enterprise has developed a culture that fosters high professional standards, creativity, productivity, and a burning desire to learn. As a result, their graduates are ready for the world’s most challenging careers.


Meet the Advisor:

Glen Archer

In addition to being interim chair and principal lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Glen Archer is also the faculty advisor for Blue Marble. Dr. Archer received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from Texas Tech University, a Masters in Information Systems Management from Webster University, and brings nearly 30 years of experience as a US Air Force Officer to Michigan Tech.

His students describe him as understanding, knowledgeable, and always willing to help because he genuinely cares. Joel Wyngarden shares how Dr. Archer always has the students’ backs to work through challenging situations, whether technical, professional, or interpersonal. Mark Sergio remarks about their appreciation of Archer’s time to Blue Marble, “It’s amazing how much time he is willing/able to give considering how many students he advises.”

Michigan Tech Clean Snowmobile Enterprise Earns Awards for Best Design, Best Value Benefit at the 2022 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge

The 2022 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge was held last month at the World Championship Derby Complex in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The ‘challenge’ for university teams participating in this Collegiate Design Series event is to develop cleaner, quieter, comfortable, and cost-effective snowmobiles. Competition sleds are evaluated on acceleration, handling, endurance, noise, emissions, and yes – cold start capability! In addition, team designs are evaluated on the technical merits and on value-added innovations, marketability, and profitability.

Many students standing in front of the AMS trailer.

This year, Michigan Tech’s Clean Snowmobile Enterprise entered sleds in gasoline (SI) and diesel (CI) categories. Overall, the team placed 8th (out of 12) in SI and 4th (out of 6) in CI. The team also received three awards: Best SI Design, Best SI Value Benefit, and Best CI Value Benefit.

When asked to reflect on this year’s event, Team President Katy Pioch stated:  “Even though our sleds didn’t perform as expected, we persevered and never gave up. This is what real engineering and teamwork is all about, working together to solve problems in unique ways, and I have to say I’m proud of how our team pushed through the difficulties of competition this year with optimism and even excitement.”

Kole Augustine, 2022-23 Electrical Team Leader, added: “Having been a part of two Clean Snowmobile competitions prior, I can say that having been back in-person has really shown what this event is all about. All the innovative ideas and thoughts that have gone into each individual snowmobile is outstanding. No two vehicles are alike which makes for a very interesting and fun competition. It was great to interact with all the other teams, sponsors, and judges to share stories about their season and see what kind comments they could give to us leading into the 2022 competition year. Even though Michigan Tech did not place as well as we hoped, the 2022 SAE Clean Snow event was a fun and great learning experience.”

After a safe return back to Houghton, the team provided a heartfelt thank you to all Advanced Motorsports sponsors for their continued support of hands-on learning through Michigan Tech’s Enterprise Program. And, while their 2022 competition season is officially over, the team has been using the final weeks of the school year to bring back lessons learned and get a head start on 2023. Congratulations Clean Snowmobile Enterprise!

Don’t Lose Your Tenacity: Allysa Meinburg’s P&O Pathway

Allysa participating in a study wearing Free-EMG muscle sensors

Hi! My name is Allysa Meinburg. I am currently a first-year grad student in the Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics at the University of Pittsburgh. Prosthetics and Orthotics is a specialty field in rehabilitation medicine that focuses on creating and delivering devices for those with limb deficiencies. This program applies biomedical engineering concepts but adds pathology and physical human care in a treatment plan. This specialty can be in both immediate post-op and long-term care.

I enrolled at Michigan Tech as a Biomedical Engineering major, and later I switched majors to Biology and graduated with a Human Biology major and minors in Pre-Health Professions and Enterprise. Having a strong engineering and biology background has really set me up to have a well-rounded understanding of my field.

I knew I wanted to be a prosthetics and orthotics practitioner since I learned about the field in high school and have been pursuing avenues to get there ever since. I participated in competitive robotics (FIRST Robotics Competition) and later mentored teams through my time at Mott Community College and at Tech. I enjoyed engineering and technical device design but realized I wanted to focus more on healthcare and human practice. I have worked in many healthcare positions as an ER Physicians Scribe, a Surgery Tech, and an Orthotics Technician. My education at Tech enriched my understanding of human biology, research, and design, but my work taught me patient management and healthcare systems technology.

While at Tech, I had participated in Dr. Ongs’ BME research lab but found my true passion on the AAA Prosthetic Enterprise Team. Over 4 years our team addressed the challenge of affordable accessible prosthetic devices. I used my 8 semesters of Enterprise research and design to publish 2 research posters and presented them at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists national conference. The team I was a part of was made up of mostly engineers, but I found myself focusing on the overall functionality of the product and clinical interactions. With my history of patient care in mind, we designed an ankle prosthesis so it could be easily serviced by the individual with components that are replaceable when they wear out. Having a complete understanding and motivation in product design, I feel like we really created a breakthrough product.

 Allysa with her first upper extremity cast

I loved all that Michigan Tech has to offer- both academic and extracurricular! I conducted research in Dr. Ong’s BME research lab and published a paper with his team. On the Enterprise AAA Prosthetic team, we presented research posters at the American Association of Orthotists and Prosthetists conference twice. In my senior year, I was elected the President of the Enterprise Department and received the Outstanding Leadership Expo award. I was also a part of the medical honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta and served as a member and the President. For extracurriculars, I played Women’s Club Rugby, was a member of CRU, and loved(!) to play broomball. I would highly recommend joining AED, the national health honor society. This honor society offers great mentoring connections, volunteering, and philanthropy opportunities. I would also recommend conducting research in any department. I learned so much about how to design a research project, gather data, and implement changes. These skills are paramount in Evidence-Based Practice.

My biggest piece of advice for any Tech student is don’t lose your #tenacity! At the time, Tech didn’t have any prosthetics programs, so I created my own! Working with the Enterprise department we, myself, and the other team members expanded the AAA team and now it has an ankle and foot, prosthetic research team. Lots of the P&O background research and medical ISO preparation processes I am now learning in grad school- huge advantage! We sought funding by presenting to other foundations and departments. Ultimately, this spearheaded our traveling and publishing research at the AAOP conference. If you want to study something that doesn’t exist, it just doesn’t exist YET! Go and find what you love and stay #tenacious.

This blog is reposted from the Pre-Health Professionals Blog

Enterprise Spotlight: Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise

Consumer Manufacturing Enterprise Team
Consumer Manufacturing Enterprise Team

Consumer Product Manufacturing (CPM) Enterprise, one of 26 Michigan Tech Enterprise Teams, has been busy with several team projects this year. CPM is a multidisciplinary enterprise team that aspires to empower Michigan Tech students with the entrepreneurial, technical, and professional skills to conceive, develop, and market successful products in a company-like setting. In this guest blog, fourth-year chemical engineering major and Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise’s Chief Financial Officer and Co-President Seth Whiting shares more about CPM Enterprise, team projects, and how students and sponsors can get involved.

Seth Whiting
Seth Whiting

I decided to come to Michigan Tech after hearing people in the industry speak about how good of a school Michigan Tech is. I joined Consumer Product Manufacturing (CPM) Enterprise to get hands-on experience working on an industry-relevant project. The biggest highlight for me has been the opportunity to work on multiple different interdisciplinary teams. Working with individuals from different majors lends new perspectives that I wouldn’t have considered before.

About CPM Enterprise

We are one of the original enterprises at MTU and have been around for just over 20 years. CPM has multiple different teams working on multiple different projects, which fall under the broad categories of sustainable services, process improvement, and product creation. The Enterprise is open to all majors. Currently, the majority of our members are chemical engineering majors, however, we do have a number of biomedical engineering majors and mechanical engineering majors as well as a few others.

“One of the big aspects that makes CPM unique is the opportunity to meet and work with real-world industry sponsors.”

Seth Whiting, CPM Enterprise student

For over 20 years CPM has provided students a chance to develop a wide range of technical and professional skills. Whether it be by working with a sponsor to solve a real-world problem or creating an idealized solution to one of the many challenges that society faces, CPM provides opportunities for students to grow their skills and gain hands-on experiences. The goal of CPM is to help students develop entrepreneurial, technical, and professional skills and be able to practice them in an environment that is normally not provided in a typical class.

CPM Enterprise Projects

CPM is working on about 10 different projects at the moment, one of which is our shareable air virus mitigation system. The shareable air project was started as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re attempting to use hydroxyl radicals to eliminate airborne pathogens and mitigate the spread of diseases.

One of CPM’s previous projects worth mentioning is our nanomag project, sponsored by alumnus Dr. Robert Carnahan, and implemented into production by Shaggy’s. The project explored the use of a dampening agent in skis, utilizing a magnesium alloy developed by nanoMAG.

While I haven’t had a chance to work on this project myself, I would still have to say that I am most proud of CPM’s biogas project. The biogas progress is an attempt to convert food waste into methane that can then be used by MTU. The project has been running for a while now and has seen the creation of an anaerobic digester pilot plant on its path to completion.

CPM is a great way for students to gain experience working on projects, as well as a great resume builder. Anyone interested in learning more about CPM is free to contact me or visit the CPM website. To join, you can contact our advisor, Dr. Tony Rogers.

Get Involved With CPM Enterprise

CPM Enterprise is always looking for industry partners to sponsor a project for the student teams. This process is very straightforward and comes with excellent benefits like engaging students well in advance of graduation, finding new and unique solutions, and growing your organization’s presence at Michigan Tech. To learn more about participating, contact Chris Morgan cjmorgan@mtu.edu or visit mtu.edu/enterprise/giving/.

About the Enterprise Program

The Enterprise Program is a unique project-based curriculum and is available to students from any major. Students work in multidisciplinary teams on real projects, with real clients, in an environment that’s more like a business than a classroom. With coaching and guidance from faculty mentors, the Enterprise teams work to invent products, provide services, and pioneer solutions. 

Through Enterprise, students have the opportunity to build up their existing skills, and also add some new ones to their repertoires. Enterprise encourages:

  • effective time management
  • leadership, project management, and team-working skills
  • problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • adaptability
  • global awareness
  • business savvy
  • competence in written and oral communication
  • networking with industry leaders

Teams collaborate with industry sponsors, communities, and government organizations, and work closely with a faculty advisor. Students could work with organizations like 3M, General Motors, Kimberly-Clark, and the Department of Energy, among many others. Take a look at the Enterprise team listing to learn about existing teams. If you have questions about the Enterprise Program, please contact enterprise@mtu.edu.

Enterprise Projects are Shaping Tomorrow’s World

By Chris Morgan, Assistant Director of Educational Partnerships

Two hands, each with a puzzle piece coming together
Top view of male and female hands joining two matching puzzle pieces together in a conceptual image. Over yellow background.

A special thank you to the supporters of the Michigan Tech Enterprise Program! This year Enterprise and Senior Design Teams are tackling inspiring and engaging projects and are solving problems more important than ever before.

Students enrolled in Enterprise right now are solving leading-edge technology problems, including energy-saving appliances, automotive autonomy and electrification, intelligent grid systems, medical devices, heavy machinery, department of defense, and even emerging bicycle technology. Students even have an opportunity to get involved in our community with projects that support local non-profits like Little Brother’s, Friends of the Elderly.

Our Consumer Products Manufacturing Enterprise (CPM) is once again working to create practical prototypes of the “Shared Air” system that can help mitigate and eliminate bacteria and viruses in buildings and enclosed spaces. Long-time Enterprise supporter General Motors are now sponsoring the project.

The ITOxygen Enterprise team is diving headfirst into Machine Learning and AI technology with two relevant projects studying and analyzing big data sets of video and imaging for medical and civil engineering customers. Fascinating implementation of new skillsets from the team and new hardware and servers are being put to good use!

Enterprise teams need your support in developing projects and financial support for students to gain educational exposure to real-world engineering, design, business, and problem-solving. As you may know, the Enterprise Program relies on external partnerships to make real-world project curriculum a reality. If you are interested in supporting Michigan Tech students’ education through real-world, hands-on projects, please contact me – Chris Morgan – cjmorgan@mtu.edu. There are many ways to support the teams, including general donation, project sponsorships, Advanced Motorsports Team Support, and Gift in Kind Donation. For more information, please see the Enterprise Sponsorship Website. (Link: https://www.mtu.edu/enterprise/giving/)

If you are already participating as a partner with the Michigan Tech Enterprise Program, thank you! Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any experience highlights, questions, or concerns.

Welcome from the Enterprise Program Office

By Rick Berkey, Professor of Practice and Director, The Enterprise Program

Welcome to the Fall 2021 issue of the Enterprise Program Newsletter. And welcome to early November in Houghton — as you can see in this photo, Mt. Ripley may get a head start on the ski season if this keeps up!

With our Fall 2021 semester well underway, we have plenty of great news and highlights to share in this issue. Despite the global pandemic, external sponsorship and project support remains strong. Similarly, Spring 2021 Enterprise enrollment was the highest since 2008, with combined team and module course enrollments of 901 students! While external support and enrollment metrics only tell part of the story, both are signals of the value of Enterprise — for students, program partners, and employers of Enterprise graduates. Looking further at enrollment, we see growth across campus, consistent with our efforts to expand and provide experiential learning opportunities. Fun fact: while engineering majors represent ~75% of Enterprise enrollment, students from 24 unique majors outside of engineering now participate in Enterprise. Teams like HotforestCinOptic, and the newly launched H-STEM Enterprise (featured in this issue) are helping fuel this growth. And, what’s even more encouraging is that our enterprises are becoming more interdisciplinary: the “average” enterprise enrolls 36 students from six unique majors!

Along with many new student faces, we have seven new faculty serving as advisors or co-advisors. Please join me in welcoming Nick Hendrickson (MMET), David Labyak (MMET), Tim Havens (CS), Joe Azzarello (Chem Eng), Robert Handler (Chem Eng), Steven Elmer (KIP), and Shane Oberloier (ECE) to our Enterprise community. As usual, we also have several team highlights to share since our summer newsletter, so without further delay, please read on and enjoy! 

— Go Huskies!

Aramco Americas Grant Boosts Advanced Motorsports Enterprise

Aramco Americas, a multiple-year partner of Michigan Technological University, has awarded the Enterprise Program a $40,000 grant to support STEM education at MTU.

The funds, which demonstrate Aramco America’s ongoing commitment to the Enterprise program, will specifically promote STEM education in the areas of advanced mobility technology, vehicle performance, and reducing emissions. The grant will directly support Advanced Motorsports (AMS) Enterprise Team projects this year, including Formula SAE, Blizzard Baja, Clean Snowmobile, and Supermileage Systems Enterprise.

“This is an outstanding program and one that Aramco Americas has had the pleasure of supporting as part of our commitment to STEM education and advancing transportation technologies,” said David Cleary.  Cleary is responsible for Aramco Research Center in SE Michigan/Detroit area focused on engines and fuels technology.  

Tech’s one-of-a-kind Enterprise program focuses on student-driven multidisciplinary teams that work like companies on real-world client projects. Whether the deliverable is an innovative product, a pioneering solution, or a much-needed service, the hallmark of Enterprise program is experiential training that equips students with the skills they need to succeed. 

“We’re extremely excited and grateful for this contribution” said Chris Morgan, assistant director for educational partnerships. “The Michigan Tech Advanced Motorsports teams in these collegiate competitions are performing at the top levels across the nation. This  gift will help them continue to push the limits of what these competitions are all about.”

This support positions Aramco Americas as a Creating the Future AMS Sponsor.  Each AMS team is an interdisciplinary student team whose goal is to develop a complete vehicle—from concept, through prototyping and testing and on to final build and ‘delivery’ at their respective competitions. While each team operates as a separate Enterprise entity, the AMS umbrella enables our teams to leverage the diverse talent, economies of scale, and synergistic opportunities afforded the group as a whole. The hands-on learning environment allows AMS members to develop critical business, engineering, communication, and leadership skills for a successful transition into the workforce.

For more information on the Enterprise Program, or Aramco America’s partnership with Michigan Tech, please contact enterprise@mtu.edu.

Steel Warehouse

Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest flat-rolled steel company and the largest iron ore pellet producer in North America. The company is vertically integrated from mining through iron making, steelmaking, rolling, finishing and downstream with hot and cold stamping of steel parts and components.

Cleveland-Cliffs has an extensive history of being an innovator dating back more than a century. We want to support innovative teams at Michigan Tech by supplying steel for your Enterprise project. 

This program is managed by the Enterprise Program Office.

  •  Any enterprise or senior project team may request steel (and only steel) for their project.
  • To enable support of many teams across campus, requests are limited to $500. Requests greater than $500 may be considered for approval, depending upon availability of funds and total number of requests received. For more information, please contact steelwarehouse@mtu.edu.

**NOTE: The approval and ordering processes have changed.**

Find team instructions here. A list of preferred steel vendors is provided here.

Q&A with Formula SAE

Michigan Tech’s Formula SAE Enterprise builds a competition vehicle based on the concept of an affordable race car geared toward the weekend autocrosser. The team competes in SAE Collegiate Design Series Formula SAE events held in various locations across the country. For competition, the team prepares a written design report, a cost analysis and a business case to present to a panel of judges. After passing a technical inspection, the vehicle competes in a series of dynamic events, including acceleration, skid pad, autocross, endurance, and efficiency.

Michigan Tech Formula SAE has a long history of top-performing cars and has gained a reputation for developing cutting-edge designs that help shape the future of racing. Recently I had a chance to catch up with two members of the Formula SAE Enterprise for a Q&A session to learn more about the team’s plans and efforts: Max Urquhart, Formula SAE President and Electrical Engineering student, and Nathan Sodini, an Engineering Management student who serves as Formula SAE’s Business Manager.

Q&A with Max Urquhart, Electrical Engineer (Left), President, and Nathan Sodini, Engineering Management (Right), Business Manager.

What is the focus of the Formula SAE?

The focus of Formula SAE is to continuously improve our cars, our members, and the enterprise program. We provide an environment that enables our members to grow into industry professionals.

What were some of Formula SAE’s goals for this academic year?

FSAE’s top goal for this year was to place in the top 30 overall in the SAE International Formula SAE competition. We also had many advanced projects that occurred this year, the largest being the electrification of our 2019 competition car the F-276, now becoming the e-276. This is the first electric formula SAE car Michigan Tech FSAE has produced. 

What are some of the projects FSAE worked on this year, or are planing to work on in the future?

We have a multitude of projects that were implemented this year! Our projects included electronic limited slip differential, active four-wheel steering, an active drag reduction system (DRS), and the construction and testing of the e-276, the team’s first electric formula SAE car. 

What competitions has FSAE participated in this year?

In April, FSAE participated in the Business Presentation which is the first step of the Formula SAE series competition. The Business Presentation is where teams are given a prompt to create a strategy to lead their companies (race teams). The Business Presentation encompasses engineering strategy, finances, accounting, forecasting, marketing, and management. Students then present to a panel of judges, pitching their projections using a slide show and supporting documents. 

What does this competition involve? What does your team have to do in order to compete?

Competition involves Static and Dynamic Events. The Business Presentation falls into the Static category. Statics Events include the Business Presentation, Technical Inspection, Design Review, and the Knowledge Event. Dynamic Events include, Acceleration, Endurance, Brake Testing, and Skid Pad, and Sound. 

The team placed 20th in the Business Presentation – what happens next?

Our team was very excited to place in the top 20 this year! We reviewed the feedback provided to us by the judges, and will use that to propel next year’s presentation. Next the Business Team has the Real Case Cost Scenario. The team will need to respond with a strategy that allows for the IPO of the team to raise capital to increase production of FSAE cars. 

In May, we participated in the Formula Knowledge Event and placed 21st out of 132 teams. The Business Presentation was just the first step to move forward in the Knowledge Event. The Knowledge Event includes a design paper, cost report, oral design and cost presentation, and educational online workshops. Find more information on the FSAE competition series here, as well as team results here.

What’s the general feeling among members as you conclude this academic year?

Team members were excited that we were able to build the car in person and that we’ve been able to accomplish our goals for the year. We are a very young team with 50% being brand new members, that excitement and passion is great fuel for our team! 

What can the Michigan Tech community do to support or cheer you on for future competitions?

The Michigan Tech community can continue their support by following us on social media! Instagram @mtuformula Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mtuformula and our website https://formulasae.mtu.edu/. Learn more about Enterprise and Advanced Motorsports Enterprise