Advanced Motorsport Teams Succeed Across Multiple SAE International Competitions

Michigan Tech’s Enterprise vehicle competition teams, Blizzard Baja, Clean Snowmobile Challenge, Formula SAE, and Supermileage Systems, each competed in their respective annual SAE International competitions. The results are as follows:

Blizzard Baja took 18th overall out of 83 teams, and 15th out of 58 teams in the endurance event of the Baja SAE Baja Louisville – Validation Event. In Baja SAE, students are tasked with designing and building a single-seat, all-terrain sporting vehicle that is to be a prototype for a reliable, maintainable, ergonomic, and economic production vehicle that serves a recreational user market. For more information check out the results of the Baja SAE competition.

Competition held: May 20-23, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky

Clean Snowmobile Challenge took 1st place overall, in both the Spark-Ignited Category and Compression Ignited Category. In the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge students are tasked with building and enhancing their engineering design and project management skills by re-engineering an existing snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise. For more information, check out the results of the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge competition.

Competition held: Virtually

Formula SAE took 21st out of 132 teams in the Formula SAE Knowledge Event – Combustion. The Formula SAE series competitions challenge student teams to conceive, design, fabricate, develop, and compete with small, formula-style vehicles. The competitions give teams the chance to demonstrate and prove both their creativity and engineering skills in comparison to teams from other universities around the world. For more information, about Formula SAE experience this year, check out this Q&A with members from the team, dive deeper into the results of the Formula SAE competition.

Competition held: Virtually

Finally, Supermileage Systems Enterprise took 2nd place overall, for a second year running in the SAE Supermileage competition. The engineering design goal of SAE Supermileage is to develop and construct a single-person, fuel-efficient vehicle that complies with the competition rules and is able to obtain the highest combined km/L (mpg) rating while running a specific course. To learn more of Supermileage System’s experience at competition this year, check out this extended article, or visit the SAE Supermileage competition results page.

Competition held: Virtually


Welcome from the Enterprise Program Office

Welcome to our Summer 2021 issue of the Enterprise Program Newsletter. We hope this newsletter finds everyone in good health, wherever you may be. With the 2021-22 academic year now complete, we are finally enjoying some great summer weather here in the Keweenaw. And of course, along with the great weather comes the start of our local construction season – but such is life!  

Students sitting near Husky Statue

As you read through this issue, I hope you share our sense of pride as we highlight just a few of the numerous successes and accomplishments of our Enterprise teams this year. As I’ve said before, I often find inspiration in our students, and this year was certainly no exception. When faced with an extremely challenging learning environment, brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic, students in Enterprise did what Huskies do best: they rolled up their sleeves, supported one another, got creative, and made the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Whether it be performing a lab upgrade, participating in a fully-virtual Design Expo, competing in one of the many collegiate design competitions, or developing solutions to industry-sponsored projects, students in Enterprise continued to ‘discover, develop, and deliver’, just as they have for more than 20 years. Finally, if you have a project idea or want to get more involved with Enterprise, please reach out to discuss your ideas and interests. And, our front door is always open, if you’re ever in the Houghton area and wish to visit. Until then, enjoy this issue and have a great summer — Go Huskies!


A Message from the Dean

Canal view of backside of Michigan Tech’s campus.

By Dr. Adrienne Minerick, Pavlis Honors College, Interim Dean

Spring has now sprung in the Keweenaw after some significant temperature swings and frosts later into May.  Our Enterprise staff and teams weathered a challenging year with grace and unparalleled dedication to achieving project milestones through virtual and safely orchestrated hands-on sessions.  It was with utmost pride that Enterprise staff, faculty advisors and I observed the creativity and rigor from our students culminating in an outstanding virtual Design Expo.  A heartfelt thank you to our industry partners who continued to sponsor projects during a year of economic uncertainty.  We are ever grateful for these long-standing relationships that play a huge role in broadening the multi-disciplinary technical and power skills of our students while delivering designs, solutions, and prototypes to our partners.  

Quality things stand the test of time and Enterprise is a perfect example of this.  This summer, the Pavlis Honors College is moving organizationally within Michigan Tech; this move presents an opportunity to reflect upon the Enterprise program and look for ways to further strengthen the learning experiences and grow the breadth of opportunities for all Michigan Tech students.  The Enterprise program has adapted to changes many times over, growing from a small pilot project in engineering and expanding over the last 21 years into all 5 colleges with 22 teams. As we continue to ideate and envision the future of Enterprise, we welcome input and engagement from all Enterprise alums, partners, faculty advisors, and current students.  

Two students from General and Expedition Adventure Research (GEAR)

In closing, this is an exciting time for Enterprise where investments in high impact learning will enable us to meet the changing needs of society. As our world grapples with unprecedented medical, environmental, and technological challenges, graduates from Enterprise are prepared to adapt and lead innovations right from the start of their first job. We hope you enjoy the stories of successes and failures – all valuable learning experiences – within this newsletter. 


Award Results for Design Expo 2021

As we’ve come to expect, the judging for Design Expo 2021 was very close, but the official results are in. More than 1,000 students in Enterprise and Senior Design showcased their hard work on April 15 at Michigan Tech’s second-ever, fully virtual Design Expo.

Teams competed for cash awards totaling nearly $4,000. Judges for the event included corporate representatives, community members and Michigan Tech staff and faculty. The Pavlis Honors College and the College of Engineering announced the award winners below on April 15, just after the competition. Congratulations and a huge thanks to all the teams for a very successful Design Expo 2021.

Last but not least, to the distinguished judges who gave their time and talents to help make Design Expo a success, and to the faculty advisors who generously and richly support Enterprise and Senior Design—thank you for your phenomenal dedication to our students.

Please check out the Design Expo booklet and all the team videos.

ENTERPRISE AWARDS

(Based on video submissions)

  • First Place—Husky Game Development (Team 115); Led by: Gabe Oetjens, Computer Science; Keira Houston, Civil Engineering; Advisor Scott Kuhl, (CC); Sponsored by: Michigan Technological University Pavlis Honors College’s Enterprise Program
  • Second Place—Aerospace Enterprise (Team 106); Led by: Nolan Pickett, Mechanical Engineering; Matthew Sietsema, Electrical Engineering; Advisor L. Brad King, (ME-EM); Sponsored by: Auris: Air Force Research Laboratory, Stratus: NASA
  • Third Place—Innovative Global Solutions (Team 116); Led by: Lynnsey Hooker and Kat Miller, Biomedical Engineering; Advisors Radheshyam Tewari (ME-EM) and Nathan Manser (GMES); Sponsored by: Tree Frog Aquagric LLC, Ford Fund–Collegiate Community Challenge, General Motors, Cleveland Cliffs
  • Honorable Mention—Consumer Product Manufacturing (Team 111); Led by: Samantha Appleyard, Engineering Management; Jacob Michaud, Chemical Engineering; Advisor Tony Rogers (ChE); Sponsored by: Sussex IM, Libbey, Mel and Gloria Visser, Kimberly Clark, General Motors, Doll n’ Burgers

SENIOR DESIGN AWARDS

(Based on video submissions)

  • First Place —Advanced PPE Filtration System (Team 240); Team Members: Matthew Johnson, Electrical Engineering; Bryce Hudson, Mary Repp, Carter Slunick, Mike Stinchcomb, Braeden Anex, Brandon Howard, Josh Albrecht, and Hannah Bekkala, Mechanical Engineering; Advised by: Jaclyn Johnson and Aneet Narendranath, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Sponsored by: Stryker
  • Second Place—ITC Cell Signal Measurement Tool (Team 204); Team Members: Reed VandenBerg and Andrew Bratton, Electrical Engineering; Noah Guyette and Ben Kacynski, Computer Engineering; Advised by: John Lukowski, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Sponsored by: ITC Holdings Corp.
  • Third Place—Development of a Beta Brass Alloy for Co-Extrusion (Team 234); Team Members: Anna Isaacson, Sidney Feige, Lauren Bowling, and Maria Rochow, Materials Science and Engineering; Advised by: Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering; Sponsored by: College of Engineering
  • Honorable Mention—EPS Ball Nut Degrees of Freedom Optimization (Team 236); Team Members: Brad Halonen, Rocket Hefferan, Luke Pietila, Peadar Richards, and David Rozinka, Mechanical Engineering; Advised by: James DeClerck, Mechanical Engineering- Engineering Mechanics; Sponsored by: Nexteer
  • Honorable Mention—Electric Tongue Jack Redesign (Team 230); Team Members: Jack Redesign and Brandon Tolsma, Mechanical Engineering; Collin Jandreski, Christian Fallon, Warren Falicki, and Andrew Keskimaki, Electrical Engineering; Advised by: Trever Hassell, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Sponsored by: Stromberg Carlson
  • Honorable Mention—Bone Access and Bone Analog Characterization (Team 212); Team Members: Sarah Hirsch, Mechanical Engineering; Elisabeth Miller and Christiana Strong, Biomedical Engineering; Morgan Duley, Electrical Engineering; Katelyn Ramthun, Biomedical Engineering; Advised by: Hyeun Joong Yoon and Orhan Soykan, Biomedical Engineering; Sponsored by: Stryker Interventional Spine Team
  • Honorable Mention—Blubber Only Implantable Satellite Tag Anchoring System (Team 221) Team Members: Quinn Murphy, Lidia Johnson, Joshua Robles, Katy Beesley, and Kyle Pike, Biomedical Engineering Advised by: Bruce Lee, Biomedical Engineering; Sponsored by: NOAA

DESIGN EXPO IMAGE CONTEST

(Based on image submitted by the team)

  • First Place—Blizzard Baja (Team 101): “Our current vehicle, Hornet, after a race.” Credit: Blizzard Baja team member
  • Second Place—WAAM Die Components (Team 237): “MIG welding robot printing a steel part.” Credit: Mike Groeneveld
  • Third Place—Aerospace Enterprise (Team 106): “Team photo, pre-Covid.” Credit: Aerospace Enterprise team member

DESIGN EXPO INNOVATION AWARDS

(Based on application)

  • First Place—Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise, Shareable Air project (Team 101) Advised by: Tony Rogers, (ChE)
  • Second Place—ITC Cell Signal Measurement Tool (Team 204) Advised by: John Lukowski (ECE) 
  • Third Place—Hospital Washer Autosampler Implementation (Team 218) Advised by: Sang Yoon Han and Houda Hatoum (BioMed)

DESIGN EXPO PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

(Based on receiving most text-in voting during Design Expo)

ENTERPRISE STUDENT AWARDS

  • Rookie Award—Jack Block, CFO – Supermileage Systems Enterprise
  • Innovative Solutions—Cody Rorick, Alternative Energy Enterprise
  • Outstanding Enterprise Leadership—Andy Lambert, CEO – Supermileage Systems Enterprise and Daniel Prada, Spark Ignition (SI)
  • Team Lead—Clean Snowmobile Enterprise

ENTERPRISE FACULTY/STAFF AWARDS

  • Behind the Scenes Award—Kelly Steelman, Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Dept. of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, nominated by Built World Enterprise.


Ford grant to support U.P. health resources hub

Michigan Technological University is one of seven universities to receive a $25,000 grant from this year’s Ford Fund College Community Challenge.
Michigan Tech Enterprise students, along with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, will create a publicly available, online health resources hub that can connect individuals, health care practitioners, caregivers and social service organizations to community resources to improve health and wellbeing in the region.

This project serves an unmet need for the five county region served by WUPHD, an exclusively rural population of approximately 67,700. The hub will also include community resources that support social determinants of health, helping our more vulnerable populations find services to address factors that adversely affect health, such as non-emergent medical transportation services or domestic violence services. Given the remote, rural population this project serves, the mobile platform will increase the reach of the hub for those with limited access to high-speed internet or computers.

“The Enterprise program is very excited to be participating with the Ford Motor Company Fund to promote health resource education, in our community and beyond,” said Chris Morgan, the Enterprise program’s assistant director for educational partnerships. “This project fits both the local population and Enterprise well, as there is a tangible outcome that is driven by a community need, where Michigan Tech students will excel at developing unique solutions.”

Learn more about the 2020 Ford College Community Challenge award winners

About Ford Motor Company Fund 

As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 50 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram


GM awards $110,000 grant to Michigan Tech

General Motors, a long-time supporter of Michigan Technological University, has awarded the University a $110,000 grant through its University/Organization Partner Program, once again, supporting the critical needs of STEM Education here at MTU

A significant portion of the grant will be devoted to General Motors’ commitment to the Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative. The grant will also provide continuing support for a variety of student activities, including the Advanced Motorsports Enterprises, Education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outreach, underrepresented student groups and diversity programs through the Center for Educational Outreach and Center for Diversity and Inclusion, as well as support for the community-chosen Enterprise project working on an HVAC system that cleans viruses and other disease-causing particles from enclosed buildings.

Housed in the Pavlis Honors College, the Enterprise program consists of 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 the Enterprise program is the experiential training it provides to students.  The manufacturing engineering initiative focuses on student projects to educate Michigan Tech Enterprise students that manufacturing engineering is a viable area of study and career path.

“Michigan Tech’s Enterprise program is thrilled to again partner with General Motors to develop Enterprise projects that highlight career opportunities available in manufacturing,” said Chris Morgan, assistant director for educational partnerships. “The Enterprise program’s hands-on and can-do attitude fits perfectly as the home for manufacturing project-based learning.”

Michigan Tech is pleased again to have GM as a “Creating the Future” Advanced Motorsports (AMS) sponsor.  As part of Michigan Tech’s signature Enterprise Program, AMS represents a consortium of four of the vehicle competition Enterprise teams—Blizzard Baja, Clean Snowmobile Challenge, Formula Car, and Supermileage Systems.  Each AMS team is an interdisciplinary organization of students whose goal is to develop a complete vehicle—from concept, through prototyping and testing, and on to final build and ‘delivery’ at the 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 to the group as a whole.  Ultimately, this hands-on learning environment allows AMS members to develop critical business, engineering, communication, and leadership skills for a successful transition into the workforce.

Michigan Tech and General Motors have had a long-standing partnership dating back to at least 1940, supporting a wide range of activities across campus including scholarships, Senior Design and Enterprise projects, student organizations, sponsored research, recruiting support, youth programs, diversity initiatives and more.

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


Q&A with Dr. Mark Rudnicki

Dr. Mark Rudnicki

Dr. Mark Rudnicki is currently a Professor of Practice of Forest Biomaterials in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University, where he conducts and coordinates research and teaching in sustainable bioproducts and, more holistically, the circular bioeconomy. Mark is an advisory board member for the 2021 World Bioeconomy Forum and a founding member of the Houghton-based FinnZone, a commercial launchpad for Finnish tech companies entering the United States. His diverse research interests include tree biomechanics, forest meteorology, circular bioeconomy, biomaterials, and mass timber. Dr. Rudnicki was also the Executive Director (2015-2019) of the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute since its establishment as a non-profit NGO dedicated to the facilitation of the forest bioeconomy in the State of Michigan.

Before Mark came to Michigan Tech in 2015, he held a tenured faculty position at the University of Connecticut where he taught forestry classes and led research in wind and trees and the establishment of the Stormwise program to reduce tree-related storm damage to power lines.

What inspired you to start HotForest?

HotForest was inspired by a new major in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (CFRES): Sustainable Bioproducts– B.S. I wanted, as part of this new degree, for students to engage in experiential learning. Students who enroll in this major are required to be a part of Enterprise. In addition to our new degree program, we’re seeing a resurgence of interest in and for renewable, recycled, and repurposed materials—and the big picture of the circular and bioeconomies.  Students are not limited to HotForest, but do need to be a part of any Enterprise team for at least two years.

Describe how HotForest will attract students from different disciplines.

When we start looking at all the aspects of the circular economy, you realize pretty quickly how multiple perspectives and disciplines are required to understand its full potential, including business, forestry, environmental science, engineering, and computer science for example. Reusable products need to be well designed, both functionally and aesthetically. Therefore, the art/design community is also a key stakeholder in addition to STEM fields. It will be important to involve students from across campus to be a part of HotForest for its optimal success. 

In an effort to build relationships and interdisciplinary studies, I have reached out to the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Both CFRES and the College of Creative Studies want to work together either through this new Enterprise team, or another potential collaboration. The College of Creative Studies is interested in pairing their industrial design prowess with Michigan Tech engineering and bioproducts students, and vice versa.  We’re both fairly specialized schools, so our students could bring complementary skills to each other’s work.

What type of projects would interest HotForest?

This semester, HotForest was fortunate enough to get our first sponsorship from one of the Tech Forward Initiatives: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing. The AM&M initiative is looking to establish Michigan Tech as a global leader in research and education associated with advanced materials and manufacturing and the circular economy fits very well within their scope. The new HotForest team is essentially in an establishment phase during its first semester of existence this fall, which includes scoping and deciding on project priorities. The next step, and one the team is very hungry for, is to put the plan into action and take on real world problems. For instance they are considering the problem of waste wood from the manufacturing of office furniture, which generates over 100 tons per day in Grand Rapids and desperately needs an added value solution. The team is also looking to enter an international competition in just a couple weeks, the Wege Prize 2021, that is focusing on circular economy solutions from transdisciplinary student teams from around the world.

What are the goals for HotForest during this first year? What do you hope to accomplish?

The students really want to educate themselves on what a circular economy really entails. Looking for the silver lining to COVID-19 crisis, I believe there are some good opportunities for students to attend world class conferences and meetings that otherwise would have been out of reach for them financially. HotForest will be able to engage online and interact with global experts in a cost effective way. And that’s what the team is doing now, researching which meetings they might attend and planning how they’re going to go about educating themselves about this circular economy, with the intent that next semester we can hit the ground running with projects and probably a competition. With strong student interest in what HotForest is doing, we expect the team to grow. Our current members are looking forward to the challenge of growing and juggling multiple projects and, in the end, more progress toward the circular economy.

Are there any teams HotForest would like to work with?

I think there are probably several others that might also have a sustainability orientation, like Consumer Products Manufacturing for example, but also some that might not be an intuitive match, like Advanced Metalworks. There are lots of possibilities. Once HotForest gains its footing, I believe the team will be able to dig deeper into other teams’ individual projects and see if there are connections to what we hope to do. 

What inspired the name HotForest?

In full disclosure, I put a bunch of keywords into an online name and logo generator and after sifting through many hundreds and several websites that do this, I hit on HotForest with a logo that inspired what you see now.  Not terribly inspiring origin story, but the name did resonate with me as I wanted something off the wall—something that would make people wonder how it makes any sense and dig a little deeper.  The current team secretary (and safety officer) Katelyn Hacker tells me this is the same approach used by Post Malone of the Wu Tang Clan, so it seems a good way to go.

What would be your advice to a student interested in joining Enterprise, and more specifically HotForest?

As a student, if you’re interested in Enterprise, you should do it! Hands on learning is what Enterprise is all about—and Enterprise is a signature program at Michigan Tech. Before coming to Michigan Tech, I had never seen a program like this. Students are able to work over multiple years on student-led, and importantly, student-driven projects. That’s why I really wanted Enterprise to be a part of this new major, and ultimately create and advise the new HotForest team. Being a part of this Enterprise allows students to drill down into what we can do right now to start making positive changes in the world. We’re seeing companies who realize that we can’t just proceed with business as usual. I think it behooves students to be prepared for that future. This is what HotForest is really about! 

What’s something fun, impressive, or unique about yourself that might surprise people?

Before I went to grad school, I took some time off and worked as a carpenter for about 3 years. I wandered a lot and worked in Alaska, including in the towns of Wassila (where Sarah Palin was my mayor), and a month in Kotzebue inside the arctic circle, which was very eye-opening to say the least. 


A Message from the Enterprise Program

By Rick Berkey, Professor of Practice and Enterprise Program Director and Briana Tucker, Enterprise Program Coordinator

Welcome to the second issue of our 2020 Enterprise Program Newsletter! With the new academic year now underway, it’s safe to say 2020 has been quite the year of uncertainty and change. For 20 years, the Enterprise Program has emphasized project-based learning, teamwork, mentorship, and professional networking — activities that have been shown to improve student retention, graduation, and career preparation. So what happens when the world is challenged to work together, but separately? In Enterprise, we have embraced this challenge by thinking harder, trying new things, and refusing to be discouraged. In one word: #tenacity! And in this context, ‘we’ includes our students, faculty advisors, support staff, and program supporters.

It really does “take a village” to run an Enterprise Program. This fall, any uncertainty about enrollment in Enterprise was quickly dispelled, as 700 students returned to campus to participate in one of our 24 enterprises. We even launched a new enterprise — Hotforest — to give students a new option focused around sustainable forest bioproducts and the circular bioeconomy. Continue reading below to meet Hotforest’s faculty advisor, Dr. Mark Rudnicki. Across Enterprise, students are tackling well over 100 projects this year, including several focused around responses to COVID-19 challenges! Similar to the pivot industry has made, our teams have had to learn how to work from home, socially distance in labs with smaller group sizes, and further improve their planning and communication skills…all in the spirit of getting the job done.

In other fall news, we excitedly hosted Enterprise Day on October 19th– with 21 teams in attendance, and students joining both in-person and online. We’ve started planning for Design Expo by taking lessons learned from last year’s first-ever virtual showcase. With only 9 weeks into the academic year, so much is still unknown, but what we do know is that students will continue to plan for their team, progress on project timelines, and thrive in national competitions. We hope you enjoy this issue and look forward to staying connected – Go Huskies!


A Message from the Dean

By Dr. Lorelle Meadows, Pavlis Honors College, Dean

It’s Fall and Michigan Tech is knee deep in… Enterprise Projects!! (and leaves!)

A lot has changed over the past six months, but one thing that remains a hallmark of a Michigan Tech education is the hands-on work that our students do. With comprehensive safety measures in place, our Enterprise teams are working together on over 100 projects to do things like create competitive SAE competition vehicles, build a satellite, improve the lives of rehabilitation patients, and even help with the COVID19 pandemic response..among many others. And, they’re working to respond to the global pandemic by designing affordable shared air filtration systems, developing virus-resistant materials, and creating physical distancing apps.

Through the explosion of virtual engagement, the teams are better equipped than ever before to engage with sponsors and clients afar, to include team members at a distance, and to draw on a broader network of expertise around the world. Imagine layering the current challenges over the traditional Enterprise education, and you have the recipe for a graduating class of incredible leaders who know how to manage adversity and change at an unprecedented level.