The outside air felt every bit of the 35 degrees written on the temperature card posted outside the multi-story house in Springfield, so visitors were happy to step inside and escape the January chill.
The house was warm, yet comfortable. From the living room to the kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs, no location felt too toasty or frigid. The flat screen TV and comfy couch beckoned, and guests wanted to stick around for a while.
Instead, they moved on to the next laboratory.
This exercise didn’t take place in January, and the house isn’t a cozy Springfield abode — it’s a model that serves as one of five “laboratories” at The Helix Innovation Center, the state-of-the-art Emerson Climate Technologies research facility located on UD’s campus. The Helix celebrated its grand opening Wednesday, April 27, opening its doors to business and community leaders and selected UD faculty, staff and students.
“We need a place to explore ideas,” said University President Daniel J. Curran, who spoke about opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaborative experiences for UD faculty and students. “We need a place to ask the big questions.”
UD students, faculty and engineers at Emerson hope to find those answers at The Helix. The 40,000 square-foot center contains a fully functioning and furnished home, a model supermarket, a light commercial environment, a commercial kitchen and a data center. In these simulated environments, researchers can work to engineer solutions to industry-related challenges consumers might not consider when they head to the store to buy a gallon of milk or rush inside their homes after a cold winter day. Through The Helix, University students and faculty will collaborate with Emerson engineers and industry leaders to gain real-world experience developing innovations in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry.
Some of those questions will require exploring methods to provide efficient heating and cooling using environmentally friendly practices, topics that relate to UD’s interdisciplinary focus on sustainability and the work of the Hanley Sustainability Institute. How can a supermarket in South Florida, South America or Southeast Asia remain cool enough to keep food safe while minimizing harm to the greater environment? Can newly built homes in cold climates keep residents warm during a blizzard and keep energy consumption low at the same time?
Thanks to the engineers’ attention to detail, each simulated environment looks like it was pulled straight from the pages of a modern design magazine. Visitors joked about doing their grocery shopping before leaving, and taking their food to the simulated house to cook and eat.
If the guests had come a day earlier, they might have sweated in the outdoor heat with the laboratory exterior cranked up to 85 degrees to mimic an average July day in Miami. The engineers tested air conditioning that day to make sure Emerson products work just as well to cool off an average American home as they do to heat it.
“We’re a proud partner of this University in this endeavor,” said Dave Farr, Emerson chairman and CEO. “It’s really exciting to see where business and the community can get together to create something unique to solve the world’s problems. This is pure innovation the way it should be done, just like the great Wright brothers did in this community with the aircraft industry many years ago. Pure innovation, pure heart and soul and hard work.”
Connections. Creating value. Creativity.
The Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network, also known as KEEN, sponsored a week long event event known as Engineers Week from February 29 – March 4. KEEN worked alongside Dr. Eddy Rojas, dean of the School of Engineering and principal investigator on the KEEN grant, Dr. Ken Bloemer, director of visioneering center and Co-Principal Investigator on the KEEN grant, and Heather Juhascik, KEEN program coordinator to create events that ranged from duct taping professors to the wall to the Helix Innovations challenge. However, what remained constant throughout the weeks activities was an entrepreneurial spirit.
Many of the events, such as can stacking and ‘don’t sink the boat’ were lead by student organizations on campus.
“This week was an opportunity for student societies to further their mission for existing members and was a great way to recruit new members,” said Juhascik
Other events, like the Helix Innovations Challenge, was sponsored by Emerson Climate Technologies. Winners could receive a $1,500 scholarship and be featured in future Emerson trade publications. Students were required to design and pitch an idea for the supermarkets of 2050. Although his group did not win, sophomore participant Michael Zahorec was enthralled by the competition.
“I think learning experiences like this develop a whole different set of skills than learning calculus or dynamics in the classroom. It made me think in a completely different and less calculated manner than I typically do when I’m studying for an exam or doing problems for homework.”
Zahorec and his team came up with the idea of implementing Big Data into supermarkets. “Essentially, the same technology that is used in our student id’s would be planted in the packaging on every product in the grocery store and the necessary scanning technology would be implemented. Furthermore, consumers would be encouraged to purchase a ‘smart fridge’ and/or scanners for their fridge/pantry.”
Throughout the week, students were required to make connections, not only to each other and professors, but to the professionals working for KEEN and Emerson. They created value through all of the interactive events and exercises, and used creativity every step of the way.
While many students found themselves relaxing during the last two weeks of winter break, more than 50 students in the Schools of Engineering and Business were busy traveling and learning in China.
The business group traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou, home of the University of Dayton China Institute. Students who were part of the group took a class during the fall semester to help prepare for their experience.
“A key part of this class was identification of a corporate client that we would actually work with. Early on in the fall, we identified GE Aviation as our client,” said Terence Lau, an associate dean and professor in the School of Business.
The students who went on the trip met with executives from GE Aviation. They were given a project to brainstorm ideas to help GE Aviation grow business in China.
“In Suzhou, we were able to get to the meat of our project by spending three hours with GE executives at their plant. Students were able to tour the plant to see the three lines of products that are made at the plant,” Lau said.
In addition to the meeting, students were also able to speak with representatives from Black & Decker, Air China, and Ford, among others.
Now that the students have arrived back in the States, they are busy preparing for their presentations for GE Aviation which will take place in late February.
Mitch Tomlin ‘18 was one of the students who went on the trip, and his team is sorting through information to prepare for the presentations.
“We have to find something that they can improve on to get ready for the expansion of the middle class in China,” Tomlin said, noting that the airline industry will play a major role in this expansion.
The Chinese intercession is also serving as a springboard for a GE Aviation consulting project competition that kicked off this week and is open to all University of Dayton students. For more information on this business plan competition, visit go.udayton.edu/studyinchina or contact Terence Lau at email@example.com.
Continued development and growth in India has increased energy demands throughout the subcontinent, leading to instability in the nation’s power grid. Smaller villages are hit particularly hard.
Students in UD’s ETHOS program — Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service Learning — have been working since 2014 to build wind turbines to meet local energy needs. As part of their final presentation for their Fall 2015 MEE 432 class, mechanical engineering students Farouq Al Omari, Tim Hudson, Johnny Hill and Nick Pelini shared the results of their efforts to design a prototype for a permanent magnet wind turbine, a project continuing previous students’ work for ETHOS.
Professor Malcolm Daniels was the presentation sponsor.
The wind turbines are a collaboration between ETHOS and MinVayu, a non-governmental organization that works to meet power needs in Indian villages by teaching citizens to build, install and maintain low-cost wind turbines, according to the group’s website. MinVayu’s work not only helps villages meet their energy needs, but also provides a vocation by teaching residents how to build and repair the turbines.
During the summer of 2014, at MinVayu’s request, ETHOS students began design and development work on a wind turbine test bench, which was required to test and track the efficiency of handmade generators used in the construction of wind turbines.
Later, MinVayu requested a design for a generator to replace the current diesel pump systems used for water irrigation, with the requirement that it be portable. The MEE 432 students answered with a prototype that used a hub clamp from a 2006 Honda Civic SI, a change from a previous group’s use of a Chevy Cavalier part.
A series of tests took place throughout the fall semester at the Tipp City, Ohio, office of Regal Beloit, an electric motor manufacturer. By the final presentation, the students had determined what elements worked and which ones required further refinement before being put to use. Questions from Daniels and other professors in attendance gave the students more points to consider, such as implications for performance in India’s hot climate and the intended life cycle of the turbine.
Two students will travel to Auroville, India, in May to deliver the generator, completing another step in ETHOS’ effort to use students’ engineering skills to promote development and encourage sustainability throughout the developing world.
Joe Hinrichs ’89 earned an MBA from Harvard, studied leadership and rose quickly through the executive ranks at General Motors and Ford Motor Company.
But Hinrichs, now executive vice president and president of The Americas, Ford Motor Company, says his path to leadership started with a choice some might have considered unconventional for a future senior executive. When he enrolled at UD in the mid-1980s, he decided to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.
“I thought it would be very important to understand the methodology and critical thinking behind problem solving,” Hinrichs said.
Hinrichs shared lessons learned from his experience in the School of Engineering and UD to a packed Kennedy Union ballroom audience Feb. 28. Faculty, staff and current students attended Hinrichs’ lunchtime talk, but his words were directed mostly to the prospective UD students in attendance visiting campus that afternoon for an admission presentation.
Hinrichs, a Columbus, Ohio, native, talked about his experience at UD, from meeting his future wife, Maria, as a first-year student, to the appreciation for community and service that shaped the values he holds today. In addition to serving as chair for local and statewide campaigns for the March of Dimes, Arthritis Foundation, Boy Scouts of America and juvenile diabetes research, he’s a member of the University board of trustees.
“Making a difference in the world, that’s one of the things we value at the University of Dayton,” he said. “I always want to give back to the University because of all of the opportunities I’ve been given in life.”
After graduation, Hinrichs got his first test of leadership when he was hired as an engineer at a Delco chassis plant near Moraine, Ohio. “I came to work wearing a white shirt and tie,” he said. “At 23, I was the boss of people two, or even three times, my age.”
The longtime employees were reluctant to see him as someone they could trust. Hinrichs said he decided to take the tie off and “get a shirt with my name on it.” It was the first step in his problem-solving process, and he started asking workers what they needed and how he could help provide it.
“Listen to their issues and remove obstacles,” Hinrichs said of the lessons learned studying engineering. “Be the kind of person you want to work with.”
At 29, Hinrichs became GM’s youngest plant manager. He joined Ford as a plant manager in 2000, and then began a career that put him in charge of Ford units in Canada, the Asia Pacific region and Africa. And, when Ford stock dropped to $1.59 a share in February 2009 and threatened the company’s survival, he used the confidence he’d gained from problem solving at the plant level to work toward a solution.
“Be grounded in core values,” he said. “Work together and figure things out.”
Whether at Ford or UD, it’s a lesson for all who hope to lead and serve.
In the University’s Vision Lab, faculty and students are developing new, cutting-edge software and hardware for real-time applications in signal processing, image processing, computer vision, pattern, facial and behavior recognition, artificial neural networks and bio-mimetic object-vision recognition.
Located on the fourth floor of Kettering Labs, the Vision Lab held a blessing and dedication July 12 for its expanded space and its new designation as a Center of Excellence for Computer Vision and Wide Area Surveillance Research. During the event, attendees from the campus community toured the facility and watched as faculty and students explained their research.
Current projects include an automated monitoring system to quickly identify threats or damage to more than 2 million miles of pipeline in the United States and relay information to pipeline operators and first responders.
The Vision Lab employs seven faculty members and has 16 collaborating faculty from other UD departments and outside institutions. Fourteen doctoral students, eight master’s degree students and seven undergraduates are completing work in the lab.
“The Vision Lab is truly a center of excellence,” said Vijay Asari, Ohio Research Scholars chair, Wide-Area Surveillance and Vision Lab director. “It holds excellent opportunities in needed technologies to bring positive change to our campus.”
In April, the University held a dedication and blessing for CETRASE, the Center of Excellence for Thin-Film Research and Surface Engineering. Ten UD researchers with a combined 15 patents and more than 600 publications will focus on ways to improve sensors, electronics, electro-optics and energy systems in their research.
February 17-23 the students in Kettering Labs took a study break or two to celebrate a week dedicated just to them.
Engineers Week is an annual celebration of “engineers, engineering students, and technicians—and all of the amazing things you do every day to make the world a better place,” according to the National Engineers Week Foundation. On campus there was a special UD spin to everything, from service activities to University trivia and more.
“College can be stressful,” said Josh Rellinger, senior mechanical engineering major, president of mechanical engineering honors society Pi Tau Sigma and organizer of Engineers Week. “We want to have a week to come up with engineering-related activities.”
Monday kicked off with two week-long events: a penny war, with proceeds donated to Ronald McDonald House, and an on-campus scavenger hunt for things like KU Fountain and the newest residence hall. Tuesday evening the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering hosted an activities night for local elementary-aged children. Engineering students helped the kids build catapults with Popsicle sticks, plastic spoons and marshmallows, and “elephant toothpaste” was created from the foamy reaction of hydrogen peroxide and yeast. Stephanie Mekus, a fifth-year chemical engineering major and president of SAMPE, said, “We’re getting kids interested in engineering. I did stuff like this with my mom when I was little, and now I’m an engineer.”
There was a duct-tape-your-professor-to-the-wall competition, guest speakers, and, the night before the closing ceremony on Friday, a dodgeball tournament. “There’s something about our generation and dodgeball. We can’t get enough,” said Rellinger.
The departments in the school of engineering competed against one another throughout the week and the chemical engineering department walked away with first place and $500 to fund a prize or event of their choice. Now it’s back to studying for midterms.
Click the photo to see more pictures from the week’s events.
A group of high school girls concluded their stay Friday in the Women in Engineering summer camp, a weeklong residential program designed to encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering, a field traditionally dominated by men.
The University is working to close the gender gap and encourage more women to major in engineering in college.
For some civil engineering undergraduates, mapping out plans for summer break will be on hold for a few more weeks.
Rather than join peers in Daytona Beach, Fla., or go home after finals, the 23 students enrolled in the CEE 215L summer course spent the afternoon of May 7 working in teams scattered across campus surveying the land.
According to Deogratias Eustace, the course adviser, students are challenged to apply knowledge of surveying techniques and processes from prior theoretical courses to hands-on, practical situations.
“These students are making great strides in their area,” Eustace said. “They’re all committed to this, which certainly helps.”
Civil engineering majors are required to complete the course to graduate.
Starting next week, the class will be working at Mount St. John’s in Kettering, Ohio. There, students will gain real-world experience in creating topographical maps.
Owned by the Marianist brothers, Mount St. John houses a seminary and retreat center situated on a 150-acre piece of land. Eustace said the brothers requested the students’ help so they could avoid the possibility of extensively harming the grass around campus.
The professor said the brothers look forward to finding out how their land really looks.
To the civil engineering students at UD, it’s all about making business fun again.
“It’s nice because it’s hands-on experience,” Don Wilson, a junior civil engineering major, said. “We’re starting to see the method to the madness.”
Notebook in hand, I leaned close to hear the soft-spoken words of a humble 84-year-old scientist. Winning the Nobel Prize in chemistry in the twilight of his life hadn’t gone to Charles Pedersen’s head.
“What I did, I did well,” he told me after UD President Brother Raymond Fitz, S.M., presented him with an honorary master’s degree in a living room full of family and friends in Salem, N.J., in 1989. “I worked in a peculiar way and things worked out. If you have an abnormal way of doing things, you do have an advantage because you’re not imitating anybody else. If you have innovation, then you’re relatively safe.
“But it doesn’t mean you necessarily have anything good,” he quipped.
Pedersen ’26 is part of the 2012 inaugural class who will be inducted into the School of Engineering’s Hall of Fame at a campus gala Friday, part of a celebration of the school’s 100th anniversary. Also honored will be John McHale ’78, Charles Wilke ’40, Emerson Climate Technologies and The Kettering Family Philanthropies.
Pedersen shared the Nobel Prize for discovering crown ethers during a long career at DuPont. Today, crown ethers are being used in everyday applications from isolating and removing extremely small yet harmful concentrations of mercury in drinking water to helping identify potassium in blood samples to aid in early diagnosis heart disease.
Pedersen, who died eight months after the living room gathering, turned down an honorary doctorate from his alma mater. When I asked him how he wanted history to remember him, he said, “The only honest thing I can say is as a man who knew what he could do.”