School of Engineering Observes National Engineers' Week
By Hilary Nieland
The Edward F. Cross School of Engineering will celebrate National Engineers’ Week, with an annual Engineering Dinner and Egg Drop competition on Feb. 21.
Blaine D. Leonard, will be speaking at the dinner. Leonard is a licensed engineer in Utah, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado and was named the 2009 Utah Engineer of the Year. Leonard served as the 2010 president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, chaired or served on 17 national ASCE committees, and chaired the Task Committee to Achieve the Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025. He is currently employed as the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Manager for the Utah Department of Transportation.
Leonard will be presenting “The Future of Engineering: A Glimpse into Challenges, Trends, and Solutions.” He states that the boundaries of engineering are being challenged by rapid advancements in science and technology. He says that “it is now clear that the complex challenges facing 21st century society will require professional engineers to advance their technical excellence and professional leadership in order to continue to protect the public and improve its quality of life.”
Leonard believes that the current required education for an engineer, a 4-year degree, will soon not be sufficient to prepare students to meet future responsibilities and requirements. He calls upon current engineering students to “stretch those boundaries and prepare for the future.”
The dinner will take place at Whitman College in the Campus Reid Center at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to anyone. The cost is $20 for students and $30 for the general public. Those who wish to attend can RSVP by calling 527-2765 by Feb. 15.
Another featured event will be the annual Egg Drop Contest at noon on Kretschmar Lawn. Participants will toss eggs off the roof of Kretschmar Hall in the hopes that their egg-safety device will protect the egg from breaking as it hits the ground.
School of Engineering News
President of Commuter Cars Speaks at 2012 Engineering Dinner
Presentation Highlights Tango Electric Car
Imagine a world without traffic and parking congestion. That dream is what motivated Rick Woodbury, founder and president of Commuter Cars in Spokane, Wash., to start looking for an alternative to the 4-plus-passenger, gasoline-powered car or SUV that most of us currently drive. His solution: the Tango, an electric vehicle that is about the size of a motorcycle while still offering the safety and comfort of a car. At just 39 inches wide, it can fit comfortably in half of a lane and park in as little as a quarter of a parallel parking space.
Woodbury’s company and the Tango will be the subject of his presentation, “Innovative Disruption in the World of Transportation,” at the 2012 Engineers Dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the Reid Campus Center on the campus of Whitman College in Walla Walla.
Woodbury’s story begins in about 1982 when he was stuck in traffic, commuting from Hermosa Beach to Beverly Hills California, where he was a sales manager for a high-end car dealer, Beverly Hills Porsche-Audi. He noted that all of the cars around him had a single occupant. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are 140 million workers in the United States, of whom 106 million are single-occupant drivers carrying around four or more empty seats, causing traffic and parking congestion. It was during this drive that the idea of a narrower car occurred to him.
Woodbury says, “I heard a quote once: To innovate, don't ask people what they want, but rather watch what they do. That is the key to innovation. It has nothing to do with the past, comparing with other products. It has everything to do with the present and future. If there is a problem that is causing suffering, and a solution exists to remove that suffering that is obvious to potential purchasers of that solution and it has a value in relation to its benefits, there is a market.”
“A typical electric car is not a disruptive innovation. It does not fall into the problem-solving category described above. I know of no innovations that were successful that didn't make people's life easier or more comfortable. Electric sedans and trucks take away usefulness and security in most ways and give little back in return. Being green will certainly sell a number of EVs; however, it is not enough to get tens of millions to switch from gasoline to electric.”
“Disruption must make a major improvement, and in the case of electric cars, must have huge benefits to make up for the drawbacks,” says Woodbury.
Using his extensive mechanical and electrical engineering experience, he started building a prototype with his son, Bryan, in a garage in 1998. The Tango has been in constant development since then, with 11 produced to date. Tangos have been sold to the Google founders, George Clooney, and a number of others. While the Tango is expensive at present, it is only because it is in extremely low production. There is no reason that it couldn't be manufactured as inexpensively as any other car, of the same quality, if produced in the same volume, says Woodbury.
Woodbury will also discuss the simple engineering principles that make this car possible despite the initial reactions of safety and rollover stability. His presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A session.
Tickets for the event are $30. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (509) 527-2765. Tickets must be purchased by Friday, Feb. 17.
For the latest Tango news and videos, visit the Tango blog at: http://tangocars.blogspot.com/
The School of Engineering at WWU boasts a variety of state-of-the-art machines and high-tech gadgets that allow students to get real-world experience before they even receive their degrees. One such piece of technology is the rapid prototyping machine, purchased through the generosity of donors interested in seeing the program grow even more.
Cindy Dinwiddie Receives Award
San Antonio -- October 15, 2007 -- Cynthia L. Dinwiddie, Ph.D., a senior research engineer in the Geosciences and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute, has been selected to receive the 2007 Rossiter W. Raymond Memorial Award from the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) and the 2007 Alfred Noble Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). These awards are in recognition for her paper "The Small-Drillhole Minipermeameter Probe for In-Situ Permeability Measurement," published in December 2005 in Reservoir Evaluation Engineering, a Society of Petroleum Engineers' (SPE) journal.
Nadine Lashier, NASA Training Lead
Nadine Lashier, Mechanical '97, has risen quickly in her career. Read the article at the NASA site where her role is described as the International Space Station training lead for the STS-118 mission.
2007 NanoQuest Season
A great year for the ARL-North Pacific Regional Robotics Challenge. Twenty (20) teams participated this year; three (3) Junior FLL and seventeen (17) FLL. This year's Champion's Award was given to The Paraboles from Spokane Jr. Academy. Photos can be found in the Engineering Photo Gallery.
Westwind features WWC Engineering Innovative Alumni
Westwind, Fall 2006 has a wonderful article about several innovative engineers that have graduated from WWC. You can read all about it here.
Featured engineers are:
- Harley Heinrich EE '79
- Laurel Dovich CE '86
- Adriaan Smit EE '02
- Gunnar Lovhoiden '89
- Dennis Vories '74
We are proud of the accomplishments of our graduates. Send us your story!
Engineering Faculty, former colleagues, and friends, gathered to celebrate the season, and wish Rod Heisler well in his retirement. After many years of teaching for the School of Engineering, also serving as Dean, and as Academic Dean of the college, Dr. Heisler is hanging up his teaching responsibilities and starting a new chapter in his life. He will be greatly missed around campus. The students routinely speak highly of his thorough explanations, some even changed their schedules Fall quarter so that they could get him for certain classes before his retirement.
Dr. Aamodt, Dean, presented Dr. Heisler with one of Marble Jones recent bear images. Dr. Heisler said he knew just the place it will hang in the new home that will be constructed in the coming months in Port Angeles, WA. We wish him and his wife Liz who will retire next summer, all the best.
Wavy Wand Shown on HGTV Holiday Toy Special
The Wavy Wand, an invention by Adriaan Smit, EE '02, and his colleagues made it onto the HGTV Holiday Toy Special this year. If you'd like to get one, you can pick them up at the Engineering Office and help fund Engineering Ambassador Scholarships.
Intern Blogs Summer 2006 Experience
2006 Senior Design Projects
Nome, AK Wins 1st ARL National Lego Challenge
The first ARL National Challenge was held August 7-8 in Nashville, TN. The Director's Award (overall consistent leader) went to our own Nome, Alaska team! Congratulations!!
The first North Pacific Regional Lego robotics challenge was held at WWU on April 10, 2006. Teams participating were given tours on Sunday evening of engineering labs. The FIRST Lego League organization has studied students who participate in this program and found them to be 3 times more likely to take Engineering than students who have not participated. We had a wonderful challenge and look forward to more in the future.
Thanks to everyone who came for this year's exciting event. Photo's can be found in the college's main Photo Gallery
Director's Awards went to Iigestas from Nome Adventist School (Nome, Alaska) and Technic Tyrant's "T squared" (Burns, Oregon). Congratulations to all who participated! Please contact Douglas Logan via email (douglas.logan(AT)wallawalla.edu) if you have any questions.
If you are a local team and in the future would like to have a qualifying event during the FIRST Lego season (Sept-Nov), please share your interest with Marlene. In the future WWU may consider (with enough demand) hosting such an event. To read more about this league, check out the FLL resource center. Create a team now and get ready for the Fall season. You can place your order in advance for next year's NANO Quest Lego objects which ship late summer. The mission objectives will be released in September.
Engineering Students Make a Difference in the Community
Marlene Baerg's neighbor, Joyce Beecroft, asked, "Can your engineers develop some sort of gear mechanism to hang on a wall so that one of my handicapped students can have SOMETHING else to do?" Ms. Baerg discussed the idea with Mr. Riley and they came up with the idea to have Intro to Engineering students design and build an educational tool for Katie Aguilar, a student with Rett Syndrome who attends Davis School.
The project was a great success. Not only did 9 projects end up being selected as learning tools for the Resource Center, but the project made the cover of the local paper, the Union-Bulletin, and an article has been published in the Spring '05 Westwind, the WWC alumni magazine.
Many local businesses contributed money and products to help the students build their educational tools. Thanks to Grab On, Home Depot, Ketelsen Construction, Lumberman's, Martha Mason, O'Brien Chevrolet, Cadillac & Nissan, Stadelman Fruit Inc., and Wal-Mart.
If you have a project idea, please contact Douglas Logan, Dean of Engineering at WWU.
Jim Tighe Wins Design News Engineer of The Year
CNN's Top 25 Innovations - #10 has its roots in a WWC Graduate
CNN has released their pick of the top 25 Innovations in the past 25 years. Harley Heinrich, WWC - BSE-Electrical '79, has been a significant contributor to Number 10 on the list, Radio Frequency Identification tags. Harley has over 35 patents in this area. He currently works at Intermec. Following in his father's footsteps, Harley's son is currently attending WWC.
Read the full article at CNN.com
Last update on February 5, 2013