Meet Brian “BMags” Magnuson, the Engineering Lead from the UW EcoCAR Team

Introducing, Brian Magnuson, the Engineering Lead for the EcoCAR 3 Team at the University of Washington.

University of Washington_MeetBrianBMagsMagnusonEngineeringLeadfromtheUWEcoCARTeam_Image1Brian is a senior earning his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, studying embedded computer systems. He has been on the EcoCAR team for four years and has focused primarily on electrical component integration, HV modeling, and HV assembly. As the EcoCAR 3 engineering lead, he coordinates and manages sub-team leads in collected efforts to take first in the competition. With a strong roster and a motivated team, this is more than attainable.

Brian started out as a “grunt laborer” as he claimed. His first project involved wiring up the engine into the vehicle. He and his colleague, Ryan (now working on his master’s at Stanford in CS), basically divided the car in half. Brian wired from the rear, while Ryan wired from the front. They then met in the middle to do high voltage work toward the finished product. From then on, he was hooked. Now, he is the engineering lead for the entire operation.

Magnuson came in during year two of the EcoCAR 2 competition. The organizational structure of the team has changed immensely, and results have shown a more efficient team. EcoCAR back then was “lean” as he stated. There were a couple team leads, and sub-team leads (who did a majority of the work) “It was not a great organizational structure, and that had to change” he said. Under Brian’s direction, the team decided to add another layer to the organizational structure. Under each lead, was a sub-team lead, and under that sub-team lead, is a project lead. It has changed the atmosphere of the team and has made it much easier to manage and work together. With a sense of direction, everyone also has a sense of ownership within the project. Before, the electrical lead would do anything from working on control to IT, “that was too overwhelming for us, as students”.

Taking first place in the competition is obviously number one for everyone on the EcoCAR 3 team at UW. However, Brian also hopes that they can even sell their work to General Motors, or at least allow them to take interest in the project. With an influx of hybrid vehicles already on the market, EcoCAR 3 at UW is working on creating a much more efficient manner of using gas and hybrid technology to power the car. Above all, he hopes for more public exposure about everything involved in the EcoCAR 3 competition.