Meet Ohio State EcoCAR’s Team Leads

Ohio State EcoCAR is made up of nearly 75 students ranging from undergraduate freshman to Ph.D. candidates. There is an extensive amount of work that goes into each innovative project, and none of it would be possible without the team’s 13 dedicated leaders. Each team lead has unique industry experiences that help them generate intelligent solutions for every challenge; continue reading to find out what makes them the best leaders for Ohio State EcoCAR.

Simon Trask
Engineering Manager

Simon Trask studied science in engineering and mechanical engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. He has interned at John Deere and Ford, and in addition to his love for engineering, Trask is a talented cook and an avid hiker. This Bloomfield, Michigan native became the system safety manager for Ohio State EcoCAR in August 2016 and took on the engineering manager position in 2018. He loves being a team leader because he can mentor other students to help them reach their full potential. After he walks across the stage with his master’s degree in May 2019, he will build on his automotive experience with a position at General Motors designing advanced vehicle propulsion systems.

Kriti Gena
Project Manager

Kriti Gena is from Jaipur, India, and she received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Mody University. Bosch promptly hired this talented engineer as a product planner in one of its manufacturing plants where she learned the importance of supply chain management. Using this newfound knowledge, she made the trek to Ohio State to obtain her master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering and to work as the project manager for Ohio State EcoCAR, which she says has been a fantastic source of hands-on training. She is thrilled to work at Cummins in North Carolina as a supply chain planning intern this summer.

Kristina Kuwabara
Controls, Systems Modeling, and Simulation Lead

Kristina is in a combined bachelor’s and master’s program studying mechanical engineering, and she hails from Baltimore, Maryland. An EcoCAR member since 2014, she focused on her ability to apply her coursework to real-world projects before assuming a controls, systems modeling, and simulation lead position as of fall 2018. In 2017, Kristina worked with the engine research group at Honda; in summer 2018, she had the opportunity to work on brake software and controls development on the vehicle engineering side at General Motors. The 2020 graduate is most looking forward to the moment that the components come together, and the Blazer moves on its own. Excited to return to GM this summer, Kristina is currently working on high voltage system design for her senior capstone. Post-graduation, Kristina will pursue a career that allows her to develop the logic behind the decision making of autonomous vehicles and become active in the automotive industry.

Mahaveer Satra
Controls, Systems Modeling, and Simulation Lead

Mahaveer, a controls, systems modeling, and simulation lead, is excited to take on a new challenge during his first year on the Ohio State EcoCAR team. Born in Mumbai, India, Satra is excited to develop the controls strategy and looks forward to the end-of-the-year competition in May. This former senior design engineer at Larsen and Toubro brings experience in prototype testing and product conceptualization to the team. He is a first-year master’s student pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, and he plans to work in the automotive industry before setting his entrepreneurial sights on building his own company.

Jackie Karl-DeFrain
Controls, Systems Modeling, and Simulation Lead

Jackie Karl-Defrain, a rock climber at heart, hopes to change the world by creating sustainable transportation; her role as a controls, systems modeling, and simulation lead for Ohio State EcoCAR is a great start. She is in a combined bachelor’s and master’s program with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and Chinese, and a master’s in mechanical engineering. Her love for hands-on projects made her a great fit for several impactful student projects. In addition to her role on Ohio State EcoCAR, she is also a member of the Ohio State Supermileage Team. It’s no surprise that she transitions her experiences from internships at Honda R&D Americas and Caterpillar to her current projects with ease.

Evan Stoddart
Connected and Automated Vehicles Lead

After sharpening his skills last year as the advanced driver assistance systems lead, Evan Stoddart is taking on a new role as a lead for the connected and automated vehicles team. This experienced Pittsburgher interned at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, STERIS Corporation, and Bosch, and he’s pursuing his master’s in electrical and computer engineering. In his free time, he enjoys playing hockey or chess. After graduation, Stoddart plans to follow General Motors’ TRACK program to explore innovative autonomous solutions.

Akshra Narasimhan Ramakrishnan
Connected and Automated Vehicles Lead

Akshra Narasimhan Ramakrishnan is a first-year master’s student pursuing a degree in electrical and computer engineering. While she calls Chennai, India home, she is excited to explore sensor fusion development for connected and automated vehicles while on Ohio State EcoCAR. Last semester, she served as a lab monitor for the Introduction to Analog Systems and Circuits lab. After she turns her tassel from right to left, she hopes to work in the automotive industry in sensor fusion development.

Shlok Goel
Connected and Automated Vehicles Lead

Shlok Goel, a first-year mechanical engineering graduate student, is a key member of the connected and automated vehicles team. A native of New Delhi, India, Goel has vast experience in working with micro-controllers and motion-based sensors from the projects he undertook during his undergraduate studies. When asked what he is most excited about, Goel points to the development and scope for advanced driver assistance systems, as well as the innovative spirit that each team brings to the competition. After graduation, Goel hopes to pursue a career in sensor fusion and control of autonomous systems.

Kerri Loyd
Electrical Systems Lead

A native of Kettering, Ohio, Kerri Loyd is thrilled to serve as the electrical systems lead for Ohio State EcoCAR. The former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles intern is set to finish her undergraduate degree and pursue a master’s degree soon after. Loyd knows that integrating connected, automated and hybrid technologies into the Blazer will present a challenge, but the team is ready to step up to the plate. Outside of EcoCAR, Loyd participated in the Humanitarian Engineering Scholars group, a two-year program that teaches students how to leverage their skill sets to help local communities and the environment. The program fostered her love for engineering and introduced her to Design for 90, a student project team that designs and fabricates adaptive utensils and equipment for people with physical disabilities.

Phillip Dalke
Propulsion Systems Integration Lead

Originally from Madison, Ohio, Phillip Dalke is a first-year graduate student pursuing a master’s in mechanical engineering. The propulsion systems integration lead gained mentoring experience when serving as a lab teacher’s assistant in the machine shop for one of his engineering classes. He brings his experiences with materials and process qualification as well as sheet metal and prototype design to the newest competition in the AVTC series. While at Ford and Lincoln Electric, he developed his skills and prepared for a career in the automotive industry. Looking toward year one of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, he is most excited to train the next generation of EcoCAR students so that they have the skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers.

Leala Longmire
Propulsion Systems Simulation Lead

Leala Longmire is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and her dream is to work in the automotive industry after she finishes school. She studied mechanical engineering as an undergraduate at The University of New Mexico and is happy to be a Buckeye on the EcoCAR team. She interned at Navistar as a powertrain validation engineer, an experience that gave her valuable knowledge to help her excel as Ohio State EcoCAR’s propulsion systems simulation team lead. As a graduate student studying physical mechanical engineering, she’s ensuring that we make informed choices regarding the vehicle architecture for the Blazer.

Allison Mellor
Communications Manager

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Allison Mellor is a communications manager for Ohio State EcoCAR. The native Buckeye refined her skills at DOmedia while serving as a product marketing intern before joining the EcoCAR in spring 2018. Mellor brings leadership experience as an account supervisor at The PRactice and president of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Ohio State. This year, she is looking to gain experience on the technical side by working with Ohio State’s Simulation Innovation and Modeling Center as a marketing communications assistant. When asked what she is most excited for about this year’s competition, Mellor cites the opportunity to tap into a field that’s constantly evolving. The automotive industry is ever-changing, and Mellor is excited to observe from a marketing and communications standpoint.

Jake Berg
Communications Manager

Jake Berg, a self-proclaimed car geek from the Chicago suburbs, has always worked in automotive-related positions. His career started at Ohio State’s Simulation Innovation and Modeling Center where he learned how computer-aided design is used in industry. Now, he’s a writing intern at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research and a communications manager for Ohio State EcoCAR. His favorite part about EcoCAR is conducting outreach events to teach children and teenagers the ins and outs of automotive engineering. After graduation, he wants to continue his communications career track in the automotive industry.