Meet the Team Leads of the McMaster University EcoCAR Mobility Challenge team:
Megan Wood: Engineering Manager
I am currently pursuing a M.A.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McMaster University. My passion for automotive engineering has made itself evident in my work with the McMaster’s many vehicle teams. I have been a part of the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR Team for over 5 years now and am now very excited to take on the role of Engineering Manager this year.
In my first year, I worked on the Formula SAE Hybrid project which helped me develop the leadership and critical thinking skills necessary for my role in the EcoCAR 3 competition. In 2014 McMaster entered the EcoCAR 3 competition and I became a member of the electrical sub team. Over the next few years I became the electrical lead for the team and worked on energy storage systems, harness design and have been lucky enough to mentor many students over my years on the team. I am looking forward to being a part of the new EcoCAR Mobility Challenge competition and to get to continue working with the team during my time at grad school.
I have been interested in automotive design since a young age and always knew I wanted to pursue a career in the automotive industry. When not in school, I am passionate about encouraging others to discover the excitement in STEM fields and promoting the idea that the automotive field is something that can be pursued by anyone. I am a proud member of the McMaster Women in Engineering Society and the recipient of the EcoCAR Year 2 General Motors Women in Engineering Rookie Award. I also attended the Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) National Conference in 2017 and 2018, and I have been invited to attend the Annual GM Canada Women’s Council Symposium in both 2017 and 2018.
Arden Jacoby: Communications Manager
I am in my first year at McMaster University and I am currently receiving a double major in Communications and Multimedia, as well as a minor in labour studies. When I graduate, I hope to do a master’s degree in Communication Management (M.C.M) and eventually acquire a job in the advertising/public relations sector of the working world. As the communications manager of the EcoCAR team, my job is to recruit, develop, and manage a team of students that together can meet all communications deliverables, curate posts for the team’s social media and generate content for any PR related items, and conduct appropriate market research to establish a target group of consumers.
Although I am in my first year, I have extensive experience in management positions. When I was in high school, I was deeply involved in my community, and joined various clubs and committees that I knew would develop and improve my leadership skills. I became Vice President of Communications on the NCSY Leadership Committee Thornhill (NLCT) in 2015, where I managed all NLCT social media accounts, planned and participated in company events at NCSY, and organized the development and execution of NCSY regional events. NCSY stands for the National Conference of Synagogue Youth and their goal is to connect Jewish teens to one another by creating programs and activities for them, as well as build strong relationships that encourage teens to be involved in their communities. I was also the manager of media and communications on the NCSY regional board in 2016, and the president of the JSU (Jewish Student Union) club at my school for 3 years, 2015-2018.
I discovered the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge a few months ago and it peaked my interest the second I knew what it was about. I have always had an interest in cars and I even go to the auto show in Toronto every year with my dad. I knew that the job of the communications manager was perfect for me because I love to write, whether it be essays, or blog posts, and when I graduate, I will have had experience in the field that I would love to go into. I am beyond excited to be a part of the EcoCAR team this semester and look forward to being a part of it for the next 4 years.
Fabricio Alvares: Project Manager
I am extremely passionate about cars, engineering and technology. All throughout my life, I have always been involved with automobiles and this passion drove me to study Mechanical Engineering during my undergraduate years. Currently, I am doing my M.A.Sc in the Mechanical Engineering program at McMaster University. I am super curious about the future automobile technologies and how these technologies have been changing over the years.
During my time at undergrad school, I was a member of my university’s Baja SAE Team for four years. During my time on the team, I was Chief of Powertrain, Vice-Team Leader, and was appointed Team Leader by the other members. The Baja SAE Team consisted of over forty members and has been ranked as one of the best Brazilian teams in 2012 and 2013.
Currently, I have been appointed the position of Project Manager on the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR team and I am responsible for managing the project metrics as scope, budget, time, and quality. I am looking forward to applying my knowledge and experience in project lifecycle, coordination of cross-functional and multicultural teams, as well as my experience in risk and crisis management, to the technical specifications of the EcoCAR team.
My biggest goal for the next couple years is to coach and guide the newer members of EcoCAR team with my project management skills, as well as learn about how to re-engineer and design a competitive hybrid electrical car for competitions.
Christina Riczu: Electrical Storage System Lead
I am in my second year of a Master of Applied Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. I am the Electrical Storage System (ESS) Lead for the McMaster EcoCAR Mobility Challenge. My major responsibility is to guide the design of the high and low voltage systems in the vehicle, ensuring safety protocols and competition deliverables are met.
I didn’t always know that my calling would be in the automotive industry. My interests of science and technology began at a young age, and my parents were hard pressed to keep me out of the muddy garden with my yellow Tonka trunks. I decided to pursue Electrical and Biomedical Engineering as my undergraduate career, interested in the cutting-edge interface between engineering, biological sciences and medicine. I quickly realized that my favorite subjects were in power flow, control systems, and programming.
In my third year, a good friend pulled me aside and encouraged me to express my love of electrical engineering in my spare time, which led me to join the EcoCAR team. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, from crunching deliverable deadlines to gaining valuable hands-on experience in the lab and with industry-level software. I’ve grown so much as an electrical engineer during my time on the team and would recommend the competition to anyone who has an interest in design!
I’m graduating in the summer, so my primary goal is to leave a solid grasp of electrical design with my peers. My goal would be for everyone on the propulsion team to design a printed circuit board and an electrical harness, even the mechanical students! It’s important for everyone to try something new and learn as much as they can from this wonderful team.
Andrew George: Propulsion System Integration Lead
I recently graduated from my undergrad with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and am now pursuing a M.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering. This will be my fifth year on the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR Team, where I will be the Propulsion System Integration lead. My responsibilities will mostly focus around the mechanical design and integration of the vehicle.
I have been excited about the STEM field for as long as I can remember. In my younger years I participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition, where I first developed a passion for engineering and design. Upon arriving at McMaster, I found the EcoCAR team and I haven’t looked back since. I started out on the mechanical team, working on component design and FEA simulations. In my fourth year I was one of five students who wrote the McMaster application into the new EcoCAR Mobility Challenge and am now eagerly looking forward to competing in it.
My biggest goal for the year is teaching and guiding the younger members of my team. I will be graduating before the competition is complete and I am excited to see where the new generation takes the team. I am hoping that I can help them achieve their goals and move into leadership positions in the future.
Mike Haubmann: Control System, Modeling and Simulation Lead
I am currently pursuing a Master of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering at McMaster University. Beside that I am the Control System, Modeling and Simulation (CSMS) Lead of the team. It is my responsibility to educate the team on the different uses of simulation software and the development of control systems.
In 2017, I finished a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in Stuttgart, Germany. My bachelor’s thesis focused on simulating a hybrid powertrain inside a 2-seater airplane which drew the attention of the MacAUTO research group. Following that, I decided to do my graduate studies abroad and I applied at McMaster University.
Luckily, I found a new home on the McMaster EcoCAR team. Contrast to most of the other team leads, this is my first year at the EcoCAR Competition. Even though I have had a small amount of time with the team, I have already realized the impact of combining the possibilities of an automotive research group and the task of designing and re-engineering a full-size vehicle.
After this summer I will be graduating and leaving the EcoCAR team to make space for our younger team members. Therefore, my main goal of this year’s competition is to give them all the tools and skills necessary to successfully continue their EcoCAR journey. I am wishing them all the best to take their first steps as engineering leaders in such a great and warm environment.
Joshua Barkovic: Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Systems Lead
I am an alumnus of the Software Engineering program at McMaster University and I have returned to pursue a M.A.Sc. in Software Engineering. It is my first year on the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR Team, and I am the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Systems lead. My team is responsible for the development and integration of Advanced Driver Assistance (ADAS) features the vehicle. Autonomous vehicles are a highly active research area and are constantly evolving and improving.
My goal for the year is to prepare my team of undergraduate students so that they can successfully develop these technologies and by doing so, be prepared for life after they graduate.