Written by: Daniel Pelaez
Over the years, Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) have provided undergraduate and graduate engineering students with unique, hands-on experience and training. Since the US Department of Energy-sponsored programs were first established in 1988, more than 27,000 students have competed and benefitted from the experience and challenges presented by the program.
Of the many great leaders that have made their mark on AVTCs, Noah Schaich, an alum of the Georgia Institute of Technology, served two years on his university’s team for the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge before graduating with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
After hearing about the opportunity to lead the team as a graduate assistant, Schaich decided to take advantage of the open position and became the Propulsions System Integration Lead for the Georgia Tech team in 2018. After a successful first year, Schaich served as the Engineering Manager in Year 2 of the competition.
“Noah was an inspiring Engineering Manager on the Georgia Tech team. His incredible organization skills kept the team on track even with so many moving parts and so many ways for things to go wrong,” stated Nishan Nekoo, the current Engineering Manager for the team.
“He had this infectious can-do attitude that made us feel that any problem could be fixed or worked around, and I think that made us very successful in Year 2 of the competition as we integrated our vehicle!”
Following his leadership and contributions to the team in Years 1 and 2, Noah graduated in May 2020. He received a full-time offer to work as a Controls Engineer at CZero in Colorado, where he has been since.
Learning to lead a group, manage projects and time, and balance tasks helped prepare Schaich for work and life post-graduation. Providing specifications for high voltage wires and pinning a connector are familiar tasks in his current role that he already knows how to do, rather than activities he has to learn on the spot.
Schaich credits his experience and skills acquired from the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge as the reason he secured his job. “I don’t think I would have gotten the job with CZero if I wouldn’t have done EcoCAR,” Noah shared, reflecting on his involvement with the program.
“The experience you get from it, not only the hands-on experience, but the industry tools like MATLAB and NX, are useful. The company that I’m at looked favorably upon that. The small things you do while working on the car make you a much better engineer when coming out of school.”
In just the early stages of his career and with a bright future ahead, Noah has acquired abundant skills and knowledge to excel in his field. Noah’s story demonstrates how EcoCAR has developed the next generation of strong leaders in the engineering industry.