Written by: Malea Fernandes, Georgia Tech
The Georgia Tech team worked hard throughout the EcoCAR 3 competition. Although the team experienced a few hiccups during the first year of competition, that did not stop Lee Sargent from joining the team in Year Two. As an Atlanta native, Lee was first introduced to Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC’s) when he was in middle school. His love for automotive technology and electrical engineering began with a college visit to Mississippi State University, Where his older sister had attended school. There was a similar AVTC taking place at the university called Challenge X, This particular visit is what sparked an interest in Lee at a very young age.
After high school, Lee enrolled at MSU and went on to join the EcoCAR 2 competition back in 2011, upon which he served for three consecutive years. After receiving his B.S in Electrical Engineering from MSU, Lee was eager to continue his experience with EcoCAR. In hopes to join the competition for another year, he enrolled at Georgia Tech for graduate school. Lee always had an affinity for Georgia Tech as an Atlanta native, and always assumed that he would go to Georgia Tech.
Despite their first-year struggles, Lee was eager to join the team, and was excited to help them improve. As a returning member of the EcoCAR 3 competition, Lee knew that the Georgia Tech team had received 15th place during the first year of competition. He was confident that his experience would help bridge the gap between the competitions and had high hopes for the team. Lee started the team as an electrical team member, moved on as an ECE GRA (Electrical Computer Engineering Graduate Research Assistant), and finally was appointed as the team’s engineering manager at the beginning of year 3. He was very excited to see the team grow and be able to continue to improve the following yea after they had improved and gotten 9th in Year Two of the competition.
When asked about his favorite part of the competition, Lee responded, “It was great to be able to accomplish as much as we did with the resources that we had.” Lee then went on to say,“EcoCAR has been the most important project that I have ever been a part of. It has given me the work experience that I use every day.”
In the summer of 2017, Lee accepted a full-time position at General Motors as the Associate Development Test Engineer, which is part of the Global Propulsion System. When asked how EcoCAR has prepared him for the real world, Lee replied, “I think EcoCAR is about the most intense work environment and experience that you can have. After EcoCAR you’re prepared for any work experience.”
Lee is extremely ecstatic about the progress of the Georgia Tech team during the EcoCAR 3 competition, and is proud to have played a roll in the teams success. The team was able to place 3rd in Lee’s final year as a team member during Year Three of the competition and received several first-place trophies for ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistant Systems) event, SMS and controls presentation, and Mechanical presentation. If Lee could give advice to any future AVTC participant, he would say, “you’re on the right path, try your hardest, and have a great time.”