Anna Sinicki first heard about EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge while on an internship at Microsoft. “The business/outreach stream of EcoCAR was a fascinating challenge,” says Anna, who completed an undergraduate degree in science at the University of Waterloo before moving onto the MBA program at Wilfrid Laurier University. “I must admit, I was not a car person by any means, but the prospect of working with fuel cell vehicle technology was something I couldn’t pass up.”
As an MBA student, Anna worked with the EcoCAR team to develop a business plan for Waterloo’s fuel cell plug-in hybrid vehicle and led an outreach program to showcase how fuel cell vehicles work.
At first, Anna was slightly intimated about the position. “I was somewhat concerned that I wouldn’t fit into the world of cars: Not only was I unfamiliar with the vehicle engineering, but also the automotive industry didn’t seem to have many women,” says Anna. “After attending the EcoCAR competition however, I quickly became exposed to the technical concepts of vehicles and realized where my experience in marketing and business benefits the competition. I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of high-calibre women who work in the industry and who are very passionate about green vehicle innovation. It was inspiring.”
One of the highlights for Anna in working on EcoCAR was the chance to showcase the team’s technology to youngsters in grades K-12. “Speaking with youth, particularly younger children, about EcoCAR and green vehicles was always fun; watching their eyes light up with excitement about the future of automotive was always a thrill,” says Anna. She was also impressed by the commitment that GM and its sponsors made to the competition. “Watching the VPs at GM make it a priority to teach students about green vehicles truly demonstrated their enthusiasm for the technology and willingness to share their knowledge with the next generation of engineers.”
Since leaving EcoCAR in 2010, Anna landed a job at BMW Group Canada as a Market Research Specialist. Her experience with EcoCAR has helped her immensely, “Through EcoCAR, I learned about the technology, methods of explaining complex technology to customers and working with engineers. These are skills that I use every day.”