Fisher students help fuel EcoCAR team
Fisher College of Business student Bryan Silverman has loved “anything with four wheels” since the fifth grade. So when the EcoCAR 2 challenge offered the chance to combine his passion for the automotive world with his skills and training in business, he leapt at the opportunity.
“The experience has really helped me put into perspective what I’ve learned as a business student,” said Silverman, who serves as business manager on The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary EcoCAR 2 team and will graduate in the fall with a specialization in marketing. “I’ve had real hands-on learning building relationships with business partners, securing sponsorships, managing finances and more.
“It’s not as visible as putting your hands in an engine, but it’s as essential to the success of the team.”
That hard work paid off as Ohio State took first place in EcoCAR 2, a three-year competition established by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors that challenged students from 15 universities to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. The Ohio State team includes undergraduate and graduate students in a range of fields -- predominantly engineering, but including business, communications and others -- and operates out of the Center for Automotive Research.
Along with Silverman, the team roster during the third year of the EcoCAR 2 challenge included Fisher students Kai Nam Chau (marketing and operations), Saiying Ge (finance), Laura Jo Hirlinger (marketing), Emily Jadwin (accounting), Sarah Jadwin (accounting) and Tianchao Xu (finance).
Sarah Jadwin has been with the EcoCAR 2 team since the start of her freshman year. She currently serves as communications manager, a job that has expanded into a number of different areas.
“The best part has been taking what I’ve learned in the classroom and getting to apply it,” she explained. “Not only do I get to write a plan for a marketing strategy, but my role has also included everything from managing logistics and operations to – coming back to my accounting degree – doing budgets.”
Along with finishing first overall, Ohio State won first-place awards in a number of individual categories, including Best Business Program and Best Communications Program. The experience has also led to additional educational pursuits for Silverman and Jadwin. He is pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship while she will graduate in the fall with an engineering sciences minor.
“In our operations management class we talked about how you will work with professionals in a wide range of other disciplines, and how important that is to an organization’s success,” Jadwin said. “I would love to be that connection between the business, engineering and automotive worlds when I graduate.”