I did find my final two years of engineering school, (Lawrence Institute of Technology) to require a lot of effort. That is a bit different than hard, but it meant that a great deal of attention was required, and a fair amount of effort as well. Nothing was handed out without working for it.
That school no longer exists, it has become a technical university and it offrers an MBA,which seems to have been the first advanced degree they offered. Now they have state-of-the-art laboratory equipment as well. JUst like any university.
And the tuition costs 72 times as much as when I started there. I could not afford to attend that school today, and, amazingly enough, if I did, my education might not prepare me as well for any of the jobs that I have had since graduating.
But was I happy while attending classes? Yes, or at least, not terribly unhappy. I simply didn't have much time for a lot of anything besides school, no time at all to be bored. It seems that much of the unhappiness does come from boredom of one kind or another, which is probably the result of unrealistic expectations. One other thing is that I did not find any of it "competitive", such as those law school students seem to suffer so terribly from the competition. I felt none of that at all.
Keith I agree people who enjoy engineering so go into that profession. It is unfortunate that I had so many class mates taking engineering because someone else selected it for them or because saying I'm an engineer sounded better than what they were really interested in doing. Personally, I don't think engineering was that difficult (graduated with honors) challenging and exciting yes. It would have been an entirely different story if English was my major, probably wouldn't have graduated.
Underwater basket weaving is a noteworthy degree, but it is similar to a friend of mine that majored in Ancient Greek and minored in Russian. He is now working as an insurance salesman in Iowa. I am pretty sure that his Greek and Russian are really helping. While I had a good time as an engineering student at Penn State, he was definitely happier with less stress and more pleasant company than I had.
The volt is magnificent and you will see in my article that I did not like the handling of the side windows at all. It's a deceitful device and I do not care for that approach in anything.
But the solidity of the ride, the quietnessk, the quickness the space in the front are magnificent. I rode out to the ride and drive in a CTS or whatever and have to say that the Volt was more comfortable and on a par with the Cadillac interior. The Converj, which Lloyd Reuss mentioned to me at the auto show would be the star next year was most encouraging. Bob Confirmed that. If you want luxury, that not only has that, it has a whole new morphology that is stunning.
I understand that the Volt drive train was designed by a Woman Engineer. If I were on the board of Design News, someone would surely be interviewing her. You must remember that this is the exact same concept that the submarines used in WWII. Everyone had electric drives with motor generator sets which ran at night. The volt is totally electric drive. Having a back up generator is not new at all. Brilliant then brilliant now.
The battery pack has a cooling system with a radiator. The configuration of the pack was to insure against harm in a side collision. The flat bed battery packs of the newbies are very vulnerable. I agree with Lutz that the pros are not dumb.
And I agree with Lutz that the HR departments ought to loosen up on their very high academic standards. He is in favor of bright enthusiasts who may have diverted some of their attention from the academic studies towards automobiles.
He apparently believes that the heart is of higher importance than normally assigned.
I managed to get the Volt an Innovation award at the Business Review of West Michigan. The Project engineer lives in Royal Oak and works at the Development Center at the Proving Grounds. The development team actually loves their work so may of them drive Volts. So he drives on out to work, plugs in, drives home and plugs in overnight. He has a cottage "up north" so he and his wife throw the kids in the back seat and trive up and back for the weekends. His MPGe is slightly over 100MPG.
Electric now actually is the way to go despite the very wrong attacks by the Republicans on this issue.
Lutz is involved with VIA which is electrifying trucks. Having a pickup truck that gets 100mpg is not a bad thing.
I was going to write an article in depth about those efforts but decided that after all that free work, I do need to be paid.
Were I to buy a car now there would be no choice other than the 42mpg Cruze. It's a hot baby and not so crimping as the Fords which I thought I would like more. Test drives changed all that. Ford has more interesting paint colors and GM suffers from that bland syndrome. Bob did not get everything corrected but he actually saved GM and may not be given credit for that. That is a crime to me.
His attack on Romney pointing out that he did not know what the hell he was saying was fantastic, bold and true. Obama did save Detroit, no question. And Detroit is key to America's health, believe it or not.
Did Jack Telnack interview you at Ford? I know Jack as well.
What is this mentioring thing that you are talking about?
If you wish to talk in private then... email@example.com.
I will definitely go to altenergy and read your articles. Also, I hope you had a chance to do some mentoring in your career. I think you'd be a great one. I had two good mentors but none were engineers. As far as Lutz I find him pretty fascinating. I notice he's a marketing guy. We need to train engineers to be like Lutz. Either that or convince guys like him to team up with engineers more equally. Either way will work.
"Some idiots managed to get in charge at times". This happens too often these days.
As far as car platforms I'm not demeaning the Volt platform. I just find the all electric range of the Tesla to be more exciting. Even if it's not as practical in some ways because of the time it takes to charge vs. the dual nature of the Volt. As far as batteries, I don't know enough about the volt battery treatment. I do like that Musk kept it simple basically using laptop batteries. And then designing a great temp management system. I believe strongly in keeping it simple. I'm not sure what Volt did about temperature management of the batteries but I hear that some new batteries in development might not need that.
If I was to vote for the overall best car for balancing fuel economy, ride, luxury and price would be the Ford MKZ Hybrid. I saw them going for $33K the other day, you get fuel economy in the low 40's and it's a true luxury car.
Let me know if you'd be interested in doing some mentoring.
I'd agree with you a 100% about what you make of it.
You do have to find people that you like and admire and I'd assert that a huge school with lots of disciplines affords more opportunities to meet a wide variety. At GMI it was not as much fun at school but at work it was great.
Did I know Tom Hayden in school, no but I did know two of his roommates.
My friends provided lots of relief and delight which was necessary. Most of them graduated a year earlier so that year was rather dull but I did carry the school flag at commencement and read the Great Society Speech over LBJ's shoulder. Thought that it was great, what a wonderful world it would be if we actually had a war on poverty rather than a war on the poor and a contract on the middle class.
I did review the volt for Alt Energy Dot Com and actually think that it's better than the Tesla but very much like the notion of honoring the Man.
I do know Bob Lutz and talk with him relatively frequently and enjoy his broad perspective.
The Converj is superior in every way and agree with him when he said 8 months ago that it should have been on the road by then. GM moves slowly. I know that it's one of the great designs of all time and believe that they should have come in on the issue from the high end rather than trying to enter from the low end.
The way they have handled the batteries is way superior.
GM did get cramped and crippled by some of it's long lived procedures and notions of hierarchy. Some idiots managed to get in charge at times.
Bob did an awful lot to save GM an place it out front.
Drive a volt too now. Solid, quiet and fast.
You might enjoy some of my articles in AltEnergy.mag
It's good to see other IIT alumni here. We've moved up and down in the list of "least happy students"; this year we're number eight and last year we were number nine, but when I was a student, we were number six. So maybe the $48 million dollar student center paid off... or maybe everyone's just happy that I'm not around anymore!
Seriously, college was one of the most enjoyable times of my life. Sure, I worked hard; in fact, I worked full-time and went to school full-time, and did most of my homework on the El on the way to and from work. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
The purpose of school is to learn; you should go to school if you enjoy challenging yourself and learning new things. If you just want to go to parties, drink, hook up, etc., why bother wasting money on tuition?
Academic wants you to work your butt off for that BS. I took 6 years. I did all my own work, no study group. Either I figured it out or I didn't. What a hard head. I just could not rely on any one. My Dad asked me several times if I was not studing too hard and staying up too late. I had to repeat a couple of classes but I got it and did the job myself. I just wish I could have planned on 6 years and taken a lighter load so I could understand better and sooner. I went back to community college when I was out of work. My 1st test in statistics I got so low of score it was not measurable. So then I when back over the tests. I had forgoten it takes me five times through the calculations to produce two correct answers. I cant seem to hit the right buttons. Ya, you got it, dyslexia. Or hand eye condination. Turned out I could not see because of a cataract, this time. Down to one eye. I had honor scores after that.
Ann, thanks for mentioning Georgia Tech. I grew up in Atlanta suburbs, got a BSEE in 1975, MSEE in 1981, and worked at the Experiment Station from 1976 to 1983 (while they paid for my MS).
I've told my kids (grown now), to find a job that they enjoy, in preference to dull work that pays well. My own career has worked out that way, though I admit, the pay has kept up as well. I was asked by my company's CEO when I plan to retire. My answer was "I don't plan to." For about 37 years I have been fortunate to have creative, design oriented work at five different companies. The creative aspect of engineering is rarely understood by outsiders, and there are many people with engineering degrees which act as glorified clerks. I think the difference for me began in elementary school, with science projects, inspiration from the space program, and maybe even 'working on' an old alarm clock when I was little.
It seems to me a good thing that the engineering profession be populated with people who enjoy its creative aspect, and recognise and appreciate good, elegant design.
You obviously have a lot to add to this discussion but you did wander a bit. But that's okay I tend to do that also. It would be fun to sit and talk to you for a while as you obviously have had a lot of experiences. I disagree that it (student happiness) depends on the environment. I think it is what you make it.
I wanted to be in car design also. I remember when I was excited about my interview at Ford. But when I got there I realized it wasn't for me. I became an engineer because I was fascinated with alternate energy sources, namely fuel cells that I first heard about during the space program years. I only recently got to get involved in that industry. My point here is that I had very little contact with engineers in it for the money. Those few that showed up as freshmen did not last.
As far as the Volt, while I think the design is clever, I'm not so sure it is leading the way. It's not solely a partisan issue either. Having driven a Tesla and watching the buzz they are creating I think they are leading the way in more ways than one. I'd take a Tesla S over a Volt any day. What's my story here? We have too much mediocrity, too many things are made to be good enough. Whether a government bureauracy or a corporate one innovation is being stifled more than ever before. So we don't just need good engineers we need good engineers that can think and communicate and get into positions of power where they do the good they ought to be doing.
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