Favorite hangout? I try not to let myself fall into the stereotype of an engineer. I hang out at the WNUR studio in Louis Hall. I’m the music director for Streetbeat, WNUR’s electronic music program that runs Monday through Friday. I also have my own show, Rhythm Mechanics.
Defining anecdote: I took some time off from the Formula SAE team, the student group I founded that designs, builds and races cars. Last spring I came back as the project manager. A lot of the same problems plagued the team as when I’d left: It was low on members and knowledge and needed to develop good recruitment and training programs. I took a long assessment of where we were and where we wanted to be. It was the first time I’d come in, taken control of a problem on this scale and tried to fix it. When I took over, there were probably seven people on the team. Now there are about 25 who show up regularly and are interested in carrying on the program. My first goal was to make the program sustainable, and I think we’ve done well.
Your greatest adventure? The first year we went to competition with Northwestern’s Formula SAE team. In June 2007 we road-tripped from Chicago to Los Angeles and back, sleeping in the cars and bare bones-ing it. It was one of the most fun things I will never do again.
What’s next? I will be working as a product design engineer for Klein Tools in Lincolnshire, Ill. I get to stay close to family and friends and still do what I want to do professionally. I couldn’t be more excited.
Your dream job? Chief engineer of a rally car team, designing a car that can run off-road, through the woods and through the air — rally courses usually have jumps, so part of the fun of designing the car is making it fast with good handling, as well as giving it the ability to handle being launched 6 feet in the air on a semiregular basis. It’s probably one of the more extreme motor sports challenges ever. I like being around people who like cars — it’s a very core level on which you can connect with someone: “You like this, I like this, we’re friends now.”
Tell us about Supercar Saturdays: I started Supercar Saturdays with some other enthusiasts. It’s a car show held in the Chicagoland area. By the end of last summer, we were pulling 250 cars to every event. I got way more involved in it than I thought I would, and it’s been rewarding.
Your biggest vice? Good beer.