Awesome Austin


We’re just back from the ECOCAR2 Winter Workshop in Austin, TX, USA.  Above, you see one of the many oversize guitars which are located throughout this vibrant city, helping promote the mantra, “Keep Austin Weird”.  In fact, if you look closely, you’ll see that this particular guitar is labeled “Vibrancy”.  Each of the guitar statues has a name which evokes a theme. And we’d dare to say that this was our theme this weekend as well.  Read on to find out why.

ECOCAR2 is a three-year collegiate engineering competition and the only program of its kind.  The competition’s mission is a vital one: offer an unparalleled hands-on, real-world experience to educate the next generation of automotive engineers. The competition challenges 15 universities across North America to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.  Established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM), EcoCAR 2 builds upon a successful 23-year history of DOE Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) that exemplify the power of public/private partnerships in providing invaluable experience and training to promising, young minds entering the North American job market.

If that’s not a project, we’re not sure what is.  Defined start and finish.  Unique product, service or result.  Uses resources and has to work with limited time and budget to meet expectations and requirements of a sponsor… yeah, it’s a project, alright.

Each of these 15 University teams have project leaders and business managers – as well as faculty advisers.  These were the folks attending our workshop.

Some of the Mississippi State University students with their 2013 Malibu ECOCAR2 behind them.


The students – as well as the sponsors and faculty advisers – were active, engaged, and curious as we led our second workshop on project management for the 30 or so participants.  They worked in teams responding to challenges we gave them – and reported out with (you guessed it) vibrancy.  For example, one exercise was to apply the use of an Ishikawa diagram to solve a pizza shop’s delivery problems.  The teams really bought in (perhaps pizza and college students is indeed a marriage made in heaven) and found root causes and got those pizzas made properly and delivered on time.

We had fun.  They had fun.  And the Winter Workshop was successful.

We look forward to further collaboration with ECOCAR2, and wish all of these teams success in their efforts to create an innovative hybrid Malibu sedan!

Have a look at this summary video – and catch the vibrancy!

Stay tuned.  We’re likely to have a follow-up post with some more photos of the vibrancy!