MAC Trailer Donates $10,000 to Mount Union Baja Project

January 20, 2015

ALLIANCE, Ohio – After presenting a sales pitch to MAC Trailer, a team of University of Mount Union engineering students secured a $10,000 sponsorship from the company for the team’s SAE Baja vehicle.

This year’s team consists of senior mechanical engineering majors Johnathan Hartong of Ravenna, Ohio; Taylor Bishop of Fostoria, Ohio; Alex Reid of Berea, Ohio; Jarrod Dawson of Louisville, Ohio; Eric Spencer of Salem, Ohio; and Dustin Matak of Salem, Ohio.

The team began drafting plans for the vehicle in early September using 3-D modeling software. Taking the advice of last year’s Mount Union Baja Team, students made it their goal to reduce the weight of this year’s car. The team recently began the building phase of the project.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing our work from the fall semester come to life,” said Matak.

“This is a great project because all of our other projects have been strictly design and this allows us to build something tangible,” Dawson said. “We’ll be proud to be able to put our hard work on display.”

In order to secure the sponsorship, team members used their sales skills to pitch the business proposal to MAC Trailer as a way for Mount Union and the company to work more closely together. Since MAC Trailer is always looking for ways to lighten the weight of its trailers and students are looking for ways to decrease weight of the Baja car, students used that common ground to sell their idea.

“We have the same idea of making vehicles lightweight without sacrificing quality,” said Spencer.

The $10,000 sponsorship will go a long way to covering the team’s budget for the project of $14,900. Ted Swaldo, engineer and owner of Gervasi Vineyard and Italian Bistro, has donated $500 toward the project and the team is still seeking additional sponsorships from local businesses.

The team is looking forward to building upon the success of last year’s team with the help of former team members, faculty advisor Dr. Jay Boyalakuntla, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and industry advisor Dale Pittman.

“Students are doing a lot of great work in preparing to compete against teams with 30 or more students,” Boyalakuntla said. “They have a great team spirit and a hard work ethic.”

The University of Mount Union’s inaugural Baja Team placed 29th overall and 14th in maneuverability out of more than 120 registered schools competing in the Baja SAE event held last April in Peoria, Illinois. This year’s team will compete April 9-12 in Auburn, Alabama.



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