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Clarkson University Wins Second Place in Clean Snowmobile Challenge

A Clarkson University Student Projects for Engineering Experience & Design (SPEED) team won second place overall at the annual SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge this month.

Clean Snowmobile ChallengeThe "Winter Knights" team traveled to Michigan Technological University to compete against 13 other universities with the goal of developing a clean snowmobile.

Clarkson Clean Snowmobile Challenge President Eric Gleich '16 of Londonderry, N.H., said the team participates annually in the internal combustion category of the competition, where the objective is to take a basic snowmobile that is available to consumers and increase the fuel economy and decrease the emissions and noise harshness of the vehicle.

The snowmobile endures a series of tests throughout the week of the competition to test each element, and the team is given an unknown flex-fuel mixture of ethanol that they must be able to adjust for on the fly through the mapping of the engine.

Gleich, a global supply chain management student, said the Winter Knights must also consider the overall consumer appeal of the vehicle, such as the handling and acceleration. The team assesses the price of the project to determine if it would be viable to the market.

To complete the project, the team worked with several industry sponsors: Ski-Doo, Ingles Performance, New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA), Camso the Road Free Company, Dynojet Research Inc., Biteharder, Snap-on, Woody's Tracton, Klim, Emitec, 139designs, REM Engineering Services, Wiseco, Solidworks, Evans Cooling Systems Inc. and Rox Speed FX.

Gleich said the industry sponsors are a major asset to the success of the team, providing technical assistance, products and financial support for the project -- as well as professional connections.

"This is a great networking opportunity for members of the team as the two former presidents of the team are now working within the snowmobile industry in part because of the contacts they developed through the team," he said. "The SPEED program in general looks great on a resume, as it shows that you can effectively work well in a team and that you are able to apply techniques learned in the classroom to real world problems. As a global supply chain management major and president of the team, I have been able to apply project management techniques as well as further develop leadership characteristics."

The Clarkson Clean Snowmobile Challenge team is part of the SPEED program, one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives. SPEED exemplifies Clarkson's "defy convention" approach to education, promoting multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities for more than 350 undergraduates annually. Projects involve engineering design, analysis and fabrication. In addition, students learn real-world business skills, such as budget management, effective teamwork and communications skills.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: From left to right: Eric Gleich, Nick Gilbert, Jeff Robinson, Brett Swan, Brett Golas, Dylan Kloster, Josh Petrus, Austin Donhauser and Keenan Lynch participated in the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge in March. Clarkson University's team won second place overall in the annual competition.

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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