“When designing a complex system, you need a multi-disciplinary approach. [Solar car] is the best way to experience it.”
James Kaune, a junior Industrial Operations Engineer, currently serves on the Interim Leadership Team where he maintains University relations and is in charge of team operations. He first joined the Operations Division two years ago, coordinating the logistics for the World Solar Challenge 2011 and organizing local events.
James joined the team because he saw it as a great opportunity to move quickly into a leadership position. “I loved that after a few months on the team, I was able run a committee that worked with cutting edge technology and pushed the boundaries of engineering and racing.”
James also works very closely with alumni. “The Solar Car alumni have given the team great insight, ranging from better management skills to unique ways that eliminate drag. I learn a lot from working with them.”
James’ favorite memory on the team was attending the 2013 South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas with Project Lead Eric Hausman. At the conference, the University had a booth set up where the solar car was one of the main exhibits. “The conference was amazing. We got to represent the University on such a big scale and to meet a lot of fans and supporters along the way.”
James’ favorite part of South by Southwest, however, was the trip. “The best part about the whole experience was the two weeks Eric and I spent traveling through eight states and setting up meetings with high-level business executives. It was a high paced, exhausting process where we would drive until 4 a.m., then attend a meeting four hours later. It was so exciting that the [physical and mental] drain didn’t matter. I want to do it again next year!”
The most important advice James gives to new members is “Don’t forsake potential relationships. There is so much you can learn if you venture outside of your own division.”
The team is very grateful to have James Kaune and is excited to see how he progresses in the coming semester.